Councilman Roberts gets pissy, rejects safety in profit dispute

traffic cams like this one in Springfield, OH, are widely used in both the US and Europe

The corner of Clearview Pkwy and Veterans Blvd. in Metarie has long been a mess. A few years back, it was on both State Farm's and Allstate's lists of top ten dangerous intersections in the US. Major renovations to the design of the intersection were made, and video cameras were installed to enforce traffic laws.

Now, Parish Councilman Chris Roberts wants to shut the cameras down because of the structure of the support contract:

Jefferson Parish's stop-light camera program, which has generated millions of dollars for public services while proving to be a nemesis for thousands of drivers, halted Wednesday at 3 p.m. on orders from the Parish Council.

The council approved a resolution from member Chris Roberts to suspend the program amid disclosures that the contractor, Redflex Traffic Systems of Phoenix, Ariz., plans to direct about 3.2 percent of its share of the traffic fines to lobbyist Bryan Wagner, a former New Orleans City Council member who helped Redflex get the contract.

(more after the jump)

Roberts is upset that Wagner (who is mentor to many Republicans in Orleans Parish, including CongressCritter Cao) is making so much money off of traffic fines:

"Had some of these things been disclosed out front, I think the vote would have gone differently" to award Redflex the contract, Roberts said. "It was sold to us on the basis of public safety. We've since learned it's very lucrative."

Perhaps Councilman Roberts should take a deep breath for a moment and consider why the contract is so lucrative. What's the source of revenue? Traffic fines. Why is Wagner making money? Because the people of Jefferson Parish drive like assholes.

I live four blocks from this intersection. While my observations are strictly anecdotal, the combination of the intersection re-design and the traffic cameras has dramatically improved safety. You'd see a bad wreck in the middle of this intersection once a week, now, not so much. People would floor it to make a yellow light; now the light goes yellow and they stop. Overall, the system works.

What needs to be done is to hold serious hearings by a Council committee (or perhaps the entire council) on tweaking the intersection. Involve traffic engineers, let drivers be heard, etc.

That's how government works. Shutting down something that's improving safety because you don't like that someone's making a profit is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Hakim Drops the Ball!

30-December-2000. Saints 31-28 Rams, wildcard playoff game in Da Dome. Saints blow a 31-7 lead, but Az Hakim for the Rams muffs a punt, saving the day for the Saints. It's the most animated Jim Henderson's ever been prior to last Sunday's NFC Championship game:


Brother Martin High day at Semolina's -Clearview Mall

This is an event sponsored by Brother Martin High School--eat, enjoy, support!

"Pasta with a Purpose”
Semolina is excited to invite you to
“Pasta with a Purpose,”
a fundraising event for
Brother Martin High School.
Enjoy a wonderful meal with family and friends,
and Semolina will donate 10% of the proceeds to
Brother Martin High School.
All you have to do is bring this invitation to dinner
with you!
Monday, January 25th
10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Semolina Clearview Shopping Center
4436 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA 70006
The Crusader Family thanks you for participating!

Click the link above to download the PDF of the invitation. Bring that with you to Semolina on Monday so BMHS gets credit for your meal. Thanks!


Don't Play Dirty with @FleurtyGirl

It all started with a tweet this morning:

huh? The NFL told Fleurty Girl they couldn't sell their great #WHODAT shirt?  I immediately had flashbacks to my Radio Shack days in the early 1980s, when Radio Shack sued Auto Shack (and won because they sold car audio), and also sued Peanut Shack (and lost, because it was a stupid idea). 

And of all people, Fleurty Girl, a t-shirt shop uptown on Oak Street.  With all the knock-off merchandise sold in the French Quarter year-round, why pick on a small operation on the opposite side of town, in what is by and large a shopping district frequented almost exclusively by locals?

Let's back up a moment, though.  This is the offending t-shirt:

It's on display outside the Fleurty Girl store.  Look a bit more closely at the design:

A gold fleur-de-Lis that doesn't look at all, at all, like the BLACK fleur-de-lis that the Saints use:

The fleur de list that Fleurty Girl uses is more like the ones you find on the flag of the French Monarchy, early incarnations of the English royal arms, and the three on the flag of the city of New Orleans. Maybe the NFL can sue HM The Queen. They can try to sue SeeRay, but the city's still paying pre-storm judgements. I also doubt they'll be sending C&D demands to kingcake bakeries, either.

As for the term "Who Dat," the NFL has no more claim to that than I have to the George Halas trophy.

Fleurty Girl
says they're going to agree to the NFL's demands. Probably a good move, even though there's no shortage of lawyers willing to take their side on this. No worries, though, since their other "Who Dat" shirt is not a problem for the NFL:

In other words, all that was gained by someone dropping a dime on Fleurty Girl was to boost their public profile and sales.