Maybe?

Early returns show promise for Constitutional Convention, other MD ballot Questions
Posted: 10:30 PM TUE, November 2, 2010
By Steve Lash
Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer

If early election results hold, Maryland will engage in a full scale review of the state’s constitution for the first time since 1967.

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County Exec Says 10 percent Firefighter Cuts

In the Washington Examiner, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said Tuesday about one in 10 county firefighters would lose his or her job if voters reject a new ambulance fee as put on the November ballot as a referendum issue. (That referendum to be on the ballot was court ordered, by the way.)

87 of them at risk of losing their jobs since there are 20 vacancies. Ironically, there is an argument that residents may reconsider dialing 911 if they expect to be charged a fee.

Well, I hate to say it, but everyone had better take a look at this. While it didn’t happen here in Maryland, someone had better ask – will it?

At what cost is it to deny such services, let alone play upon people’s fears? And how much of a loss should citizens suffer due to an arbitrary decision?

Particularly in this time-frame of irresponsible overspending and careless governmental budgeting?

Pro And Con: Does MD Need ConCon?

An article in The Daily Record by Steve Lash

Taxpayer Protection Act

This Bill will require 3/5ths Majority in General Assembly to Raise Taxes

Annapolis –This week, Senator Andy Harris (R-7) and Delegate Steve Schuh (R-31), with joint support from the Republican Caucuses in the State Senate and House of Delegates, introduced the “Taxpayer Protection Act”. The bill numbers are SB 747 and HB 684.

This exciting piece of legislation would require a 60% vote in each chamber to raise existing taxes or create new ones. It is important to note that the damaging tax increases passed during the 2007 Special Session did not receive such a majority. Had this legislation been in place, Maryland’s economy would be better off today.

“Once again, the Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly have shown their dedication and commitment to the hard-working taxpayers of Maryland,” stated Chairman Pelura. “Governor O’Malley is dangerously relying on bailout money from the federal government to balance his budget. When that dries up, he’ll be coming back to the taxpayers to demand more from them.”

Pelura continued, “I urge all Marylanders to call their state senators and delegates and tell them to support this legislation to stop Governor O’Malley and his Democrats allies in the General Assembly from taking any more of our hard-earned dollars.”

UPDATE: Traffic Cameras

This is just an FYI for any interested on this topic and what is happening throughout the country. Let’s look at L.A. for right now.


L.A. County red-light violation fines have jumped 65% to $446, Times review finds
February 4, 2010 | 7:14 am
In less than eight years, fines for red-light traffic violations in Los Angeles County have jumped nearly 65% from an average of $271 to $446.

With traffic school fees, the total now exceeds $500. Ever-vigilant photo enforcement programs run by nearly 30 agencies across the county have added a new degree of efficiency to catching violators and capturing revenue to fund a variety of government programs.

In November alone, Los Angeles County’s Superior Court system processed payments on an estimated 13,000 red-light camera tickets. And local agencies with camera systems generated nearly $1.6 million in revenue, with an even larger portion of the red-light camera fines going to a combination of state and judicial programs, according to the estimates obtained by The Times.

Critics say the fines have become excessive and mainly a means for camera companies and cities to raise money. But some police and traffic officials, as well as motorists, contend the penalties properly reflect the serious injuries, death and property damage that can result from drivers running red lights.

Los Angeles’ red-light traffic camera program, which officials report netted more than $6 million last year after expenses, could be significantly expanded under a new contract to be negotiated over the next 14 months.

Although adding more cameras could offer a welcome boost to city revenue in the midst of a fiscal crisis, officials say any expansion will be based on safety considerations.

No goal has been set, but internal City Hall discussions have included the possibility of adding cameras to blocks of eight intersections at a time and eventually doubling the overall reach of the program to 64 intersections, Los Angeles Police Department officials told The Times.


Still think it isn’t about the revenue?


UPDATE: A Tennessee town has to get rid of its red light cameras because they aren’t making money. How about that.


David Davis
Managing Editor
Sunday, Feb 07, 2010

The Red Light Enforcement Program will end March 31. Traffipax notified the city of Cleveland it would decommission five cameras such as this one at Raider Drive and Keith Street because it was losing money.

In a letter, Traffipax has announced plans to terminate its agreement with the city of Cleveland to operate the Red Light Enforcement Program. The cameras will be deactivated by March 31, according to a letter to City Manager Janice Casteel.
According to the letter dated Jan. 29, both the city of Cleveland and Traffipax have operated the sites at a financial loss. The plan is to decommission the five traffic cameras before March 31. Citation data will continue to be delivered to the city in order to continue collecting unpaid fines.

DNA Testing Takes Too Long

Baltimore prosecutors dropped charges against a suspect that was caught last year (May/June 2008) and had been in jail since then until being released this last July (according to 45 Fox News).

This was because it took so long for the DNA test results to verify that the suspect’s DNA did NOT match that of the perpetrator of the crime!

According to Margaret Burns of the City Prosecutor’s Office there simply isn’t enough lab staff, and criminal analysts, to do the DNA testing on a timely basis. So there has been a request of stimulus money to help alleviate this problem.

So, the “suspect” that is now free – does he have a case to take the City to court? How about his year long incarceration? Our tax money supported him there, right?

Seems there is quite a problem with money in the City, and it is getting worse with a case such as this.

Crash Tax??

That’s what people here call it.
And here’s what WBAL 11 News (at 11pm) Cover Story reports on it.

Let’s see now, the state (legislature) nor city council can’t seem to want to employ success stories from other states to actually help the citizens here. Such as more efficient government, more for less cost, ease on tax burdens, transparency on budgeting and earmarks, and on and on.

But we can use precedent setting legal issues from other states to squeeze more money from us – even though a portion of our property taxes goes towards highway maintenance as well as fuel taxes.

Something is wrong with this picture, I’d say.

Now that other states are passing laws to rid themselves of this headache, do you think we will follow suit?

Don’t hold your breath, but this sounds like another possibility for correction via a Constitutional Convention.

What do you think?