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.
Pop-up dinner of chef Justin Girouard’s creations reflect farming traditions
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 16, 2014:
newsy bits for the fam
Festival International de Louisiane is right around the corner — April 23-27 — and IND Monthly’s second annual Fest fIND contest is along for the ride.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The perfect color for Easter Sunday
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
A Scott businessman has pleaded guilty to failing to report a conspiracy to award Opelousas Housing Authority construction bids to his company.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
Egg-citing ideas for sharing at family gatherings
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Court-appointed examiner says Lafayette businessman was “effectively on both sides” of transactions, opens door for legal action against him.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette-based insurance broker/risk management group bought by Florida firm for undisclosed sum; principals Landry and Harris continue to run local operations.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
The life and legacy of Dave Perkins will be commemorated with a special INDesign Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2014 event on April 24.