Study puts brakes on red-light cameras | Jan. 23, John Romano column
Cameras work to improve safety
Having been nearly killed by people running red lights three times in the past three years, I would disagree that red-light cameras are not effective if they make people think twice about running a light. While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analysis in 2011 of communities with red-light cameras may have been skewed by an abnormally high rate of accidents in Phoenix, individual cities still report that red-light cameras have changed the way people drive.
"Our traffic fatalities have been cut in half in four years," said D.C. police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, quoted in a Washington Post article. Lanier also said the cameras conserve police resources. "Those automated enforcement programs can take the place of 100 officers" — officers she does not have to take away from crime fighting.
During the three years prior to the cameras being installed in St. Petersburg, our city website reported that 62 percent of fatalities at intersections with traffic lights were directly attributed to red-light running. Since then, the cameras have gradually created an environment of caution and awareness. Our transportation director, Joe Kubicki, told the City Council last week that red-light and rear-end crashes have decreased and so have citations.
Faith Andrews Bedford, St. Petersburg
Study puts brakes on red-light cameras Jan. 23, John Romano column
We need more of them
It's a dubious and contrived argument at best that we should make our roads more dangerous in order to keep government from getting revenue from red-light cameras.
I expect this from drivers who don't want to be fined, but it seems particularly inappropriate for public officials to use it as a populist campaign technique. The quickest and surest way to stop motorists from imperiling lives at intersections is to hit them in the pocketbook when they drive recklessly. Red-light cameras do this better and more efficiently than anything else currently available.
I can see a clear and obvious difference in how drivers behave where there are cameras. We need to make red-light cameras more prevalent, not eliminate them. So here is an option for those who are concerned about the revenue thing: Cut the fines to just the level needed to cover costs and start adding violation points for drivers caught endangering the rest of us. Let's change their behavior or get them off the roads.
Jerry Stephens, Riverview
What to do to fight data theft | Jan. 21
Credit card problems
In this article about preventing identity theft and safeguarding your data, it's quite telling that nothing listed would help to actually "prevent" or "safeguard." It's all about reacting as a victim to identity theft that has already happened.
We need our lawmakers to defend us by making financial institutions liable for the vulnerabilities they have built into our credit processing systems. Embedded-chip "smart" credit cards are the standard across the rest of the developed world. Why can't we have that here?
John Desmond, Plant City
1 state hurried to pay jobless | Jan. 23
California a poor role model
Having been California residents for 25 years, we are very familiar with the state. It has great weather, little humidity and almost zero mosquitoes.
It also is a state with a horrendous personal income tax that in many cases exceeds 10 percent of one's salary. It has over 50 percent of its residents on some form of entitlement, the largest debt of any state in the union, and very high unemployment. Shelling out further debt for the unemployed is of little consequence to California, which is a short step from bankruptcy.
Gov. Rick Scott has Florida out of debt and has reined in unemployment. Floridians are back to work — from over 11 percent unemployed to under 7 percent.
Lou Christodoulou, Apollo Beach
Soap's dirty little secret Jan. 23, commentary
I read with interest the column by David McAdams. In a season that has had several deaths from flu, I would hate to see people discouraged from washing their hands. (I am always amazed at the number of men I see leaving a public restroom without washing their hands. I have no clue about the other sex.)
I would suggest a better alternative to soap with triclosan is to use soap with tea tree oil. Tea tree oil or melaleuca oil has been tested in labs. When diluted 1 part to 1,000 it killed all bacteria in the test for 35 days with no regrowth.
Dale Kimball, Brooksville
Grinding out service
We devote a lot of time, print and energy debating the proper role of government. Perhaps in addition we can come together by recalling Teddy Roosevelt's comment: "The bulk of government is not legislation but administration." The daily, routine, nondramatic job that government workers provide us should be given more recognition and less criticism.
Arnie Frigeri, Sun City Center
HMA's legal trouble swirls | Jan. 24
Mission of care is lost
After 40 years in health care administration, I've seen health care evolve from a mission-driven, not-for-profit service into a for-profit national enterprise.
I taught and consulted about the need to adopt business-oriented practices in hospitals. I repent of my sins! Corporate practices have gone too far.
HMA's legal problems are similar to what other for-profit companies are encountering as they apply competitive business concepts to what should be charitable work. The "mission" has been lost, so the patients suffer while corporate bosses and their shareholders amass wealth.
Richard Cavanagh, Holiday
Bieber gets busted | Jan. 24
Unworthy of front page
I have been proud of the St. Petersburg Times/Tampa Bay Times for more than 30 years, but I was embarrassed when I looked at Friday's front page. I thought I had picked up a tabloid featuring Justin Bieber. You got my attention. I will more carefully evaluate all the articles you choose to print as newsworthy.
Nancy Blair, Largo