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Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.
More tickets. That’s the answer to the Big 3’s financial problems. If you missed it late yesterday, Ron Gettelfinger, the man pulling the strings for Big Labor as they attempt to extort another $25 billion from Congress said the problem with Detroit’s autos isn’t that their employees make, on average, about $45 an hour (all in) more than the average Michigan / American worker, it’s that the “economy” is in rough shape.
Now if I could only put my finger on the why… but I digress… back to tickets. The Detroit News managed to get some law enforcement folks on the record admitting what we’ve known for approximately forever… those speed traps and big dollar tickets for petty infractions aren’t about safe streets, they’re about making bank.
“When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement,” Utica Police Chief Michael Reaves said. “But if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues. That’s just the reality nowadays.”
A Detroit News analysis of court and police records from 2002-07 shows many Metro Detroit police departments have drastically increased the number of moving violations issued in what some people say is an effort to offset budget shortfalls caused by the sluggish economy.
Complain all you’d like, but rules are rules and these fees are, technically, avoidable. Admittedly, it gets difficult when you get a big dollar “5 mph over” citation because your cruise control wasn’t precise enough and you were clocked doing 71 in a 70. And it’s even tougher when a Lansing officer cites you for speeding because when she passed you driving the other way she noticed your brake lights flashed for a second. Oh, and then there’s the “failure to stop” when you’re the 7th car in a 9 car pile-up and your dream car has already been reduced to a pile of smoking rubble. …Rassa-frassa-stupid-frassa… I’m sorry, what were we talking about?
Oh, right, saving the economy through creative law enforcement.
Course, saving the Big 3 would take a LOT of tickets, though it might be their only option. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Big Labor’s lap dogs in Congress aren’t going to get the job done, despite an overwhelming majority in both the House and the Senate. The Associated Press reports:
Hardline opponents of an auto industry bailout branded the industry a “dinosaur” whose “day of reckoning” is near, while Democrats pledged Sunday to do their best to get Detroit a slice of the $700 billion Wall Street rescue in this week’s lame-duck session of Congress.
…Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky questioned whether there was sufficient Democratic support for an auto bailout in a statement released Sunday.
“The silence from the Democrat rank and file on this matter has been deafening,” McConnell said.
That first sentence is a trip. “Hardline opponents” v. “Democrats.” I guess the implication is that Republicans are mean and ornery and only drive Audis. What the AP can’t be bothered to mention is that the Big 3’s biggest defender has for years been a certain Congressional Democrat from Michigan whose chairmanship is under attack from the California Dems who run the show in Washington, DC. The Dems control Congress, the Dems hold the keys to getting anything and everything done and the Dems are trying to sweep from power the one Democrat who has for years tried to protect Detroit. But forget about all of that, it doesn’t fit that hallowed media template… hardliners opponents v benevolent Democrats. Who seem to have “Epic Fail!” written across their foreheads.
Heck, President Bush and the White House have even offered the Big 3 $25 billion to address their cash crunch! Congress approved the exact same amount of cash earlier this cycle to help the autos greenify (that isn’t a word but it should be) and the Republican administration offered to switch around the funding provisions so they could use it to save their companies. Tough to greenify if you don’t exist, right? Alas, the same Democrats who refuse to bail out the Big 3 with new cash also refuse to reallocate existing cash.
Maybe they’re hoping for a few extra speed traps too. Oh, and if they are, they should check in with the Detroit Public School system. Turns out they’ve got two full-time (and overtime) police officers running around town and carrying bags for the superintendent. I know, Democrats in Detroit wasting taxpayer money. You’re shocked. According to the Ivory Tower:
The DPS superintendent’s security unit was cut from a 24-hour detail after the end of the state takeover in 2005, but it still appears to be the most extensive in the country. It exceeds that of school leaders in districts four to eleven times larger than DPS such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, officials in those cities said.
Currently, DPS provides Calloway two officers who — according to documents obtained by the Free Press — receive about $95,000 a year combined in base pay. Those officers also incurred more than 400 hours of overtime, totaling $13,803 during a period of about two months, from July 1 to Sept. 5, records show…
(Previous) officers were reassigned about two months after Calloway’s arrival in July 2007. The transfers were due to personality conflicts and because the cops refused to carry Calloway’s handbag, according to district sources who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to talk about her security.
The implication, the new police officers don’t have a problem carrying Madame’s bags.
And to think, they’re toting luggage when they could be manning a radar gun to save the domestic auto industry. Guess Detroit has no one to blame but itself… oh, and “the economy,” right Ron?