Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Florida quietly shortened yellow light standards & lengths, resulting in more red light camera tickets for you
A subtle, but significant tweak to Florida’s rules regarding traffic signals has allowed local cities and counties to shorten yellow light intervals, resulting in millions of dollars in additional red light camera fines.
The 10 News Investigators discovered the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) quietly changed the state’s policy on yellow intervals in 2011, reducing the minimum below federal recommendations. The rule change was followed by engineers, both from FDOT and local municipalities, collaborating to shorten the length of yellow lights at key intersections, specifically those with red light cameras (RLCs).
While yellow light times were reduced by mere fractions of a second, research indicates a half-second reduction in the interval can double the number of RLC citations — and the revenue they create. The 10 News investigation stemmed from a December discovery of a dangerously short yellow light in Hernando County. After the story aired, the county promised to re-time all of its intersections, and the 10 News Investigators promised to dig into yellow light timing all across Tampa Bay.
Red light cameras generated more than $100 million in revenue last year in approximately 70 Florida communities, with 52.5 percent of the revenue going to the state. The rest is divided by cities, counties, and the camera companies. In 2013, the cameras are on pace to generate $120 million.
“Red light cameras are a for-profit business between cities and camera companies and the state,” said James Walker, executive director of the nonprofit National Motorists Association. “The (FDOT rule-change) was done, I believe, deliberately in order that more tickets would be given with yellows set deliberately too short.”
Monday, May 6, 2013
A provision in Florida law that would have significantly scaled back the power and means of local governments like Palm Coast to issue red-light camera violations was replaced this week with provisions that do the reverse.
A bill that cleared the House and Senate in the final days of the legislative session vastly increases the power of local governments to issue red-light camera violations. It discourages people accused of running red lights from challenging their ticket by increasing their fine 158 to $406 should they contest and lose. It eliminates the independent court magistrate who presides over hearings, replacing that magistrate with an appointee of the local government using the cameras, such as a code enforcement board or its designee. And anyone who doesn’t pay a ticket after being found guilty will have his or her next car registration renewal suspended until the penalty is paid.
Friday, April 12, 2013
As students are receiving offers from colleges to be a part of their incoming class of 2017, it only makes sense that we talk about some outstanding institutions. Though your parents and loved ones may only want you going to an Ivy League school, there are many great reasons to make the decision to go elsewhere.
For instance, the cost of tuition may make you think that a school will eventually get you a high paying job but that is not always the case. Also, schools with high freshmen retention rates and high graduation rates often reflect a great support system within the school. These are important things to consider, rather than just school prestige.
Consider this a guide to a few colleges that can be just as competitive as the Ivy Leagues. This list is in no order and is in no way a definitive list but hopefully it can help some parents and students in teaching them which data is important to consider in this huge decision.
2. University of Florida
Friday, April 5, 2013
A gun maker, specializing in so-called assault weapons, has decided to come to Palm Bay despite not receiving incentives to locate there.
The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast announced this morning that I.O. Inc., a North Carolina-based firearms manufacturer, is relocating to Palm Bay purchasing a 51,000-square-foot building that will create at least 53 jobs.
The company plans to invest nearly $2 million in capital expenditures, including nearly $700,000 in equipment.
The EDC worked with I.O. Inc. for more than a year, managing the site selection process and offering detailed wage and tax analyses while identifying property options that led to the decision to relocate to Palm Bay.
The new operation will allow I.O. Inc. to implement its targeted sales increase initiative, taking annual sales from $10 million in 2012 to $16.8 million by 2014, I.O. President Uli Wiegand said in a statement.
“With the specialized processes involved in our operations, we needed a site and a community that allowed us to achieve our growth goals,” Wiegand said. “The EDC made clear that the Space Coast offered both of those attributes: an excellent and flexible industrial property base and a workforce and technological climate that fit our needs perfectly.”
The jobs will average over $43,000 annually and be created over the next year, with positions in assembly, machining and mechanical engineering. At full employment, I.O.’s annual economic impact will be more than $2.2 million.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
The Generally Pro-Carry Supermajority was lost in the FL House and reduced in the FL Senate as we face challenges to Florida’s Self-Defense and Right to Carry laws in the next legislative session.
Two articles from Sunshine State News provide some insight on the State races.
Generally pro-gun but anti-open carry State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale) was defeated by rabidly anti-gun/anti-self-defense State Sen. Maria Sachs (D-Boca Raton).
State Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary), who sponsored Campus Carry and Open Carry legislation in 2011 and is in line to become House Speaker, is currently 37 votes behind his anti-gun challenger Mike Clelland (D) who wants to make it illegal to purchase ammunition in quantity or via the internet and has decried the private ownership of “Assault Weapons” and “Large Clips”.