Thursday, July 26, 2018

No More Speed Cameras

I have to admit, I paid two tickets over the last few years from those things. If the speed goes down to 30 and you hit 41, forget it. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and that will be fifty bucks, please. In Long Island it's worse, because there's a $120 surcharge attached. I got stuck in traffic, couldn't move, the light changed and it cost me 170 bucks.

So do they really make anyone safer? Perhaps. It's my fault if I go over the speed limit, of course. But over where I got the ticket, on Horace Harding Expressway, the only time you can go 40 MPH is when St. Francis Prep is pretty much dormant. Any time the students are coming in or out, parents are dropping off and picking up, and traffic comes to a crawl. It's best to err on the side of safety, though, even if I get bitten every now and then.

That said, I don't trust the city at its word either. Are they really making things safer, or are they just raking in the bucks? If someone goes 41 MPH on Horace Harding at 3 AM, are there students out there? I doubt it. It's not like it's a Moskowitz Academy where students are chained to their desks for test prep. Would they compromise and only activate the cameras during school hours? Of course they wouldn't. These things are money machines.

In front of our school there have been some very bad accidents. Once, a student lost his leg. Our School Leadership Team asked the city for one of those things that tells you your speed. They turned us down but offered to place a camera at the traffic light. Unfortunately the traffic light wasn't where our issue was. It was pretty clear to us that the city was happy to collect money but didn't really want to bother extending any. Of course, that was under Bloomberg, and they needed to save up to put room air conditioners in his SUV window. After all, the comfort of billionaires is way more important than the safety of my students. (I love watching Bloomberg criticize Trump, contending Trump is more of an asshole than he is.)

It's tough driving home from my school. There's only one lane to make a left turn toward the LIE, and every day there are a million people other than yours truly who wish to go that way. For about fifteen years I would make the left turn from the middle lane. After all, there was no sign saying you couldn't. A cop pulled me over, and not only disagreed with my interpretation, but also gave me a ticket.

At that time, we knew a barbershop on the corner was selling drugs to our students. I asked him why he was focusing on me when that was going on. He told me they had undercover people working on it. I have no idea whether or not he was just making that up or not, but if he wasn't, what the hell kind of undercover operation is it where you tell people you just met what's going on?

There was one other reason no one was going after the barbershop, a cop told me. He said the precinct ended right at the LIE. If he were to go across the street and deal with the barbershop, he'd be venturing into their territory. This, evidently, was some kind of big no-no. I asked why the people in the other precinct didn't come down and deal with it. Oh, they couldn't do that. They were really busy in Jamaica, which must have more barbershops than our neighborhood, I can only suppose.

Why, then, was I talking to a cop all the way on the outer reaches of his precinct, at our school? Hard to say. Was it because it was important to cover schools? If so, why was no one at the junior high school right on the other side of the LIE? Or was someone there, and was it just too much to ask that he walk a block south to the barbershop?

I can't answer any of those questions. I don't oppose safety, and I certainly hope the loss of these cameras doesn't imperil any kids. I'm glad Flanagan will take heat for this, and I hope it bounces back onto the shoulders of all the traitors in the IDC who were elected as Democrats but caucused with Republicans. Like many UFT members, I thought Tony Avella was something special, and worked for him before he decided to stab us all in the back.

Safety first, yes. But I can't look at this process without a certain degree of cynicism.
blog comments powered by Disqus