... but everyone gets one at some point. Most of us probably don't experience the sinking dread of flashing red lights in our rearview all that often. But with the shiny black lenses of red-light cameras going up at major intersections all over the city, a new kind of dread sets in. Watch the flashes pop in rapid succession as the light changes. Are every one of those pops a ticket—an expensive ticket? When will one be destined for your mailbox? Who gets all that money, anyway? What if we can't afford the ticket? And can we protect our plates against those prying lenses?
$100 tickets add up. How much has been paid in fines for camera-caught traffic violations?
Life's all about the commute.
"Think about how you spend your day," says APD spokesperson John Walsh. "On a bus, walking, operating a motor vehicle, as a passenger." Don't kid yourself, he adds. Albuquerque wants traffic enforcement because it wants a safe commute. The most common complaints to APD concern traffic accidents and violators of traffic laws. "Think about the hundreds and hundreds of violations that occur on a momentary basis."
To date, Albuquerque has 12 intersections staffed with cameras, ticketing drivers and netting millions of dollars. To achieve the same around-the-clock effect with officers would require 12 per intersection. That's 144 full-time cops working solely on traffic and only in those intersections. The cameras are a huge savings on manpower, Walsh says.
City Councilor Sally Mayer got a phone call from a constituent right after the city's first cameras were up and running. The tickets are unaffordable, the caller fretted. "Believe me," Mayer says, "there are times where that would be what I would have to say, too. 'I don't have this money.'"
Know your enemy. Clip out this list of intersections outfitted with cameras and tape it to your driver's side sun visor.
Are you a serial red-light runner? Here's what you can expect to pay per ticket in a two-year period:
Amid all the coupons and junk mail comes the dreaded ticket.
A Soldier’s Words--Television news usually cuts to the talking heads whenever our leader lets us know just how he is going to make things worse.
Dateline: England--A woman admitted to a hospital for treatment of a severe migraine had her stay extended when a television fell off the wall and hit her on the head. Sharon Blake, 36, was ready to leave Yeovil District Hospital when she moved the TV, attached to an adjustable arm above her head, and it toppled over. She was left mildly concussed and needed extra observation according to the Sun newspaper. Patientpal, which runs the coin-operated TV system, has apologized for the “isolated incident.”
Catch the “Fire”--The ABC Family Channel series “Wildfire,” which shoots right here in Albuquerque, is looking for new faces to act as background extras in the upcoming season. If you’re interested, there will be an open casting call on Thursday, Jan. 25, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel at University and Menaul. The family-oriented soap, about a rebellious girl who finds excitement and romance at a horse ranch where she works as part of her parole from juvenile hall, is currently in its third season.
Win Something—There are few awards in the lives of many musicians. Aspiring local ones can expect shiny prizes like: crappy pay, excess drama, late hours and the occasional heckler. Of course, pats on the back are not the reason most of us are in this game. We do it because ... wait, why are we doing this?
The Cell Theatre presents Back to Green River, Eat a Helicopter, WeatherRED, Natural Reaction and Lacerate this Friday, Jan. 26. Doors open at 7 p.m., cover is $7 and, as always, it’s all-ages. (LM)
Rock-a-bye Baby—Africa has had it rough for a long time. Unfortunately, children have borne the brunt of a crisis wrought by war, famine, poverty and AIDS. The U.N. estimates there are more than 48 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
The most bizarre and startling restaurant news of the new year is that Graze won't live to see the other side of this weekend. You heard right, unfortunately. Owner Michael Chesley, who parted ways with co-owner and Executive Chef Jennifer James in September of 2006, issued a press release last week announcing the restaurant's impending closure. His reason: Despite garnering national attention for the restaurant's focus on small plates and local ingredients, Graze's lofty concept just didn't make financial sense.