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presstalk 671-TALK

• If they want to fix the red-light problem, then put a green right-turn arrow on the red lights so everyone knows. If we’re going to take the discretion away from the driver to make a right turn on red when it’s clear, then we do away with the right turn on red altogether, make it a state-sponsored legislative piece that says nobody turns right on red, so that way they know to stop on red. Then put a right turn green arrow so it helps us, rather than catching us all the time for a revenue-raiser. We see right through it, and it needs to be dealt with. And it will be.

Editor’s Note: Vehicles are allowed to make a right turn on red after coming to a full stop. Those who have been issued citations turned right on red without coming to a full stop.

• I’d just like to say to the writers who have been commenting on the term “flea market” in France that, in fact, you know, the fleas in France are much more respectable than they are here in the United States. It’s really from your point of cultural reference; those folks over there, they eat snails over there. So when we look at what a flea would be in the United States, it might be something low-class, but in France, in fact, fleas are very high class. Just like snails.

• I cannot understand in the farragutpress traffic cameras, a $50 fine and $55 court cost. Why is the court cost so high? Is this because the judge is getting $27.50 and [Photo Enforcement manager Ben] Harkins is getting $27.50? If this is the case, they are getting a lot of money and could be splitting this with someone else. Plus, the $50 fine: where is it going? We understood this to be going to charity. Is anyone wondering why there are so many empty buildings in Farragut? This does not do much for “shop Farragut.” We are now going around the red lights to shop on Parkside Drive and the big discount store for groceries, medicine and other items we need. Farragut is trying to do away with our law enforcement. This is their job. I wonder if they would be ticketed for running a red light, or an ambulance or a fire truck. Do away with these cameras and it will get people coming back to Farragut and some new stores opening.

Editor’s Note: Judge Jerry Martin makes $100 a month, and holds court twice a month for red-light tickets and additional times for civil citations and such. Ben Harkins is a part-time employee of the Town. In the breakdown for ticket revenue of the $50 fine, money is split between the Town and Redflex, the owners of the red-light equipment, dependent on how many tickets each camera issues. If there are more than 151 citations at a camera in a month, the Town receives $32 per ticket; if there are between 101 and 150, the Town receives $25; and if there are less than 100, the Town receives $10.50. The revenue received by the Town from red-light citation fines is deposited into the general fund and currently is not appropriated.

• Yes, I’m calling with a comment about the revenue [automated enforcement “red light”] cameras most people in Farragut are against, and believe me, they are against them. The comment I wanted to make is, I wanted to tell you a story about an interesting incident that I watched play out a couple different nights. One night, I was coming home from work and stopped at the red light at Campbell Station [Road] and Kingston Pike, and a fire truck came out of the fire station there on Campbell Station Road and came towards Kingston Pike. [It] of course had to go through the red light, responding to an emergency, and the revenue camera flashed and took a nice picture of the license on the back of the fire truck. One could only hope that the firemen wouldn’t be charged. Then the next night, at the very same time of day, at the very same intersection, I saw the light turn red, someone ran the red light big as day, and the revenue camera did not flash. So one could only assume that that driver made it through the red light scott free. So my concern is, there certainly seems to be some inconsistency built in with the system, and I think that would be cause for concern for any drivers in the Farragut area.

Editor’s Note: Ben Harkins has said in the past that emergency vehicles responding to an accident would not be ticketed, nor would other vehicles that had to move into the intersection to get out of their way.

• Yes, I’d like to say I have the [inaudible] that Lyn Bales is back into the paper. It was such a joy just to open the paper and see his face and get to see something back [about] the animals in the farragutpress, and not to just hear about the red lights and the other stuff that is such a bore. Something happy, just to see his face. Tell him we are happy to have him back. Thank you very much.

• This is to the male traffic cop who directs traffic at the four-way stop at Farragut schools. We parents could really do without your immature gesturing, your eye-rolling and generally lousy attitude. We get enough of that from our kids. If you really hate your job so much, find something else to do and stop being a poor example to our children. Remember, we taxpayers are the ones who are paying you to serve and protect. And after all, is it really necessary to pay two officers to do this job every day when it should be handled by one?

• Via e-mail: I would like to say THANK YOU to a very kind family that we (my family) recently came in contact with. Our family dog got away from us on Feb. 18 in the evening. We looked until dark to find him but we were not successful. I started posting lost ads the next morning when I came across an ad for a lost white lab. I knew it was our dog, so I e-mailed the person and she quickly called me and asked me questions about the dog and even sent me a picture message. I identified the dog as ours, she told me her daughter would be home at noon and I was welcome to pick him up at that time. We were so grateful that this family took the time to post ads and even made signs, e-mailed all their neighbors and hung them in several neighborhoods ... most people would not take the time to do any of these things. It was such a great thing they did for our family and I just wanted to let them know their actions were truly appreciated. My sons were very HAPPY to see him when they got home from school! This family went well beyond to help our dog and we want them to know how great it was of them. Thanks Again!

• Via e-mail: To the person asking about the white birds near the waters of Turkey Creek, These are gulls and they are migrating. They are here this winter in larger numbers because the health of the creek is improving and there are more fish in the creek. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they pose a health risk.

• Via e-mail: This is in response to the person who expressed an interest in “getting the Farragut neighborhood high school children back into [Farragut High School].” The School Board decided that the rezoned areas could not attend FHS. [Hardin Valley Academy] is at its maximum, but that is the way it was designed — to reduce the load on FHS. The students at HVA seem to be adjusting well, why in the world would they want to be rezoned BACK to FHS? When the person said “move our kids back to where they belong” — they now belong where they have made friends, joined clubs, sports, band, etc. This person does not speak for me or many in my rezoned neighborhood that are extremely happy with HVA.

• Via e-mail: Thank you to the person who reminded the citizens of Farragut in last week’s presstalk that there are people out there WALKING on Farragut’s streets — admittedly not very many. With people making right turns without looking, walking can be quite dangerous, and I would like to add, riding a bike even more so. The red-light cameras will hopefully educate people to pay more attention to oncoming bikers and walkers that have the right-of-way, so that walkers and bikers won’t need to be afraid anymore to be knocked over by inconsiderate drivers making right turns. Hopefully, when there will finally be proper biking and walking paths on both sides of Kingston Pike, more people will take the opportunity to get around in a healthier way, and enjoy the respect of motorists, too.

• Via e-mail: If those proponents of the red-light cameras want technology to take over all of your thinking as it has apparently done in the fast food industry when handing a worker correct change and watching them go into brain lock trying to figure out math in their head, then I am going to lobby our state politicians to do away with right on red altogether and put green right turn arrows on all red lights as they do left turn signals. This way everyone can be clear on when it’s safe to turn and we can be aided by technology instead of penalized by it. Maybe you will have a light that goes off on your refrigerator every time you try to overeat and you can pay a fine because of the enormous cost these people think they incur by others on healthcare. Big brother keeps getting bigger. Be careful what you ask for, people!!!!

Editor’s Note: The law is clear — a right-hand turn on red is permissible after coming to a complete stop unless the intersection is posted for no turns on red.

• Via e-mail: How much less do I revere my UT degree now that Al Gore will be given an honorary degree? A lot!


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