Zither me.

6/24/08

What is a zither? Good question and until a month ago, I had never heard of one – much less had seen one. It is a stringed instrument consisting of a wooden frame across which are stretched several (about thirty) strings. Five of these strings are used for the melody, they are above a fretted fingerboard. The rest of the strings are used for harmony and are not fretted.He is what a zither looks like:

Zither

And why would should we care about the zither? Well, it seems that George Washington was an avid zither enthusiast, as we jump forward fifty years and celebrate the arrival in this country of the already more developed zither that came to the New World with the large waves of immigration from German-speaking lands. The next question is: Could a land scam have given America its first and greatest zither builder? The answer is a resounding “Yes”. Franz Schwarzer immigrated to Missouri from Austria in 1864, expecting to become a gentleman farmer on the Missouri River near the little town of Holstein. Unfortunately at the time but fortunately for the future, he and his wife were the victims of a land scam, and their promised farm and house turned out to be a piece of raw land and a shack. They soon moved across the river to Washington, Missouri, and Franz went back to his former trade of carpentry. He had had some contact with the zither and leading zither figures in Austria, and somewhere around 1866 he tried his hand at making a zither. This instrument is carefully preserved in the state museum at Jefferson City, and I have held it in my hands.

The first instrument quickly led to others, ever better in quality. In 1873 he won the gold medal at the International Exhibition in Vienna. By this time zither building had become his trade, and he had built a small factory and employed several craftsmen to meet the growing demand from this country and abroad. He developed several different models, most of them featuring the delicate mother-of-pearl inlay that was one of his trademarks.

As he flourished, so did zither playing in the United States. Without the distractions we have today, people made music at home, for their own pleasure and satisfaction and that of the people around them. From the 1870s into the 1920s, zither teachers taught and students learned. Zither clubs abounded. Never mind that the zither is the most difficult of all instruments to play; they had more patience and perseverance in those days, finding joy in the beauty of the instrument and satisfaction in gradually learning to draw beautiful sounds from it. The few American players of today look back on those times with incredulous envy.

Just for kicks, I did a search on the web to see what they have sold for on ebay. Looks like one of our very own bought they one I found:

Winning bid: US $510.00
Ended: Jan-15-06 18:57:48 PST
Shipping costs:
US $33.71
US Postal Service Parcel Post®
Service to 63090, United States
Item location: Westchester, United States
History: 17 bids
Winning bidder: slpawngun

More related information:

Visiting the Homeland of Schwarzer Zithers @ http://www.zither.us/?q=node/23

Zither MP3 Downloads: http://mp3search.01-mp3search.com/top53-zither.html

Zither youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4fuBqLfgns&feature=related

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Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 10:08 pm  Comments (2)  

Improved “Yield” on HW 100

6/20/08


The above picture shows the intersection of 100 and Jefferson/A, looking due north. The scalloped lines at the top right of the frame, show the new “Yield” re-engineering that will give the driver much better options.

If you drive Highway 100 and A, get ready for some relief on what to do with the “right-on-red” dilemma. Since the Red Light Revenue Cameras went up (at $97 a pop), many law-abiding citizens have found themselves confused as to what actually constituted a “yield” by the driver. This confusion has resulted in considerable traffic congestion during peak flows and was, frankly, unsafe.

Our City Engineers, along with MoDot engineers, have redesigned the right turn dilemmas with rational lane markings that will allow the driver to exercise their good sense and progress right-on-red with an increase in safety margin. (Hats off to MoDot and our City Engineers for responding to and correcting this problem.)

“They” have even deactivated the portion of the Red Light Revenue Camera that photographs right-on-reds. Beware, the remainder of the Cameras are fully functional and will fine you for exceeding any of the pre-programed parameters for intersection infractions.

I have also asked that MoDot increase the yellow light sequence to 5.2 seconds, from the current 3.9 seconds (point of contention: MoDot claims the timing is 4.0 seconds). It has been proven through numerous, unbiased studies, that 5.2 seconds at a 45 MPH intersection saves lives and property. (Please search this blog for related stories.)

All in all, we are finally moving in the right direction, regarding Red Light Revenue Cameras. I personally would like to see them put where their flash would never shine again. I will, however, accept the cameras with 5.2 seconds on yellow and revenues directed to safety related projects.

Guy Midkiff

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 2:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Don’t give up freedom to catch red-light runners

By RICHARD B. HETNARSKI, Naples
6:12 p.m., Saturday, June 14, 2008

I have read with great concern the June 6 column by Daily News editorial board member Kim Pokarney, “What’s wrong with using cameras to catch red-light runners?”

Well, Pokarney thinks that there is nothing wrong with this plan. But she is very wrong. We need to guard our freedoms when we still can do it.

After cameras to catch red-light runners are installed, the next step will be mounting cameras on every pole, and at all street corners, and connecting them to the software that recognizes people’s faces.

So, Big Brother will know when Kim Pokarney leaves her house, where she goes, with whom she meets and, by connecting the system to the cellular-phone net, they will know what she talks about, and with whom.

Maybe even then Kim will think that there is nothing wrong with this, because she has nothing to hide.

Then there will be the next step; Big Brother will install cameras in Kim’s house “for her safety” and she will start to protest. But at that stage, her protests will be ignored or, better, she will be punished for protesting.

That is how a democracy is lost to an autocracy.

Kim Pokarney looks young by her photo, so she does not know what I know. Let me give an example.

I lived through World War II in Poland. After Germans attacked and occupied Poland in 1939, they forced Jews to carry arm bands with the Star of David. Many thought that this was an innocent order. But then came more restrictions and acts of persecution, and 21⁄2 years later 3 million Polish Jews were murdered in death camps at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Sobibor and many other places, as well as in the streets of Warsaw, Krakow and other cities, including a small, ancient city of Stopnica, where I was born and lived.

And let us recall that before Adolf Hitler became a dictator, Germany enjoyed a democratic form of government.

History should be our guide to the future.

After the war, I lived for 25 years under the communist government in Poland. It would take a very long article to describe the line of depravations by the government and constantly stricter restrictions imposed on the citizens, and continuous limitation of the citizens’ rights. So, in 1969, when the first opportunity occurred that I could leave communist Poland, I emigrated to the United States.

There is democracy in Poland now, and I have not heard that they are planning to install cameras to catch red-light runners.

I advise Kim Pokarney to read George Orwell’s book, “1984.”

The idea of installing cameras to catch red-light runners is abhorrent. I ask all Naples residents to protest vehemently against this horrible project.

Hetnarski is professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. He worked at NASA and was a consultant to the U.S. Air Force and industry. He has authored three books and published more than 50 scientific papers. He is listed in “American Men and Women of Science,” “Who’s Who in America,” “Who’s Who in the World” and many other publications. Since 2000, he has resided in Naples.

Published in: on June 15, 2008 at 7:25 pm  Comments (2)  

Dogs, Ownership, Responsibility

6/14/08

I am posting the following  public service notice per the request of constituents that either own a dog or is impacted by a dog. The following ordinances came from the City of Washington Codes [click here].

SECTION 205.220: RUNNING AT LARGE PROHIBITED

No person shall allow any dog owned or in his possession to be at large as provided in this Article unless properly restrained and any dog found at large may be impounded and its owner or keeper subject to prosecution under the terms of this Code. (Ord. No. 3509 §12, 4-15-68; Ord. No. 3622)

Cross Reference–Animals generally, running at large, §205.010.

SECTION 205.225: HARBORING AND KEEPING VICIOUS DOGS

A. It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, own, buy, sell, give, receive or in any way possess within the corporate limits of the City of Washington, Missouri:

1. Any vicious dog, except as otherwise provided in this Section. “Vicious dog” is defined to mean:

a. Any dog which, without provocation, attacks or bites, or has attacked or bitten, a human being or domestic animal, or any dog which has a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury to, or otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals shall be defined as a “vicious dog”.

b. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, no dog shall be deemed a “vicious dog” if a threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who at the time was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or if a person at the time of such thteat, injury or damage was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog, or was threatening or committing an assault or other bodily harm to the owner or keeper, or the owner or keeper’s immediate family or their invitees.

c. Any dog owned by governmental or law enforcement agencies when being used in the service of those agencies shall be exempt from the requirements specified herein.

B. Upon conviction of a violation of this Section the violator shall be punished by a fine not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) or by imprisonment in the City or County Jail not exceeding ninety (90) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. In addition, upon a conviction or upon a plea of guilty to a violation of this Section, the court shall order the immediate seizure of the subject vicious dog and shall further order that the subject vicious dog shall be surrendered immediately to the Police Department to be destroyed. Each day that a violation of this Section continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

C. Vicious dogs residing or located in the City limits may be kept by their owners, keepers or harborers within the City, subject to the following requirements:

1. No person shall permit a vicious dog to go outside its kennel or pen unless such dog is securely leashed with a leash no longer than four (4) feet in length. No person shall permit a vicious dog to be kept on a chain, rope or other type of leash outside its kennel or pen unless a person is in physical control of the leash. Such dogs may not be leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc. In addition, all vicious dogs on a leash outside the animal’s kennel must be muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent such dog from biting persons or other animals.

2. All vicious dogs shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except when leashed and muzzled as above provided. Such pen, kennel or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. All structures used to confine vicious dogs must be locked with a key or combination lock when such animals are within the structure. Such structure must have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground no less than two (2) feet. The sides of said structure shall be built so that no part of said animal may extend through to the outside of the structure, and so that no part of the human body may extend through to the inside of the structure. All such structures must be adequately lighted and ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition. In addition to the requirements described herein, all structures shall comply with all zoning and building regulations of the City. The structure, when occupied by a vicious dog, shall not be occupied by any other animal. If the vicious dog is a female with offspring under nine (9) weeks of age, the offspring may occupy the same structure as the mother.

3. No vicious dog may be kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or structure that would allow the dog to exit such building on its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or other structure when the windows are open or when screen windows or screen doors are the only obstacle to prevent the dog from exiting the structure.

4. All owners, keepers or harborers of vicious dogs within the City shall display in a prominent place on their premises a sign easily readable by the public using the words “Beware of Vicious Dog”. An identical sign must also be placed in a clearly visible location on the kennel or pen of such animal.

5. All owners, keepers, or harborers of vicious dogs must provide proof to the City Clerk of public liability insurance in a single incident amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) or more for bodily injury to or death of any person or persons or for damage to property owned by any persons which may result from the ownership, keeping or maintenance of such animal. Such insurance policy shall provide that no cancellation, termination, expiration or change of the policy will be made unless thirty (30) days’ written notice is first given to the Washington City Clerk.

6. Within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Section, or the acquisition of a vicious dog, every owner, keeper or harborer of a vicious dog shall register said animal with the City Clerk on the “Vicious Dog” registry. Failure to so register shall constitute a violation of this Section. Notice of this requirement shall be given by posting a copy of this Section in City Hall. The owner, keeper or harborer shall, after registration, provide the City Clerk with two (2) color photographs (one (1) showing the left profile and the other showing the right profile) of the registered animal, clearly showing the color, distinguishing marks and approximate size of the animal.

7. All owners, keepers or harborers of registered vicious dogs must within ten (10) days of the incident, report the following information in writing to the City Clerk as required hereinafter:

a. The removal from the City or death of a vicious dog;

b. The birth of offspring of a vicious dog; and

c. The new address of a registered vicious dog owner should the owner move within the corporate City limits.

8. The owner of a vicious dog shall immediately notify the Police Department if the animal is loose, unconfined or missing or has attacked another animal or a human being.

9. All vicious dogs shall wear a bright orange collar so that the animal can be readily identified.

10. No person shall sell, barter or in any other way dispose of a vicious dog within the City to any person within the City unless the recipient person resides permanently in the same household on the same premises as the owner of such dog, provided that the owner of a vicious dog may sell or otherwise dispose of a dog or the offspring of such dog to persons who do not reside within the City.

11. All offspring of vicious dogs within the City must be removed from the City within nine (9) weeks of birth of such animal.

12. There shall be an irrebuttable presumption that any dog registered within the City as a vicious dog prohibited by this Section is in fact a dog subject to the requirements of this Section.

13. It shall be unlawful for the owner, keeper or harborer of a vicious dog within the City to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this Section, and the vicious dog(s) of such owners shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment. Failure to comply will result in the revocation of the license of such animal resulting in the immediate removal of the animal from the City. Each day that a violation of this Section continues shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to the foregoing penalties, any person who violates this Section shall pay all expenses, including shelter, food, handling, veterinary care and testimony, necessitated by the enforcement of this Section.

14. In the event owner, keeper or harborer of a vicious dog is a minor, any parent or legal guardian of such minor shall be responsible for fulfilling the requirements of this Section. In addition to the foregoing, the parent or legal guardian shall be responsible for all injuries and property damage sustained by any person or domestic animal caused by or as a result of an unprovoked attack by said vicious dog.

15. Any vicious dog found off the premises of its owner or not securely muzzled, as required herein, may be seized by any Public Officer or Animal Control Officer and the owner or keeper may be brought to trial for violation of this Section. Upon establishment by a preponderance of evidence that such dog has vicious propensities and that the dog was off the premises of its owner or keeper, the court may order the dog to be destroyed by euthanasia. In addition, the owner or keeper shall be subject to such penalties as are authorized by the Section. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Chapter, any dangerous animal found to be unconfined or not securely muzzled and under restraint as defined herein shall remain impounded until the court makes a determination as to whether the dog is a “vicious dog” and was found to be unconfined or not securely muzzled. (Ord. No. 03-9480 §§1–2, 12-1-03)

SECTION 210.030: PEACE DISTURBANCE

A. A person commits the crime of peace disturbance if:

1. He unreasonably and knowingly disturbs or alarms another person or persons by:

a. Loud noise; or

b. Offensive language addressed in a face-to-face manner to a specific individual and uttered under circumstances that are likely to produce an immediate violent response from a reasonable recipient; or…

SECTION 215.075: NOISE REGULATIONS

A. It shall be a violation of this Section for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, health, peace or safety of others within the limits of the City.

Published in: on June 14, 2008 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Red Light Camera Legislation, Ohio

6/14/08

In a step in the right direction, Ohio just passed legislation that will add some much needed sanity in the Red Light Camera farce. The state now will require municipalities to post clearly marked signs within 300 ft of the city boundary, warning of bounty hunter, red light ticket cameras.

And anyone that has read one post of my blog knows, it is an abomination that we don’t add at least 1 second to the yellow on each of our Red Light Ticket Cameras. Apparently Ohio is listening. Part of their new law requires…youv’e got it, 1 second to be added to each of their intersections.

Fact: Short yellow lights hurt and even kill our citizens.

Click here to read full story.

And in the category of putting your money where your mouth is, I wished the legislators would have gone another step – sending this ill gotten booty to safety related state and local programs. Those of us, wise to the RLTC scheme knows these cameras are meant for one thing and one thing only – general fund revenue.

Guy Midkiff

Published in: on June 14, 2008 at 8:18 pm  Comments (2)  

Inside Looking In

6/10/08

Well, I have been in office for some two months and I was told things would look much different from the inside. And guess what? It is different. Some of my observations are that the city staff is made up of very dedicated and career professionals. I have been very impressed by their caliber and loyalty to the city and their work ethic.

And while I am concerned about the money we spend, I did take several days going over last years budget and audit. I also had several conversations with the company that audited our books and they left me with the impression of overall confidence in our revenue and spending positions. If you compare Washington to other comparable sized cities, we are above average in the amounts we keep in our reserves. There were some minor procedural accounting comments, but nothing that would rise to the level of concern.

Highway 100 to I44 widening will cost us some 20 million and place considerable debt burden on the community for the next decade or so, but the lending terms were good and east of town is where our growth is projected. The expansion, while expensive, will well position Washington for future growth.

The new water treatment plant will also cost us some 20 million, but again this is an example of true municipal infrastructure – something we simply must have going forward. There is some concern about possible cost overruns, but nothing concrete of yet.

I was surprised to learn that our $6.5 million dollar “regional” airport is now considered an “infrastructure” improvement and should not be required to carry its own weight, financially. Somehow I still don’t get the connection between true infrastructure improvements that citizens actually use (like roads and water treatment) and the airport, but I will keep trying to see the light.

in·fra·struc·ture [in-fruh-struhk-cher] –noun

. the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, as transportation and communication systems, power plants, and schools.

Ignoring the airport issue, I am impressed with the general direction the city of Washington has charted for our future and the current financial health of our fine city.

Guy W. Midkiff

Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

“He’s A New Yorker!”

6/8/08

(2/27/2009 This post has been updated. Please read the last two paragraphs.)

Usually I don’t like to respond to gossip and innuendo. I was raised to believe that such talk was the work of idle hands and the devil.

Let me back up for a moment. One of the things I learned during my campaign was that many of our senior citizens get up quite early and have breakfast at at least a half dozen restaurants across our fine city. It struck me as no better place to get a feel for the concerns, likes and dislikes, many in Washington have for community. I see them as a canary-in-the-coal-mine, a barometer for me to gauge public sentiment, things that work and things that are concerns – like taxes, quality of life, and cost of living issues.

These folks continue to be my go to people, people I rely on to make good, sound decisions.

Unfortunately, there is a small, vocal and powerful group (emphasis added on last two adjectives) that appears threatened by the emergence of new blood in the city council. I have proven to be something of an enigma to them and they have resorted to actually trying to paint me as a “New Yorker,” “A big city boy, with big city ways.”

Hmmm. I have been called a bunch of things in my life, but a “New Yorker?” Granted, I did live in New York for about 10 years, so if some are comforted believing proximity makes me a “New Yorker,” knock yourselves out.

Again, allow me to back up. I ran my campaign under the Reaganesque principals of: less government, less taxes, less regulation. The city of New York could not have enough regulations, taxes, and government. From occupancy inspections, to buying your personal data from utility companies, to increasing taxes, to red light cameras, or even charter government – these are all big city ways, New York ways and now, Washington ways. Who is the “New Yorker,” here?

I am an unabashed conservative. Conservatism is my compass, my rudder. I grew up in a town in Texas that had a population of about 100. It was a farming and oil community. We were all very blue collar and fiercely independent. We believed in hard work, and the American way. I went on to one of the most conservative schools in America, Texas A&M (where I graduated with a degree in agriculture economics.) Had I not gone into the Marine Corps and became a pilot, I would no doubt be working, today, in either agriculture or the oil business. I am a card-carrying member of the NRA and believe the second amendment is just as important as the first (Mr. Miller).

I believe in tradition, controlled growth, and citizens having a person that will speak for them at the government level. I also know that wealthy people create jobs and give back huge sums to the community. I do not believe in class warfare and singling them out for onerous tax treatment. Conversely, we (tax payers) should not be in the business of subsidizing buildings, developments and airports for our wealthy, because of their power and influence. The path to power should not bi-pass the path of principals.

Update 2/27/2009 When I wrote the above, my information was based on observations that the average citizen would conclude. After having the privilege to work with some of the sharpest and most talented members of the community that sit on the 353 Redevelopment Committee, along with economic development department, my opinion has matured. Cities compete vigorously for businesses to locate in their communities. Washington is a shining example of what happens when a city focuses limited resources in smart and meaningful ways.

Yes, I wish we didn’t have to spend substantial tax dollars on blue chip airports and shovel ready spaces at out industrial park. But those are the rules of the game. We can either adopt to these harsh realities or join the dust bin of other failed communities. We have also spread our bets in a way that makes it impossible for the failure of any one business to have a major impact on our tax base or community. As I write this, many communities are being buffeted by a lack of spending restraint. And while we are feeling financial stress from reduced tax income, we are still light years ahead of most other communities.

Guy W. Midkiff

Red Light Camera Stats can and do get fudged.

Friday, June 06, 2008
Arizona: Sheriff Caught Fudging Photo Radar Stats
Pinal County photo radar vanA pair of photo radar vans have been mailing automated citations to vehicle owners in Pinal County, Arizona since August 8, 2007. In just four months, 4500 citations were issued generating significant revenue, especially on the Hunt Highway. In December, a Sheriff’s office press release made the astonishing claim that accidents had fallen on this heavily traveled two-lane route by 53 percent (Does this all sound too familiar? GWM) as a result of the enforcement effort. “It’s very effective,” Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Paul Compton said at the time. “It’s slowing people down and ultimately saving lives.” The East Valley Tribune newspaper reported that this claim turned out to be false. Instead of being down 53 percent, accidents increased 16 percent during the period speed cameras were used, as compared to the same period in 2006 without cameras. The Sheriff’s office had issued its statement based on preliminary data that failed to account for 55 crashes that were not immediately entered into the accident database. So far in 2008, accidents are slightly down from 2007, but the number of injury crashes has not changed.
Source: Hunt Highway crash figures double those reported (East Valley Tribune (AZ), 6/2/2008)Can

Published in: on June 8, 2008 at 12:08 am  Comments (1)  

Camp Street Bridge, Some Final Thoughts

Guy W. Midkiff
6/3/08

Last night the Washington City Council overruled the Mayor’s veto of the Camp Street Bridge ordinance. This marks the end of a very polarizing chapter in Washington politics.

I stated as early as January of 2008 – long before my election to council, my objections to this project. It should have been no surprise to anyone in Ward 3 of my position on the bridge. In fact, you can still find the article I wrote, back in January on the subject, located on this very website.

Slowly, I came to the realization that this bridge was a waste of the taxpayer’s money. We were told:

“The bridge is a must because of safety.” Really. How is it possible for this bridge to be un-repaired for some 40 years and then we suddenly have this epiphany for the urgency of the bridge….. coinciding with the construction of a new super center Walmart. (For what it is worth, I shop at Walmart.)

Let me back up for a moment. I am pro-growth and pro-business. I believe one of the most basic tenants of government is to provide for the safety, welfare, and infrastructure of its citizens. I am sensitive to this underpinning, but I also do not believe this responsibility is neither bottomless nor boundless. At some unmarked point, I am ultimately responsible for my family and for myself – not the government.

When I moved into my home, it was my choice to live where I do with respect to my proximity to emergency services. I did not then, nor do I now, expect the city to add access points into my subdivision. I moved to my home because I liked it being at the perimeter of fire and ambulance stations. I moved to my home because it has only one access point. All of which was my choice, my decision.

What’s more, there are homes in Stone Crest that are substantially further away from the fire department, than are homes on Karen Ln. I am not aware of people in Stone Crest objecting to the quality of emergency services.

Ultimately, it is our responsibility, not governments, to choose a domicile in the proximity to emergency services that makes us comfortable. It is government’s responsibility to make the rules on where emergency services are located and that they are operated in a manner that serves the public good. I feel the city of Washington gets extremely high marks for their emergency services quality.

Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 7:55 pm  Comments (1)  

“I am safer with red light cameras”

by Guy W. Midkiff
6/3/08

Last night at city council, one resident of the city got up and spoke of being for red light cameras and how much safer intersections have become and how he is now more cautious at intersections with red light cameras.

To begin, I find the entire public debate on red light cameras, complex and…..fraught with vastly more emotion than fact.

While the eloquent gentleman gave convincing arguments on the virtues on red light cameras and driving patterns, his “feelings” of their value do not jive with reality.

All too many of our citizens have taken for gospel, the highly questionable “facts” that are carelessly tossed about in our local newspaper. For example, two recent articles, in this paper, stated the positive trend that was gleaned from a mere 2 months of statistics at the two intersections in question.

Regrettably, some in our community trust before verifying. Had the newspaper actually done their jobs and reported, not on 2007 and 2008 statistics, but the additional comparison of 2006 accidents statistics, they would have discovered what I had found – an increase in accidents, from 2006 to 2008 – nothing approaching the overstated decrease published in the paper.

Had the paper asked for the information, they could have discovered the same thing I did. If they were aware of the 2006 statistics, and did not report them, they are part and parcel to a general misleading of unwitting citizens around this country.

So, where are we? We have intelligent citizens, such as the gentleman that I refer, that incorrectly believe they are now safer because of red light cameras. They are not, and there are literally new studies coming out monthly, that refute the magical claims of dramatic increase in safety, at red light camera intersections.

Look no further than our own statistics of the 3-year period. There was not one single accident caused by the classic 90 degree T-bone accident, in my data information, I received from the city – not one. 90 % of all the accidents in my data package were rear end accidents and red light cameras not only do nothing to prevent them, but increase rear end accident rates significantly.

I will continue to try and balance this story with truth and logic. Granted, it is an uphill battle. I have next to no voice in the local media. The red light ticket camera apparatus is enormous. The industry is owned by multi-billion dollar insurance companies, a well-oiled political lobbying complex, and cities adding huge fortunes to their general funds – with rarely a dime of their ill gotten booty going to anything approaching safety related programs.

Yes, no doubt the gentleman I refer to, has changed his driving habits, but I seriously doubt he ever blatantly ran red lights because there was no red light ticket camera in place. He certainly may feel the yellow intimidation factor, forcing him into making an abrupt stop, though (as has happened to me.) I can only pray there is not a 45,000 pound truck behind him, when he is forced to make this decision.

You are not safer. National statistics do not support your feeling of safety. Our local statistics don’t support your feeling of safety. You have been, unfortunately, made victim to reality and truth as had millions of other well-meaning Americans.

Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) QUOTATION: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ward 3 Projects

The following are projects that I am working on, in cooperation with City of Washington employees, here in Ward 3:

Dawn Valley Subdivision Drainage:

At the south end of Dawn and Valley Drive, there is a long standing problem with storm water collecting in the vacant lot at the end of these roads. Connie Groff and myself have proposed to the Mayor, a “fix” that would alleviate this drainage problem – which not only affects property values, but is also a health concern during mosquito incubation periods.

Develop a link on the City of Washington Website that will act as a conduit from young adults seeking summer or part time internships with Washington Area Companies and the City of Washington – such as engineering or medical disciplines.

City of Washington equipment lot:

Residents on Monty View and Martina Drive have requested that Council Woman Groff and myself look into clean up the City equipment lot behind their property.

Street lighting poor on Jade Lane:

The City of Washington is working with Ameren UE regarding new higher quality lighting.**UPDATE** This situation has been resolved and new, brighter lights have been installed!

Bush Creek Cleaning

It has been requested by a resident that the City clean the brush and debris in Bush Creek, across the street from Elm and Oriole.

Published in: on June 1, 2008 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment