Friday, August 1, 2014

Today 11,000 St Charles County Voters Will Receive Pocket Constitutions

Dear Fellow Citizens:


On May 8th of this year, as a public service, I sent a letter to the citizens of St. Charles County asking them to support a county-wide red light camera ban.  The bill offers voters an opportunity to end red light cameras in the county once and for all.  I am writing again, this time to update you on the status of the red light camera bill, and to share with you information about other important measures which will appear on the August 5th election ballot.


For those who were able to attend the council meeting and offer their support of the ban I would like to offer my thanks.  The St. Charles County Council gave a nearly unanimous vote to place the red light camera ban amendment on the November 4, 2014 ballot. While I wish the ban had been placed on the August 5th ballot to vote on, I am still happy that we  prevailed and the citizens will have the opportunity to vote.


Included in this letter is a copy of the United States Constitution. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.The 6th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees your right to a speedy trial and the right to confront witnesses against you.  When a camera machine is the only witness to the alleged violation however, it makes a cross-examination rather difficult.  A Red Light Camera has a limited view of the incident (about 100 degree field of view), whereas a police officer can have a complete view of the incident (360 degrees) and use his or her discretion.  


Politicians who favor Red Light Cameras often do so under the guise of increased traffic safety.  But according to the St. Peters Police Department, the rate of accidents and injuries have increased over 30% at those intersections in St. Peters where Red Light Cameras are installed.  A study by the Federal Highway Administration also indicated that rear-end collisions increase as a result of Red Light Cameras -- ultimately offsetting any other potential collision reductions.  The primary reason for the cameras is as a money grab by local politicians.


While the Red Light Camera issue will not be on the ballot August 5th, there are eight county and statewide amendmentsincluding one to increase sales taxes by ¾ of a cent.  


I have enclosed a short summary of the eight issues which you can use to study, mark how you intend to vote, and take with you to the polls to keep the myriad of issues on the ballot straight.  If I can answer any questions about the Red Light Camera issue, or any other matter, please feel free to contact me.  Thank you.


Michael E. Carter

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