Opinion

Red lights and green lights | Mirror editorial

Smile, drivers: You’re on camera

Beginning in 2010, the registered owners of vehicles caught on camera speeding in school zones or running a red light will receive a ticket by mail. The owner can review a short clip of the violation online.

Some Federal Way residents are quick to jump on the city for installing red-light cameras, but they fail to acknowledge the bigger picture. Revenue from the cameras saves the city from cutting more staff members and public services.

Taxes are down. The city uses tax revenue to supply services and maintain a balanced budget. The money from red-light cameras is making up for what’s lost in taxes.

Imagine if the city removed all red-light cameras. This would save all the non-law-abiding citizens from paying for the red lights they run. However, to make up for the decrease in revenue, the city would remove staff in the permitting, public works and police departments. That would certainly give residents something to complain about.

Residents should consider which of the following is a better deal:

• Have fewer officers on patrol, lower-quality roads, increased collisions at intersections and decreased customer service at City Hall.

• Pay up for a ticket you deserve.

Marijuanalyn Monroe

In Washington state, Senate Bill 5615 will go before Washington state legislators in 2010. The bill would decriminalize adult possession of marijuana from a crime (with a mandatory day in jail) to a civil infraction (with a $100 penalty payable by mail). State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-District 36), the bill’s co-sponsor, wrote in a recent report that the state could save $16 million and bring in $1 million in new revenue if the bill passes. Some of that money would go toward drug treatment and prevention services.

The Mirror urges District 30 State Sen. Tracey Eide to back this practical and overdue bill. Washington state has already taken a vital step forward with its medical marijuana laws. In times like these, the financial potential of cannabis decriminalization is too great to ignore.

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