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posted: 1/28/2014 5:00 AM

'Gotcha' cameras reason to stay clear of Palatine

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Recently while driving on Rand Road in Palatine, I made a perfectly safe right turn on red onto Hicks Road, which was clear of cross traffic. A few days later I learned that my turn was illegal as judged by a recording camera with millisecond timer and pictured on a violation notice.

I am 77 years old with a clean driving record for the past 60 years but my "gotcha" camera citation says I owe $100 for an illegal turn. That's highway robbery.

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Information on the violation notice wasn't fully clear to me, so I opted for a hearing at the Palatine village hall. Along with about 40 other folks, I listened to the hearing officer's opening remarks and viewed a video promoting the camera program as strictly for driver safety. After viewing recordings of several cases we soon learned that the odds were stacked against us and our wallets would be emptied.

What we viewed was about money, not safety. Someone asked, how about $25 for a first offense? The reply: "State law determined the fine, and if you don't like it, write your legislator." The hearing officer had all the answers and almost no one escaped their $100 fine.

This is a state program, but Palatine opted into it and their coffers are surely being filled with money from these hefty fines. I like Palatine; many friends and relatives live there, my dentist is there, the food and beverages are great at their restaurants and summertime events. My family and I patronize many Palatine retailers. Much of that will change now that I know Palatine has traffic cameras and is so flush with money from the fines that they don't need any more of mine.

Thank you, Mount Prospect, for having no "gotcha" cameras.

Ron Hulka

Mount Prospect

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