Common Sense For Belmar Liberty Begins At Home

October 28, 2010

Give Red Light Cameras The Black Flag

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:19 am

Best story yet on the red light camera controversy.  Some of you may know that I have been the lone voice fighting the introduction of red light cameras to Belmar.  Our current administration has been savoringcontemplating the idea for months now and even had a salesman from a red light camera company give them a presentation during a council meeting a few months ago.  I was at that meeting and didn’t hear any concern expressed about the privacy rights of the citizens.  At a subsequent meeting I directed our council to some of the same studies mentioned below.  And again right here I thank Matt Doherty for showing enough interest at that time to at least ask me for the links to the studies.  Anyway, I have gone so far as to publicly inform the mayor and council and (now) police chief  Tom Palmisano that if they install red light cameras I will be using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain accident reports from any accidents that occur at these intersections.

From today’s WorldNetDaily:

Traffic cams: Endangering rights – and lives.

 Phil Elmore says devices are used to peer over shoulders, reach into wallets

 

 

By Phil Elmore

 

As the light turned green above me, I started to accelerate into the intersection. I looked right, then left. As I did so I saw the Ford F150 barreling toward me. In disbelief, I stopped the car and watched the big truck thunder past, brazenly running the light and narrowly missing me. It is at least ostensibly to prevent collisions (such as this incident could have been) that those in authority advocate the use of red-light cameras (RLCs). Red-light, speed and traffic cameras watch every single driver passing through an intersection or past a given point, seeing everything, forgetting nothing, often issuing tickets without warning. You cannot reason with a traffic camera; you cannot describe to it mitigating circumstances; you cannot offer to it exculpatory evidence. If you are issued a ticket by a police officer, you may face that officer in court and defend yourself from the charge. If you are issued a ticket by a red-light camera, you are effectively guilty until proven innocent – with little or no opportunity to provide such proof. The camera, a machine, is presumed to be infallible … and you, a citizen of what is supposed to be a free country, are at the mercy of a device that feels no such emotion. 
In the eyes of those in power, red-light cameras and similar devices provide a steady stream of revenue. They do not tire; they do not join unions; they need not be paid. They can work around the clock, and they catch every single violator. At least in theory, such public surveillance and punishment provides a deterrent. Traffic cameras are presumed to save lives by preventing drivers from believing they can run a red light or exceed the speed limit without being caught. But is this really true? 
Only a few months ago, a Laura Frazier reported that crashes increase at corners where traffic cameras are rolling. “New data released by the sheriff’s office shows 24 crashes at [an intersection in Brandon, Fla.] from January through March, after the traffic monitoring devices were installed. There were nine accidents at the corner in the same period last year.” This is hardly empirical data – but there’s plenty of that. Red-light and traffic cameras are far from an automotive safety panacea. Multiple studies, in fact, show that red-light or traffic cameras increase accidents. 
The Virginia Transportation Research Council reported in 2007 that red-light cameras increased “crash costs” as often as they did not. The report concluded that the results of the RLC crash data “cannot be used to justify the widespread installation of cameras because they are not universally effective.” Three years before that, in 2004, the Urban Transit Instituteconcluded that red-light cameras increase some types of accidents while having a marginal effect on fatal red-light violations. “The results,” the study reads, “do not support the view that red-light cameras reduce crashes. Instead, we find that RLCs are associated with higher levels of many types and severity categories of crashes.” 

These results were not, in fact, news, because the same effect had already been observed in a Canadian study of the same type. In Ontario in 2003, the Ministry of Transportation concluded, in examining a red-light camera pilot program, that the cameras contributed to a nearly 20 percent overall increase in “property damage” collisions. Drivers were slamming on their brakes to avoid getting tickets – and causing accidents thanks to their abrupt maneuvering in traffic. Rear-end collisions alone increased by nearly 50 perent, which makes perfect sense given that such cameras cause alarmed drivers to slow down suddenly or stop without warning. 

An Australian study done several years ago concluded that the use of red-light cameras at specified locations “did not provide any reduction in accidents,” instead increasing accidents – specifically, “rear end and adjacent approaches accidents on a before and after basis and also by comparison with the changes in accidents at intersection signals.” The results, in other words, were identical to a high-profile crash in Arizona, in which a speed camera caused an accident. When a driver slammed on his brakes to avoid receiving a citation from the camera, which uses radar to issue traffic citations automatically, the result was a rear-end collision scant feet from the device.

Liberals love traffic cameras. They never fail to advocate any measure that allows Big Brotherto peer over your shoulder while reaching into your wallet. It is because they adore the thought of 24/7 control of every facet of your life that they like surveillance cameras so much. If they can watch you, they can punish you when you step out of line. Democrats and leftists of every stripe are also addicted to your money. Any municipal scheme that takes money from your pocket and puts it in their coffers is something they support, and RLCs are nothing if not a money-making scheme. We’ve known this and acknowledged it for nearly a decade.

In 2001, the office of then House Majority Leader Dick Armey claimed that red-light cameras “present a perverse disincentive for local jurisdictions to fix intersections with excessive red-light entries. It’s hard to fix a ‘problem’ that brings in millions in revenue. In other words, red-light cameras aren’t fixing a safety problem, they’re creating one.”

Unfortunately, as evidence mounts implicating traffic cameras as problem makers rather than problem solvers, those in power simply ignore the data. They insist that such cameras “save lives” and thus such public surveillance is for your own good. The control – and the money – such cameras offer is far more appealing than anything so prosaic as the truth about those cameras’ effects on public safety or civil rights.

The traffic camera is a camel’s nose in the tent. Liberals will not be satisfied until your every waking moment takes place under a camera’s lens. What we must ask ourselves is whether we really want to live like this for the illusory promise of improved public safety.

 

October 27, 2010

Final Ad Of The Campaign

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October 26, 2010

Post Debate

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:20 am

The moderator cut it short so everyone could go home and watch the Giants so I didn’t get to speak as much as I had hoped to, but I think I did pretty well.  I got great responses from the (kinda smallish) crowd both during and after the debate. 

I thought I was going to be shaking like a one-man earthquake up there, but actually once it started I felt great.  I could have gone on for hours (with smoking breaks, of course).  I’m much more interested in politics than I am in football.

In the past, my strongest urges to run for office always came while watching others debate.  If I had let my public shyness (and awful habit of forgetting peoples’ names) stop me from running this year, and instead was in the audience watching the others debate last night, I would be kicking myself in the butt right now.  Nobody was saying the things I, and apparently a good portion of the crowd, wanted to hear from our political leaders.

Here’s my opening remarks.

Thank you

 And I’d like to thank The Chamber and The League for inviting me.

I’d also like to thank the other candidates.  Everyone’s been very gracious to me. Nobody’s attempted to keep me off the ballot, or out of the debate, or been mean to me in any way.

And I thank all of you.

My name is David Schneck.  I’m 53 years old and I write auto parts catalogs for a living.

My wife and I have lived here since 1993.

We have 2 daughters who both go to St. Rose Grammar School and they’re the reason I’m here tonight.

I’m really the opposite of a politician. I’m uncomfortable socializing.  I hate parties and I’m nervous speaking in public.

So I may not be the ideal messenger but I’m so worried about the direction our society is taking that I feel I have to stand up and do something.

Our civil life has become the war of all against all, a society where everyone tries to live at the expense of, and control the lives of, everyone else.

The right to live your life the way you want, and the right to enjoy the wealth you yourself have produced means little nowadays.

In pursuit of safety we are destroying freedom and in pursuit of fairness we are destroying justice and I’m here to do something about it.

When you work, you are trading an irreplaceable part of your life for your pay.  That money belongs to you every bit as much as your life itself.

Every time one of our leaders comes up with some good idea they need you to pay for, they are saying that somebody else has a greater claim to your life than you do.

And every time they try to control your personal lifestyle choices they are saying that they know better than you how to live your life.

Well I’m not smart enough to know how you should live, or how your money should be spent.

But I’m smart enough to know that nobody is smart enough.  The only one who could possibly know what’s best for you……. is you!

I don’t want to be your leader, I want to be your pit bull.

You lead.  I’ll watch your back.

October 25, 2010

Don’t Miss The Big Debate Tonight!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:19 am

7:00 PM.  Belmar Elementary School.

Drop The S.I.D., Try My F.E.Z.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:17 am

I rarely go to Red Bank but I was up there yesterday to bring my 13 year old daughter to Red Bank Catholic’s open house.  Let me tell you friends there were A LOT of vacant store fronts there.  The highly touted “RiverCenter”, which is the model for Belmar’s “Special Improvement District” doesn’t seem to be working out so great.  I’m not surprised.

Politicians, including ours here in Belmar, can’t seem to get it into their heads that they can’t help business.  Business doesn’t want their “help”.  Government destroys business.  It replaces business.  It uses up all the oxygen in the room.  It’s been shown over and over again throughout history that business does best when there is the least amount of government involvement. 

Unfortunately, thoughout history politicians have been unable to resist the urge to meddle in business.  Vanity drives them to insert themselves into the affairs of anything that moves or doesn’t move.

I can just hear their sales pitch for anyone thinking of locating a business in Belmar:  1) You get to pay extra taxes.  2) You get to sit in SID meetings.  3) Don’t worry what the front of your store looks like, we’ll decide for you.  Who could resist moving here after hearing about all those benefits?

I say drop the S.I.D., try my F.E.Z. (FREE ENTERPRISE ZONE).  I would make Belmar the easiest and cheapest place in the area to locate a business. 

Lower taxes on commercial properties.  They don’t send kids to our school or use public waste removal, why do we charge them more?  We should be giving them a break. 

Ease all the red tape and regulations involved in setting up a business here.  I’ve seen what people have to go through to locate a business here and let me tell you it’s a real deterrent.  The S.I.D. will make it even worse. 

Allow the largest signs in the area.  This won’t cost us anything and will make business owners very happy.  Unlike the political class, I don’t find business signs to be offensive, and bigger signs make it easier for customers to find the store they are looking for.  It will also reinforce the notion that BELMAR MEANS BUSINESS!

If our politicians had been in charge of Hong Kong since the beginning, it would still be a muddy fishing village.  They would be bragging that since they were elected, count ’em 2 new huts had been constructed!  Fortunately for Hong Kong, it had leadership that knew to stay out of the way and now Hong Kong looks like this:

October 21, 2010

Unions = Bankruptcy

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:29 am

Mark Hemingway, for the Washington Examiner:

Mark Hemingway: Will November be the death knell for big labor unions?

By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
October 17, 2010

Mark your calendars. Next month we might be able to pinpoint the day that big labor unions begin their decline to political irrelevancy.

And no, we’re not talking about Election Day, though big Republican victories will undoubtedly help usher unions off the political stage.

On Nov. 1, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) ceases to take public comment on a new rule requiring that companies more accurately report liabilities they have from participation in multiemployer pension plans. Unless FASB is persuaded otherwise, the rule takes effect Dec. 15.

There are some 1,500 multiemployer pension plans in the United States, which are unique to unions. In these plans, multiple companies pay into the pension plan, but each company assumes the total liability.

Under “last man standing” accounting rules, if five companies are in a plan and four go bankrupt, the fifth company is responsible for meeting the pension obligations for the employees of the other four companies.

What this means is that companies with union labor often have pension liabilities that are several multiples higher than the pension expenditures they report — the Kroger grocery store chain shocked analysts last year when it disclosed its multiemployer pension liabilities more than doubled in a year to $1.2 billion.

Ratings agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s have been highlighting the lack of transparency in union pension plans. Now Wall Street wants union businesses to be upfront about their liabilities.

FASB’s new rule could effectively wipe out the paper worth of many companies, especially in the trucking and construction industries. Once banks and creditors are aware of these staggering pension liabilities, it will make it nearly impossible for union businesses to get loans, credit lines or bonding.

If forced to report their true liabilities, hundreds — perhaps thousands — of companies will scramble to get out from under their union obligations.

“The blind panic is un-frickin’-believable. [Unions] are flipping out,” says Brett McMahon, a representative of Associated Builders and Contractors and vice president of Miller & Long Concrete Construction.

Multiemployer plans are already on the verge of collapse. A recent Government Accountability Office study looked at multiemployer plans from 1980 to 2006. The study found that the number of people paying into the plans was equal to the number of retirees being paid out in 1998.

Since then, the plans have been unsustainable Ponzi schemes — the Teamsters union plan alone has some four times number of retirees as employees paying in.

Unions have but one shot to save themselves. They’ve been agitating for a legislative solution for some time, and unions had some very specific demands in mind when they spent $400 million electing Democrats in 2008.

First, they wanted a “card check” bill that would allow unions to bully employees into creating unions. With new unions, they would use mandatory binding arbitration to force new companies into their failing multiemployer plans.

Legislatively, card check appears dead in the water. Now Democrats are likely to lose control of the House of Representatives in November’s election. Not only that, post-census redistricting looks like it could help Republicans retain control of the House for years to come, making it nearly impossible to get legislative favors for unions.

With FASB’s new rule starting before year’s end, time is running out for unions. If unions end up decimated by collapsing pension plans and the ensuing class-action lawsuits as workers try to recoup their retirement, Democrats will lose millions in political donations.

That’s why Democrats have already put together a plan to save unions. And in a lame duck session just after the election, Democrats have nothing to lose.

Get ready for another taxpayer-funded union bailout.

Mark Hemingway is an editorial page staff writer for The Examiner. He can be reached at mhemingway@washingtonexaminer.com.

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October 19, 2010

This Week’s Ad

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:13 pm

End The New Jersey Income (redistribution) Tax

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From Dr. Murray Sabrin, Professor of Finance, Ramapo College.

New Jersey needs a zero income tax rate

Governor Christie stated on Bloomberg radio he wants to cut the state income tax in order to make New Jersey more attractive than Pennsylvania and New York to do business.  However, if the governor wants to make New Jersey one of the most attractive states in America to do business, if not the most attractive, the income tax should be cut all the way to zero.  By phasing out the income tax over the next several years, Governor Christie and the Legislature would strike a major blow for liberty and prosperity, the New Jersey state motto.

Usually, income taxes are paid by individuals, families and businesses and go into a general fund to pay the government’s bills.  The public is then supposed to receive services and benefits for the taxes they pay.  That’s how taxes and spending are supposed to work for the benefit of all citizens, in theory.  In reality, heavy taxes are levied on some for the benefit of others.  New Jersey’s income tax falls into that category.  In other words, the New Jersey income tax redistributes income.

The New Jersey state income tax is devoted for so-called property tax relief.  One of the worst tax policies is to create a new tax to lower a current tax.  Typically, the new tax starts off relatively “low” like the New Jersey income tax in 1976, while the existing tax—in New Jersey’s case local property taxes– is then lowered a bit.   With nearly 35 years of experience, the evidence is overwhelming; the income tax has failed to stem the rise in property tax and it has nearly quadrupled from a flat 2.5% to 9% on upper income taxpayers, at the margin.

Because the state income tax is now steeply progressive, upper income earners pay 9% on the last dollars they earn.  Add to that to the federal income tax and Medicare tax of 1.45%, and the marginal tax rate in New Jersey is closing in on 50%, and will increase after December 31, 2010, if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire.

In addition, this year property tax relief has disappeared completely for dozens of upper income communities as their state aid from the income tax was cut to zero.  The income tax essentially “robs Peter to pay Paul.”  Taxpayers in middle and upper income communities are taxed to pay most of the school costs of the Abbott school districts.

Abolishing the income tax would force local school districts to make the hard choices about school funding they have not had to do because the income tax propped up the out- of-control spending that has driven costs up for more than three decades.  Moreover, the state constitution must be amended to eliminate the “thorough and efficient” clause, thereby getting the Supreme Court out of the school funding decision making business.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, will make a $100 million gift to the Newark to improve their schools.  This could be the first major step in using philanthropic donations to help fund Abbott school districts.

The time has come to end the redistribution of income in the state of New Jersey.  Abolishing the income tax would be a giant step in the right direction.

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New Jersey’s income tax is a total fraud.  It was enacted in 1976 specifically for the purpose of property tax relief.  Ha.

Aside from being a total fraud, New Jersey’s income tax is terrible economic policy.  Income and capital gains taxes are taxes on wealth creation.  Anything you tax you get less of.  Don’t we want wealth creation in New Jersey? 

Of course our legislature and supreme court are less concerned with wealth creation than they are with making sure they get to decide what gets done with it.  Their guiding principle: From Each According To Their Ability, To Each According To Their Need“.

October 12, 2010

This Week’s Ad

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:42 am

October 11, 2010

A Couple Of Notable Visitors To My Table At The Fall Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:26 am

I explain to Congressman Frank Pallone why it is bad policy to ban incandescent light bulbs.

He did take one of my sample “good old fashioned” light bulbs.

No need to explain things to Anna Little.  She already gets it.

Our next Congresswoman poses with one of my light bulbs as her daughter enjoys one of my wife’s fantastic cookies.

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