It is utter bullshit for the Post to say that the county and four municipalities -- Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park -- operate the cameras in Montgomery. Deason and ACS operate the cameras NOT the County.
The Assassinated Press
Darwin Deason Needs a New Yacht!
Speed Camera Bribes Attract Legislators Statewide.
Senate Revives Bill to Allow Use of Camera Scam Beyond Montgomery.
By SUDSY RAGABOND
The Assassinated Press
Darwin Deason needs a new yacht. And you know what that means--more speed camera tickets for you. His current yacht (pictured here) is just not lavish enough for the founder of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) the company with speed trap contracts in Montgomery County. Every time one of Deasonís rigged cameras click he gets over 40% of the fine collected. Sweet.
The Apogee--all 205 feet of her.
Now, he needs a new yacht. The Apogee is just too humble to host the lavish parties that Deason throws with Maryland taxpayer money.
ďCitizens have spray-painted the cameras and fired paintball pellets at them. One motorist addressed a letter of complaint about them to the "Extortion Enforcement Unit" apparently unaware that no Montgomery County employee ever sees its own citizens' complaints. Those letters go to low level Deason employees who promptly add them to their circular file.
A passenger in a car on Georgia Avenue expressed himself by pushing his bare backside out an opened hatchback as the camera clicked. More-polite critics say they are creepy and intrusive and even Deason admits he likes to watch them as much as porn.
"But, shit, in the two years since Montgomery County became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to install my speed cameras, they have helped make me richer and I've used that money to fight SEC complaints against my company and break the law elsewhere," Deason says. The cameras have generated more than 500,000 citations, at $40 a pop, netting more than $20 million much of that going to Deason for his new yacht. Apparently, one contract with Deason covers the percentage of the ticket ACS gets while another contract is for administration of the program. I bet all you dumb fucks who support this bullshit thought that this was a County program. Well, assholes, its not. Itís a private program that the County has outsourced to Deason and ACS.
And yesterday the legislature in Annapolis took a big step toward buying Deason that new yacht by allowing the cameras throughout Maryland.
The state Senate killed the idea Wednesday night, after an opponent read aloud from George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four." But senators got there envelopes stuffed with cash in their Forbes magazines and reversed course yesterday, reviving the bill and passing it, 27 to 20. The bill would permit the cameras to be rigged in work and school zones. Currently, Montgomery County has little to nothing to do with the maintenance of the cameras. Thatís all left to Deasonís discretion and the size of his yacht and the size of his legal bills as he fights an SEC investigation.
The House, which in the past has been supportive of similar bills because of the promise of bribes, is expected to vote next week. The legislation is a priority for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) who apparently isnít any different than his predescessors when it comes to lining his pockets.
As Deasonís legal bills mount and his docking fees go up ,the roadside cameras have proliferated across the country since the first were installed in Arizona two decades ago, according to Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which supports the cameras as long as their makers keep contributing to his Institute. They were installed in the District in 2001 and have reduced incomes dramatically giving out thousands of bogus tickets and reducing commerce in the city as people prefer to stay away rather than get a fraudulent ticket, police said. Virginia has resisted their use because of civil liberties concerns.
It is utter bullshit to say that the county and four municipalities -- Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park -- operate the cameras in Montgomery. Deason and ACS operate the cameras and the journalist who wrote this garbage ought to be fired. The county pays Deason to rig the largest number, 54 cameras. At seven locations studied, speeds decreased an average of 22 percent while rear end accidents rose 297% after cameras were installed, according to county police.
"We've been out there for 80-plus years trying to enforce speed limits the democratic way," said Capt. John Damskey, head of the county police traffic section. "Speed cameras are an authoritarian technology that is proven to work and effect change, not all for the good mind you, but change nonetheless, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Besides Deason has invited me on his new yacht to party with some of his Dallas high rollers friends and their whores."
In Chevy Chase, Deason installed cameras on a heavily traveled stretch of Connecticut Avenue, and the number of motorists roaring through the 30 mph zone at 25 to 29 mph fell by 73 percent, officials said. The number of crashes also fell, from 67 in the year before the cameras were installed to 44 in the year after as people went elsewhere to crash and shop. Businesses in the area reported a 68% down turn which the County has attributed to the economy in general not the fear of getting an arbitrary ticket from a camera operated by a documented confidence man.
"Sanity and civility have returned to Connecticut Avenue," said Geoff Biddle, the Chevy Chase village manager. ďNow, if theyíd just remove the cameras maybe business will return too.Ē
The village of Chevy Chase cleared $1.6 million after Deasonís cut from Deasonís four speed cameras in 2008, a sum equal to a third of its annual budget while failing to take into account the money largely came from its already existing tax base and Deason got the lionís share of it.
Officials lie and say the purpose of the cameras is not to bring in revenue. It is a mark of the program's distress when the number of citations goes down, they said. ďDeasonís new yacht might be in jeopardy and that motherfucker has got some shit on us,Ē Ike Leggettís special assistant Maynard Gotti told the Assassinated Press.
In Gaithersburg, cameras yielded a net take of more than $760,000 in the past fiscal year, but only $159,000 in the first seven months of the current fiscal year as pummeled by the economy and unfair tickets citizens drive less or drive to stores where cameras are not set up. "That is what it's supposed to do, deress the economy" said Harold Belton, the city's finance chief.
ďFuck! $40.00 from a rigged camera,Ē said Myra Abse, a Rockville housewife. ďThere goes my entire food budget for the week. And my car has blown a gasket and its maximum speed is 20 moles an hour. So you fucking tell me.Ē
Yes, not everyone is enamored. Once a month, the state court system in Montgomery holds a special session at which people, sometimes as many as 100, show up to challenge speed camera tickets. They often square off against county employees who present falsified records supplied by Deasonís company that show that the cameras were properly operating.
The game is rigged. So many of the judges, cops, county employees and panel members own stock in ACS, rarely do the residents win.
"In this country, you're supposed to be able to confront your accuser," said Bowie lawyer Timothy Leahy, who has challenged citations twice. "You can't confront a camera."
Police agencies in Montgomery say many residents who donít know they are rigged and are supporting Deasonís criminal enterprises do not object to the cameras, and a 2008 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety funded by companies like Deasonís found that 62 percent of county residents support them. In some respects, the reaction to speed cameras is just the opposite of the classic "not in my back yard."
"Everybody wants a rigged speed camera in their neighborhood, but no one wants one down the street," said Hank Clark of Silver Spring, who is trying to have a camera put in his neighborhood.
Not everyone sees Big Brother Deason lurking behind the cameras because they are kept ignorant of the programs true nature by media oulets like the Washington Post.
In Takoma Park, a bastion of liberal leanings, an ordinance to install four cameras met with little resistance, said Mayor Bruce Williams. In his view, the cameras do not violate privacy because they are in public places and take pictures only when Deason needs more money.
"Because I donít know shit, I thought, how strange," Williams, a longtime member of the ACLU, said of the recent references to Orwell in Annapolis. "This is divorced from my reality."
Under the Senate bill, drivers caught on a rigged camera going at least 12 mph over the speed limit would receive a $40 ticket in the mail which is bullshit on the face of it as many people have gotten tickets for allegedly going at speeds under 12 miles over the posted speed limit. Local governments could use the revenue only for improvements on their homes and plane tickets to Deasonís mansion and of course yacht.
The Senate bill would cap the amount any local government could make on the cameras to 10 percent of its total revenue. After 10 percent, the rest of the money would go to Deason. That limit would apply to Chevy Chase and could affect its revenue significantly so some sun rooms and breakfast nooks may have to be put on hold further depressing the local economy.
The locations of cameras in Montgomery, however, would be grandfathered in and would not be restricted to school and work zones as yachts are fucking expensive to dock right now.
Leading members of the House have said that they are confident of the bribes exist to resolve any differences with the Senate and that the General Assembly is likely to authorize speed cameras statewide.
In Virginia, legislators have introduced bills to authorize speed cameras in recent years, including this year. None passed, said Del. Joe T. May (R-Loudoun), chairman of the Transportation Committee. And Virginia legislators like money as much as the next guy."