Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Red Light Cameras Coming to an Intersection Near You, Thanks to the GOP?

During a quick glance at my Twitter feed tonight I noticed an item of note- this Tweet from “citizen activist” Rich Neumeister.  (If you don’t know Rich- and I don’t- there’s a profile of him here that’s worth a read.)

This sounded familiar to me, as the same thing happened when I lived in Phoenix.

After some light digging I was able to confirm that the company pushing this issue in MN is the same one that did so in AZ.  The company is called Redflex. They provide cameras for intersections (“red light cameras”) and speed cameras (“photo radar”) among other “traffic safety” devices.

Arizona implemented an agressive program of freeway photo radar under then Governor (now Homeland Security Secretary) Janet Napolitano.  This program was managed by Redflex.  Just a few years later, Governor Jan Brewer shut the program down.

Proponents of these “traffic safety” cameras will tell you that their purpose is just that- safety.  However, numerous studies have shown that these cameras actually have the opposite effect on safety.  One thing the cameras are good at, however, is raising revenue.  And that’s what Redflex counts on to sell the product.

Redflex has a long history of hiring very effective lobbyists to get their products pushed through, and they have their sights set on our DFL controlled and revenue addicted state.

Unfortunately, there are two Republicans who are authors of SF377, the bill that would allow these cameras in MN:  Senators John Pederson and Julie Rosen.

Rosen is said to be interested in a run for Governor in 2014.

We have enough to worry about from the DFL majorities trying to squeeze every penny of revenue from us.  It’s beyond disappointing to see two Republican Senators join them.

I’ve contacted both Senators to share my opinions with them.  I’d encourage you to do the same.  (Contact Info at the links above)

A Path to Victory Through Killing off Old People

I’ve noticed a particularly obnoxious trend, (or meme, as the kiddies say) recently among some “younger” “Republican” “activists” lately that really must be addressed.

Stop talking about old people “dying off.” Seriously. Shut up.

I noted this last fall in a post about the “Honey Badger” where he gave this quote to the media:

Atkins argued that change was necessary to keep the party alive as its base ages and dies off.

The “death of the old” imagery is very present in the rants of Corey Sax, quixotic candidate for MNGOP Deputy Chair.

As the current incarnation of the Minnesota Republican Party dies, there is the occasional cough, sputter and shiver, throes of death if you will…

But it was the actions of two self-identified “Young Republicans” at recent BPOU meetings that really took the proverbial cake.

One of these Young Einsteins held forth on an epic monologue about what was wrong with these Old Republicans: they don’t understand that young people move every year, they don’t twitter enough, they don’t do email right, they just don’t get these kids today, they didn’t inform me that I’m not a delegate if I just moved into the area. The screed was interspersed with several variations of the phrases “die off” and “old people” – the monologist seemingly unaware that her audience was all, gasp, over 30.  The audience, painfully aware of the speaker’s relative youth and ignorance.

The other Young Rockstar was addressing the 40 or so delegates who set aside a Saturday morning to attend their BPOU convention in a local middle school.  They were instructed to stand up if they were under the age of 30, and when none did, they were subjected to scolding about how “this is what’s wrong with the party.” A truly motivating speech.

I’m 33.  I agree that we need more young people involved in the Republican Party.  But what we really need is more people- period.

The modern Republican Party has always been a “big tent,” and it should continue to be.  We need everyone who shares our values to build a winning coalition.  The path to victory is not through killing off the old, but by integrating everyone who wants to work toward our common goals.

So young people- as us old people say, you were given two ears and one mouth. Try to use them in proportion. Please speak up when you have something valuable to add, but remember that there are people in the room who have been fighting these fights since before you were born and will continue fighting them long after you wander off and lose interest.

And to those more, er, experienced Republicans out there- please excuse these whippersnappers.  You know how kids are- thinking they know everything.  Someday they’ll grow out of it. We hope.

Oh, and Get off My Lawn.