The parking system is no charity10/9/2013
Two quotes by Des Moines traffic facilities administrator Michael Berry, in the cover article “Towed” (Oct. 3) interested me: “Parking is an enterprise system similar to a non-profit,” and “Parking is not a way to generate revenue.”
I usually get a little nervous when a government official tells me that when they are collecting money that it, “…is not a way to generate revenue.”
When he makes this comparison to non-profits, does he mean those nonprofits like the Salvation Army that work relative miracles on a shoestring budget with management teams that take little more salary than the average employees? Or does he mean nonprofits that are some of the biggest landholders in Iowa and have management teams with salaries that would make an MBA graduate blush?
Don’t get me wrong. I am a private-sector, spend-less-than-you-make-invest-for-the-future kind of guy. Just don’t use the term nonprofit as a shield that whatever is done under it is always virtuous and should be immune from fair critique.Mike Rowley –Clive
Traffic light cameras just for cities to make money
I have been caught at a red light, and it’s funny how short the yellow light is on these intersections compared to others. I have never caused an accident or been in a traffic accident and consider myself a safe driver, yet because I made it late through the light — and I’m talking split seconds here — I got an $80 ticket. Trying to make safe drivers by using cameras is like trying to prevent a crime by imposing a huge penalty, it just doesn’t work. If cities really want to improve traffic safety they need to get on board and hire traffic engineers to improve stop light efficiency, waiting on a red light for two minutes when there is no cross traffic is ridiculous. Des Moines and surrounding suburbs have a long way to go on this one. And how about synchronizing stop lights along major thoroughfares? I don’t think anyone has even thought about this one. The traffic in this metro area moves way too slow. People have better things to do than wait at a light with no traffic, and it will make the roads safer because you don’t have to cheat to get to where you’re going. If you really want to improve traffic safety, go after those who text on their phones. It’s only going to get worse.Blas Hernandez –Urbandale
CORRECTIONS: The $6,537.44 Polk County paid to Illinois-based Central Salt (Money Oct. 3) was for the purchase of more than 100 tons of bulk de-icing salt as opposed to 100 pounds, and the $8,006 the county paid to Collette Vacations was for people to take an Irish Splendor trip to Ireland not to Pawtucket, R.I. Rhode Island is the location for Collette Vacations Company.
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