Washington D.C.'s City Council takes the unofficial city slogan -- "Taxation Without Representation" -- seriously, so much so that it's proposed officially adding the slogan to the city's flag. Unfortunately, this concern for empowering residents to impact the way our money is collected and spent by government does not extend to traffic cameras.
D.C. resident Tom Elliott recently attempted to file paperwork for a city-wide initiative that would allow residents to vote on the continued use of traffic cameras. The Board of Elections & Ethics informed him that such a vote is prohibited, in that its outcome could result in reduced revenue for the city. After being told that the only way to remove these cameras is, a) amend the city charter to allow for such a referendum, or b) ask the City Council to take this step itself, he asked every City councilmember to initiate either of these two actions. In making this request, he noted how either of these undertakings would help ameliorate the Council's concern over D.C.' "taxation without representation." Of the 13 councilmembers contacted, only Councilmember Mary Cheh responded and she politely dismissed the idea. Three other offices sent assurances that their councilmembers would review the matter; none ever responded further.
The undersigned simply ask for our voices to be heard. Whether traffic cameras are effective at raising revenue, reducing traffic accidents, or mitigating dangerous driving are all irrelevant. Government in America is meant to be of the people, for the people, by the people. If we don't want local police to use traffic cameras, that is reason enough to discontinue their use.
In the meantime, we, the undersigned, simply seek the opportunity for our opinions to be heard.
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