David Kirkpatrick

March 15, 2008

Nanny state in decline — Dallas-style

Filed under: et.al., Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:07 pm

It looks like my hometown, Dallas, is scaling back its use of red-light cameras because they work too good. People are running fewer red lights, so the city isn’t getting the revenue expected from the devices.

From the linked article:

Dallas City Hall has idled more than one-fourth of the 62 cameras that monitor busy intersections because many of them are failing to generate enough red-light-running fines to justify their operational costs, according to city documents.

Initial gross revenue estimates for the red light camera system during Dallas’ 2007-08 fiscal year were $14.8 million, according to city records. The latest estimate? About $6.2 million. City Manager Mary Suhm on Friday estimated net revenue will fall $4.1 million under initial estimates.

That leaves Dallas government with a conundrum. Its red-light camera system has been an effective deterrent to motorists running red lights – some monitored intersections have experienced a more than 50 percent reduction. But decreased revenue from red light-running violations means significantly less revenue to maintain the camera program and otherwise fuel the city’s general fund.

And more:

The results of Dallas’ 2-year-old red-light camera system are mixed blessings for City Hall, Mayor Tom Leppert said.

“The good news is it’s having the effect everyone in this community wants: fewer red lights being run. The goal was not to make money on this,” Mr. Leppert said. “But these are numbers and realities we’ll have to deal with.”

The mayor added that under no circumstances does he expect a decrease in red-light camera revenue to affect the city’s public safety budget, although the overall budget may not enjoy as much revenue, perhaps resulting in the city streamlining other items.

Council member Angela Hunt, long skeptical of the reasoning behind such camera systems, says she’s not surprised Dallas is faced with altering its efforts to reduce red-light running.

“The idea of the red-light cameras is that they’ll be used as a revenue generator instead of being implemented for public safety purposes. It’s imperative that the council review this program, especially when the results don’t align with the initial performance projections,” Ms. Hunt said.

She cited national statistics suggesting that the cameras increase rear-end collisions.

February 26, 2008

Interested in the JFK assassination?

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:39 pm

Hit this link to a Dallas Morning News document dump.

From the link:

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins announced this week that documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy were found in a little-known vault in his office. He said his intention was to release them to the public. The documents were compiled by Henry Wade, the district attorney at the time of the assassination. Mr. Wade and his successors never made them public.

Below is one, large chunk of the documents. In the coming days, dallasnews.com will share more of them for your review.

The documents contained here are those that the district attorney’s office made available in electronic form – an estimated 90 percent of all the documents from the vault. Another 10 percent had not yet been scanned when these files were released to The Dallas Morning News.

The contents include transcripts, personal and official letters, newspaper clippings, lists of jurors, police reports, rap sheets, autopsy reports, trial notes, police notebooks, photographs and much more.

The documents appear here exactly as they were received by The News . They are neither cataloged nor indexed, and they are in no apparent order.

Given the volume, we haven’t been able to review most of the files. That’s why were calling on you. Here’s your chance to review never-seen-before materials related to the JFK assassination.

Take a look, and let us know if you see something interesting.