Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Written by Walter Pierce
I am, however, a fan of science and engineering, of empiricism, reason and rationality. It’s why I accept theories like Darwinian evolution, anthropogenic climate change and gravity: The data prove it, the evidence is overwhelming, a majority of mainstream scientists — people much smarter than me with credentials and lab coats — accept them after rigorous, sceptical review.
So I couldn’t help but get a little tingly by the fusillade of evidence flying about the City-Parish Council auditorium last week as a police official and consolidated government’s top traffic engineer made a case for cameras — impregnable proof, dizzyingly incontrovertible data piled on in copious, analytical layers.
It was unfortunate that the council didn’t get around to discussing LCG’s contract with RedFlex — a contract that is set to expire late this spring (and will) if the three Tea Party-backed members of the council get their way (they won’t, methinks, not after last week’s presentation) — until well after 9 p.m. Most of the public in attendance, no doubt a majority of whom oppose SafeSpeed/SafeLight because the squeaky wheel gets the grease around here, had vacated the auditorium.
|Two of the three sponsors of the anti-SafeLight ordinance don’t live in the city of Lafayette and can barely scrape together 10,000 city constituents among them.|
I was struck by the rough treatment Director of Transportation Tony Tramel received by Councilman William Theriot, one of the sponsors of the ordinance to end the RedFlex contract and shutter the cameras. Theriot repeatedly cut Tramel off and was otherwise brusque and surly with the engineer. Indeed Tramel can come off as cocky. But when you’re armed with data like that, it’s hard not to be. Numbers, as they say, don’t lie. I got the sense that it was Tramel’s proof, not Theriot’s growling stomach, that occasioned the councilman’s glower.
In brief, the number of collisions at SafeLight intersections is down remarkably compared to before the cameras were installed; the cameras save the Lafayette Police Department resources and taxpayer money by allowing officers to focus on other, more pressing matters; the department would need to hire 38 officers to do the work the cameras are doing more or less for free; five polls conducted between 2001 and 2009 show support in the 60+ percent range for the program in Lafayette; the cameras have helped solve other crimes unrelated to speeding or running red lights; motorists are given a cushion averaging about seven miles over the speed limit below which the cameras will not be activated; and, most significant if you’re one who believes the program is all about revenue, less than one tenth of one percent of the more than 60 million vehicles that have passed through the camera-equipped intersections has received a citation.
Worth mentioning: Two of the three sponsors of the anti-SafeLight ordinance — Jared Bellard and Theriot — don’t live in the city of Lafayette and can barely scrape together 10,000 city constituents among them, which amounts to less than 10 percent of the city population, although SafeLight/SafeSpeed is a city-only program. This vindicates my having supported a repeal of the Lafayette Home Rule Charter and going back to separate city- and parish governments, which was shot down by voters last October.
Maybe my reluctance to embrace SafeLight/SafeSpeed has something to do with the phalanx most visibly supporting it — middle-aged, buttoned-down, balding men. That’s a fraternity I’m loath to join. I may be sliding inexorably into middle age myself, but I have a full head of hair and I’d like to keep it that way.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home
Ready to geaux in purple and gold
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.
Three bedroom cottage or three bedroom ranch
Sheer lace perfection
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.