Put red light camera companies under the microscope

Attorney General Kwame Raoul should investigate the manner of compensation of red light camera companies throughout the Chicagoland suburbs and Illinois.

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A red light camera is shown at Belmont Avenue and DuSable Lake Shore Drive in March 2017.

A red light camera is shown at Belmont Avenue and DuSable Lake Shore Drive in March 2017.

Sun-Times Media

I’ve read the Sun-Times’ reporting over and over and over again, pointing out that corruption in the Chicagoland suburbs abounds, spurred by the oh-so-irresistible temptation of the revenue promised by the companies that hawk red light cameras.

I recall the reporting in 2017 that “[u]nder its deals with Chicago suburbs, [SafeSpeed] gets nearly 40% of the money from tickets issued by its cameras.” Then in 2019, it was reported that SafeSpeed was under federal investigation but that it had not been charged with wrongdoing.

I am also familiar with an addition to the Illinois Vehicle Code that the Legislature made when it first allowed automated red light cameras into our state. It reads: “The compensation paid for an automated traffic law enforcement system must be based on the value of the equipment or the services provided and may not be based on the number of traffic citations issued or the revenue generated by the system.”

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Knowing all the above, I can’t help but wonder: If a company is (or was) getting a “percent of the money from tickets issued by its cameras,” was it getting compensated “based on the number of traffic citations issued or the revenue generated by the system” — something our state law would seem to prohibit? If one company was getting compensated this way, what about the others?

While the feds can (and clearly will) investigate corruption, only Illinois state officials can investigate violations of state law. I call on Attorney General Kwame Raoul to investigate the manner of compensation of red light camera companies throughout the Chicagoland suburbs and Illinois for compliance with state law.

Ari Weiner, New East Side

In denial on gun violence

We Americans and our elected representatives are in a massive state of denial regarding gun violence.

We are in denial that widespread prevalence of guns is a problem. We are in denial that mass shootings are more than solitary acts, and are often manifestations of an unchecked white supremacist DNA.

We are in denial that easy access to guns is a great temptation to the demented, the hate-obsessed, the follower of conspiracy theories. We are in denial of our own complicity, silence and surrender to the evil of gun violence.

We are in denial that gun registration and gun limitations can help us establish some measure of safety and control. We are in denial that the worship of guns is idolatry against God.

God have mercy on our souls and the soul of our beloved country.

Rev. Martin Deppe, Edgewater

‘Making history’ is irrelevant in elections

ShawnTe Raines-Welch might get some votes for Cook County judge based on voters having the opportunity to “make history” by voting for an African American woman. Oh no, this again. She is an attorney with 12 years experience, which is impressive to me, and she does appear to be highly qualified.

I have no idea about others in the race and I do value diversity. I might even vote for her if I can.

Still, it seems that candidates’ “making history” is something we hear way too often in campaigns. Where is the relevance? It’s nice and can be great for fundraising, especially from lawmakers, but can get boring.

David Rubin, Des Plaines

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