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Red-light cameras come down in Houston...but will cost the city Cancellation Fees

Red-light cameras angst


Regarding "City won't yield yet on cameras" (Page A1, Thursday), so now Houston will have to pay four months of cancellation fees to ATS, the Arizona firm that manages Houston's red-light camera system. The city officials responsible for the red-light cameras are either arrogant or incompetent (or maybe both).

They should have sent a letter to ATS giving notice of cancellation the day they learned the issue would be on the ballot. Why didn't they?

If they issue anymore red-light camera tickets after Nov. 2, I doubt anyone will pay them. Would you?

Alex Newton, Houston

Attorneys profit

Those who fought the installation and use of red-light cameras in Houston managed to get the issue before the voters and defeat their purpose. Red-light cameras were a law enforcement tool, not unlike radar or communication systems. In just four years, 800,000 tickets were issued or about 548 tickets a day. Can you say: 800,000 dissenting votes?

How many officers did those cameras relieve so they could pursue more important cases?

Are the people who fought their use going to profit from this ban? You betcha. They are attorneys who defend lawbreakers, and it is difficult to shield their clients from video proof. Their argument was that the city profited, but are they immune from monetary gain? Not hardly. Are these same attorneys now going to bring the use of other law enforcement tools before the voters?

How about Tasers or pistols or whether or not our jails should have bars?

Bob Brink, Kingwood

Duty to obey law

The people of Houston have witnessed a close battle over whether to keep the red-light cameras.

Those against the measure have done a fine job against the proponents of the cameras who had much more money, resources and endorsements, including the Phoenix camera providers, the police, the insurance companies and others.

But now we all have a duty to obey the law, stop for red lights and avoid accidents. If we don't and accidents go up, the legions of camera supporters will be vindicated and may even, heaven forbid, bring the cameras back again.

I believe that this vote may show other major cities how to get rid of the cameras, but not if our accident rate bounces back up.

Stephen Hodgson, Galveston

Stop signs next?

Looks like the majority of voters are against the red-light cameras. I couldn't understand why it was on the ballot at all. Why don't they put stop signs and red lights on the ballot? And policemen and firemen? Then we can get rid of everything we vote for that we don't want.

There are too many red-light runners even with the cameras. This should not have been something the voters should decide on.

Jo Rhodes, Humble

Truth is not garbage

I don't believe political cartoonist Michael Ramirez sees the irony in his cartoon "Wikileaks Sewage" (Page B7, Saturday) where he likens WikiLeaks to a sewage truck.

In effect he's saying that truth is garbage, because the truth of our open and clandestine operations which torture prisoners and kills civilians with impunity is what WikiLeaks exposes.

It is past time that those who control these operations, both military and civilian, are held accountable and not excused just because they are on our side.

Arthur Preisinger, Houston

The Anthony Graves case

I am one of the attorneys for Anthony Graves and read the letters published in the paper ("Exonerations and justice," Page B16, Wednesday). I agree that there are many, many people who are responsible for such an awesome outcome in this case, including the final two prosecutors.

I am proud of the dismissal, but I cannot help but be frustrated and angry that it took 18 years for the state to conduct a real investigation.

The evidence relating to the crimes had not changed since 1992 when the offense occurred, in 1994 when Anthony was tried, convicted and sentenced to death, and in 2006 when the 5th Circuit reversed and remanded for a new trial because of the prosecutorial misconduct of Charles Sebesta, then the district attorney.

And what is even worse, one year ago the then-prosecutors offered Anthony life in prison as opposed to going to trial and risking a jury sentencing him to death again. Of course, Anthony turned the offer down. But the "actual innocence" evidence found by Kelley Siegler and Bill Parham was the same evidence that was there since 1992, and no one ever asked or investigated.

Anthony gave the Texas Rangers and consequently Sebesta a handwritten document outlining where he was for 24 hours, which included the relevant period of time, and Texas Ranger Coffman told Dick DeGuerin in a writ hearing in 1994 that he never spoke to any of Anthony's alibi witnesses.

Someone asked me if this end result made me feel better, and my response was "No. It scares the hell out of me" for the simple reason that it is too easy for one person to form a conclusion and refuse to veer from that path regardless of the evidence - and that is what Charles Sebesta did.

He heard Robert Earl Carter say many times that he lied on Anthony. Sebesta told Geraldo Rivera in an interview that yes, Carter did say that, but he just did not believe him.

Is that why Sebesta decided the defense did not need to know about Carter's statements and failed to divulge that information to Anthony's attorneys then? Shame on you, Mr. Sebesta.

Katherine Scardino, Houston

More than the economy

Regarding "Vote has liberated Obama from confining alliances" (Page B9, Thursday), David Broder and other commentators have missed the point in explaining the huge rejection of the Democrats and their agenda. While the economy did have an impact, the greater reason is the utter contempt President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had toward the American public; the sleazy deals to buy votes; the 400 pages added to bills the night before a vote; the lack of debate and limited ability to amend; the insulting comments made to anyone who had a different viewpoint; the secret White House meetings with unions.

I have a great regard for intelligent people but a bitter distrust for those who are clever, and thanks to President Obama, a repulsion for those who are smarmy.

Dell Ayres, Houston
Posted in Government
Nov 08th, 2010