DC Residents: Get Ready for Your Revenue-Producing Closeups


The Washington Times reports that D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams–who seemed unconcerned enough with revenue to give away the store when it comes to Major League Baseball–is expanding the Capital City's automated traffic-enforcement camera system in order to fatten its coffers.

"There is an urgent need for the approval of this contract to ensure the continued processing of District tickets and the collection of District revenues," Mr. Williams wrote in a Dec. 16 letter to D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp….

A spokeswoman for Mr. Williams yesterday said that the mayor's views about red light and speed cameras haven't changed and that he probably should have included "an extra sentence about public safety" in his letter to Mrs. Cropp.

"The mayor has always felt that with the red-light cameras and the other equipment we use to catch people who are speeding, safety is our foremost goal," said Sharon Gang, spokeswoman for Mr. Williams. "He's never varied from that."

The mayor's letter, which makes no mention of public safety, came as the Metropolitan Police Department moved to expand the automated traffic-enforcement program by adding four new fixed-location speed cameras throughout the District yesterday.

Since August 2001, reports the Times, cameras placed in cop cars and fixed locations have brought in over $90 million in ticket revenue, leading the AAA Mid-Atlantic to smell a rat.

AAA spokesman John Townsend also seized on the mayor's letter to Mrs. Cropp. He said Mr. Williams' concern for generating revenue bolsters the case of critics who say the program is designed to fill the public coffers.

"All of our suspicions were realized with that statement," Mr. Townsend said. "It's a very telling statement.

Whole thing here.

Reason reported on the DC camera brouhaha here. And back in a 2001 edition of Brickbats, we noted that Bavarian cops fined a guy for giving the finger to a camera.