Welcome to NewRomeSucks.com!
It's been almost a decade since New Rome, Ohio was dissolved irrevocably into Franklin County's Prairie Township.
For an excellent long version of the story that Car & Driver did at the time, click here.
The short story is, people were finally fed up with an abusive little "village" that was run by family and friends continually appointing themselves to village positions. We believe that this website was the impetus for change. NewRomeSucks.com became a clearinghouse for residents to share their "Tales of Woe". New Rome soon garnered national media attention, and were featured in a 20/20 piece by John Stossel, and in articles in USA Today, the LA Times, among others.
A local businessman, Jamie Mueller won election as Mayor of New Rome on a platform to dissolve the village. A special election was held on February 4, 2003, and New Rome voted to remain independent.
To pick up where the Car & Driver article ends, New Rome's reprieve was unsustainable, as Ohio legislatures lost their patience with New Rome. They enacted House Bill 24, which allows the state to dissolve a village with fewer than 150 people and "less than two square miles" if it suffers from fiscal or election difficulties. Within two months, State Auditor Jim Petro filed suit to dissolve the village. Judge David Cain upheld the new law, and absent of an appeal, New Rome ceased to exist as a village on September 9th, 2004.
To see the NewRomeSucks.com archive, click here. Please note, many links are now broken but the majority of the site remains intact.
Why are we back?
The past decade has seen the rise of photo enforcement. While Cincinnati banned photo enforcement by public vote, the remainder of Ohio's largest cities, along with some smaller cities and villages have red-light and/or speed enforcement installations. We have begun targeted mailings to leaders and business owners in municipalities that have or are considering photo enforcement. Our mission is to educate the public regarding the downsides of photo enforcement.
Is photo enforcement under fire in Ohio?
Yes. There are multiple lawsuits centering on the handling of photo tickets in civil vs. municipal court. Some of the suits are heading to the Ohio Supreme Court. (Elmwood Place, Toledo, Columbus and Cleveland). Elmwood Place's program was shut down when the equipment was confiscated by the court. The other programs remain in place.
In addition, the Ohio House passed HB 69 last year to ban photo enforcement statewide. Since the bill has yet to receive a hearing in the Senate, we're asking you contact your State Senator to support HB 69's passage in its original form.
Why should photo enforcement be abolished?
1. Traffic laws are decriminalized. The camera vendors coach their customers to enact ordinances that treat what are normally criminal offenses as civil infractions. This lowers the burden of proof and bypasses due process requirements required for criminal charges. While they tout this as a benefit (no points, no insurance increases), the flip side is there are no escalating penalties to remove truly dangerous drivers from the road. This issue has led to lawsuits, and a recent ruling that Cleveland's red-light camera program is unconstitutional. A similar ruling was made by another appeals court in Toledo. In Columbus, you must pay the fine ($95) prior to getting a hearing.
2. Traffic violations are monetized. Photo enforcement vendors are for-profit corporations, all from out-of-state and some from offshore. Some are publically traded, and they all require violations to occur in large numbers forever to survive. They have no interest in correcting underlying engineering issues that often exist at intersections. Redflex's Annual Report includes the phrase "recurring revenue" four times.
3. Photo enforcement vendors have questionable ethics. When municipalities outsource their traffic enforcement, big money is involved. This can breed an atmosphere for corruption. In Chicago for example, its vendor Redflex (who also serves the Columbus and Toledo installations), was FIRED last year after a $2 million bribery scandal erupted. For more information, see this excellent Chicago Tribune series.
Follow the money. In Ohio, Redflex has contributed about $136,000 to "Safe Ohio Roads", which is a fake "grass roots" organization to promote laws favorable to photo enforcement activities.
Yellow light timing is another sneaky way the camera vendors use to increase violations. This has happened in various municipalities, but the situation in Florida seems to be most egregious.
4. Photo enforcement has questionable effectiveness. Studies vary wildly. One study will show effectiveness, the next won't. One city claims they reduce collisions, the next will drop their contract citing no meaningful reduction, or even an increase in rear-end collisions. Columbus, for example states they have huge reductions in collisions they attribute to red-light cameras. However, they fail to mention that Ohio State law requires an extra second of yellow light at photo enforced intersections. See ORC 4511.094 The question becomes, if a motorist is so stupid, stoned, sloshed, senile or sleepy to run a red light, will a camera prevent it?
5. The majority of tickets are for minor infractions. If you eliminated all the split-second red-light violations that occur when a motorist is faced with the quick decision "is it safer to go or stop", along with all the creeping right-turn on red violations, the infrastructure required to sustain red-light camera installations would not be profitable. There's a lot of material on this subject, a good summary is here.
newromesucks (at) gmail.com