Sunday, November 14, 2010

Big Brother in Denver - My 'Frivolous' Offense

This is a picture of me breaking the law.

In late September, I drove overnight to Denver to catch an early morning flight back east. I arrived at the parking garage for the old Stapleton Airport, which normally serves as a park-n-ride for the RTD Skyride bus to DIA. It's much cheaper than parking anywhere near DIA, and the bus only takes about 20 minutes to get there if it's not rush hour.

To my chagrin, the old location was closed and moved to another location nearby. In trying to follow the signs to the new park-n-ride location, I stopped at this red light beyond the white line. The strobe lights coming from all directions were an immediate indicator of a future issue.

The issue came in the form of a mail notice of violation from the City and County of Denver. The choices were stark and clear; pay a $75 fine, or plead not guilty by appearing at Denver County Court. There were photos from two directions, including close-ups of the plate of my car and me in the driver's seat. There was even a link to video of the egregious violation occurring.
Paging George Orwell...

Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis would just love photo traffic enforcement. There is no discretion for the out-of town traveler who is largely unfamiliar with the local area, a little unsure of where he's going, and who managed to stop at the signal but not within the exact letter of the law, with one other car in the vicinity and no other traffic around in the middle of the night.

I wonder if these facts would classify me as one of Mr. Meis' "responsible majority", who should not bear the brunt of those regulations written for those who are irresponsible; not enlightened, empowered individuals such as Mr. Meis.

With the Sentinel's report today that Mr. Meis may have tried the "Don't you know who I am, and who I know?" ploy on the ranger that cited him, the controversy surrounding his actions has been elevated from the sublime to the ridiculous. By now, it's been well-established that Mr. Meis is a difficult person to work and/or interact with. The impact of this incident on his credibility may indeed be negligible, owing either to his standing on the political side of things, or that he may have very little credibility left.

As for my photo red light ticket? I paid it, of course. What else was I to do? The cost of fuel for the round trip to Denver would have rivaled the fine, and besides, I did what they accused me of, the evidence was clear, and there was likely no 'discretion' forthcoming.

This week I'll be in Denver again, and will get a first-hand look at another intrusive technology that has been making some serious headlines of late. We'll see how it pans out.

Have a good week ahead.

1 comment:

Daryl Branson said...

I probably would have fought it, since you clearly did stop, but of course I don't live as far from Denver as you do. Between gas and food, you could easily have spent close to $75 trying to get out of it.

Concerning the We Won't Fly campaign, I'm not sure I understand why they say not flying will help change the security regulations. "Hitting the airlines in the pocketbooks" seems counterproductive since the TSA is setting the regulations, not the airlines.