Houston’s red light cameras meet the lens cap

Again I find myself with about 10 to 20 posts I want to write, and the time to write maybe three of them, tops. Actually right now, since my PC is inaccessible, I have the time to write this all-too-brief post before it becomes too untimely.

A recent story in the Houston Chronicle states that the red light cameras have finally been shut off, this time for good. And not a moment too soon. I remember voting against them in the referendum last year, and was severely disappointed when Mayor Annise Parker turned them back on in the midst of the legal fight and controversy following the referendum.

I was left with the feeling my vote was no good, along with untold numbers of Houston residents. Finally, we have been shown our vote does matter. That when more than 50% of the people who go to the polls and vote, that vote does count. We, as a community, stood up and said “no” to an invasive form of law enforcement that not only does not improve safety, but makes otherwise safe intersections more dangerous. I only hope that the other cities in the greater Houston area follow suit, along with non-incorporated munincipalities such as The Woodlands.

Interestingly, I am no longer a resident of the city of Houston proper, but for other reasons. I note with dismay that some time ago Houston annexed the area immediately around Willowbrook Mall. Those of us nearby (which now includes me) got an extra 1% sales tax on our shopping at the mall, a red light camera (until recently), and traffic tickets from HPD. I would like to see the city of Houston actually give us services in the annexed area, maybe a park or a library or something. Or is that just too much to ask? (I’m typing this in from a Harris County library computer, incidentally. However, it’s worth noting the Houston libraries have a lot of things in their collections the Harris County library does not.)