I used to think rather highly of Mayor Bill White. He showed leadership in a number of high-stress situations during his time in office, but he finally exhibited a crass dishonesty in an area where honesty is in very short supply among politicians; money-making scams by City Hall. A couple years ago, Houston began putting in red light cameras at dozens of intersections around town; 50 cameras at first followed by another 20 soon afterwards. Despite complaints and warnings that other cities had found problems with the cameras, Mayor White assured citizens that the lights would make driving safer and lower accidents.
Well folks, he was wrong. The City of Houston paid for a study on the results of the cameras, which they promptly buried for several months, until a pair of lawyers sued for its release.
As you might have guessed, it turns out that red light cameras in Houston don’t reduce accidents. The study discovered that after installation of red light cameras, accidents at those intersections more than doubled in the next year.
Now, most of us would expect the good mayor to admit that the cameras were a bad idea, maybe try to back off this bad idea. But not Bill White. This guy actually insisted that the cameras were working, claiming that the rest of the city was actually having even more accidents and that putting these cameras in reduced the accidents at those intersections! Remember, the study showed that accidents at those intersections more than doubled, so Mayor White is trying to claim that the entire city has seen accidents skyrocket by even more than that rate. Problem is, there’s not a lick of evidence to support that claim – in fact, the guy who was hired to produce that study for the mayor, Bob Stein, “acknowledged that data from the Houston Police Department shows accidents have declined in the city since 2004“.
White should just admit that he was lying the first time he pushed to have red light cameras installed to bring in more money without paying for more police. Instead he followed it with an even more stupid and obvious lie.