Sunday, August 29, 2010

Primaries Offer Some Voters a Choice on Speed Cameras

Some incumbent lawmakers who voted for statewide speed cameras face challenges not only in the November 2nd election but also in Maryland's September 14th primaries.

One challenger in the District 16 House of Delegates race in Montgomery County, Craig Herskowitz has built his campaign around the issue of speed cameras and believes he can take the seat of one of the three incumbent delegates, all of whom voted for statewide speed cameras, in the Democratic primary.  One of the incumbents, William Bronrott, was one of the sponsors of the House version of last year’s statewide speed camera bill, is not running for re-election in 2010, and several democratic challengers are seeking to replace him.

Craig Herskowitz, Democratic Candidate for District 16 Delegate
Craig notes on his campaign website that "The speed camera program piloted in Montgomery County has been implemented in a way that denies due process, presumes guilt instead of innocence, and fails to provide immediate and proper notice of the offense. The program infringes on people's civil rights and liberties by automatically placing guilt on the owner of the vehicle and requiring that person to betray a family member or a friend in order to prove his or her innocence. "  His website displays a quote from the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Union, Walter Bader, who said "You can be held more accountable for going 12 miles an hour over the speed limit in Montgomery County than for being a gang member in the country illegally".  Craig has pledged to "protect the rights of motorists" and has placed transportation issues such as traffic congestion among his top priorities.

Craig has posted signs near speed cameras in his district (which includes parts of Potomac, and Chevy Chase, and Bethesda) and also plans to do mailings to voters featuring his position on the speed camera issue.  Craig is calling for those who oppose speed cameras to make matching donations to his campaign ($40 for a speed camera ticket, or $75 for a red light camera ticket).

StopBigBrotherMD is maintaining a Legislative Scorecard on the speed camera issue showing how state lawmakers voted on statewide speed cameras.  We have added the names of challengers, of both parties, for incumbents who voted for speed cameras.  In addition to state lawmakers, the At-Large members of the Montgomery County Council and also the District 1 council member, who have all supported speed cameras, are facing primary challengers.  It is the position of that anyone who opposes speed cameras needs to do so at the ballot box and that they should vote against any incumbent who supported statewide speed cameras, regardless of their opponent's position on speed cameras.  Note that the best way to do this in a primary election is to not vote for ANY incumbent who supported cameras, even if that means voting for fewer candidates than you are permitted to for a particular office; this prevents 'diluting' your anti-camera vote.  Making contributions to a lawmaker who opposed speed cameras, or to the challenger of an incumbent who voted for them, is also an excellent way of fighting back.

Voting in the primaries can be even more important than the general election because fewer voters participate, thus each vote counts for much more.  In some districts Prince George's County, Baltimore City, and parts of Montgomery County many state lawmakers who supported cameras either have no challenger in the general election, or else the overwhelming advantage in party registration numbers makes it virtually impossible for a Republican to challenge a Democratic incumbent in the General election.  Voting in both the general and primary elections, if possible, is critical.

If you don't vote you have no right to complain!