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Photo cops in Federal Way: A resident's rant | Letter to the editor
Thank you, City of Federal Way, for installing the photo cop at 320th Street and Pacific Highway. Here is how I imagine we got here.
In the bowels of Federal Way city politics, city officials consternate on how to grow government and pay for pet projects. How can we get more money from our ignorant taxpaying saps? Oh! Oh! I know! The taxpayers are always good dupes for paying more taxes when told those taxes will be used for safety, even if they won’t be safer. That’s the ticket (no pun intended). Our golden bullet!
So we will authorize the installation of photo cop, pronounce with great solemnity that the city is concerned for the safety of drivers and pedestrians, and then BANG BABY! Rake in the dough! Ha!
Now I can imagine it all: The city officials are gathered in a room with food, drinks and recliners with the buzz of excitement in the air as they watch traffic through the city’s million-dollar camera systems that do nothing (oops! We wasted taxpayer money again. Oh well! There is more where that came from). Why are they all watching traffic? Because baby, the game is on! Photo-cop is active and on patrol!
I see the city’s anticipation now. Oooow! Oooow! Here comes the first car, he is approaching the light; excitement grows; hearts begin to race; the light turns yellow; the driver sees the light turn yellow; he’s too close to the intersection and although going the speed limit is still going too fast to stop before the light turns red; so he guns the accelerator, speeds through the intersection, and rats! Photo-Cop doesn’t take the picture; there is a great sense of disappointment, but spirits are still high, after all, not to worry, that was just the first car and the city is sure that this investment of millions into this money-making system (oops I mean traffic safety system) is going to pay off.
The city with great anticipation waits again and watches on the taxpayer-funded camera system. The next car proceeds to the intersection; here she comes; but rats! She is going so slow to make sure she doesn’t get photo-copped that we need to give her a ticket for impeding traffic (Whooah! Now there is another great idea to make money, I mean safety issue). All right, let’s see if some more cars come. Whooah baby! Whoooooah baby! Look at this, there must be 10 cars, all traveling in a pack. Man! At least one of those guys has got to get photo-copped. Here they come; the light is yellow, rats! The light turned red, he jammed on his breaks to not get a ticket, and now we have a rear-end collision! That wasn’t supposed to happen! I sure hope no one finds out.
We need to stay focused; talk only about the safety benefits. By now the brows of the city officials are starting to bead with sweat. This is not working. But wait, here’s another sucker, BANG BABY! Our first customer! OH NO! What? What? That was a city vehicle, who’s gonna pay for that ticket? Easy friend, remember? The city is always safe, so we exempted government vehicles. Oh yeah. Riiiiiiiight (with a wink and a nod.) Now back to the game. Here comes another potential contributor to the city’s taxpayer account. He is going the speed limit; the light is yellow; (it doesn’t matter that it's 2 a.m., and he is the only guy on the road and no safety issue exists). The chanting begins as he approaches the light; WE WANT OUR MONEY AND WE WANT IT NOW! Come on! Come on! COME ON! There’s no way this guy is gonna make it! FLASH! The sweet sound of a reverberating CHA-CHING! echoes through City Hall and there are high-fives all around. Now that’s what I’m talk’n about! Success! The city gets lots of money and the taxpaying dupes think they’re safer. This ought to get someone re-elected. Job well done. Gee, I wonder what our next project will be?