David Stokes

Tiny little municipalities, red-light cameras, and policing for profit have found each other, just like chocolate and peanut butter finally did back in the '70s. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has an article today (via Mr. Durrwachter Combest) on the tiny little Saint Louis County city of Beverly Hills improving safety making money by running new cameras at the corner of Lucas and Hunt and Natural Bridge. As if the policing for profit is not bad enough (and it is), Beverly Hills has actually put the cameras in a different city — Normandy:

"To put their cameras in our municipality and record our violations is none of their business," said Normandy Police Chief Douglas Lebert. "They're policing in somebody else's venue, and they're generating a hell of a profit from it."

I can't put it any better than that. Good for Chief Lebert! What should be done here? First, citizens need to elect local officials who are opposed to red-light cameras. Second, the state needs to alter the law capping the amount of any city's budget that can come from traffic fines, lowering it to about 10 percent. Third, citizens need to fight these bulls%*#t tickets in court.

The businesses located along this intersection must love this quote in the story:

Page said the camera enforcement seems "a little unfair because they're making a boatload of money" from the fines. Since then, Page said, she tries to avoid the intersection.

Thanks to these stories, I know now to avoid this area as much possible — and I used to go to the McDonald's there once in a while. Making money for the municipality while hurting local businesses probably seems just fine to Beverly Hills officials, sad as that is.

It's good to be back posting again after a week in Maine. More to come today, I assure you.

About the Author

David Stokes
David Stokes was a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute from 2007 to 2014 and was director of development from 2014 to 2016.