Other activists, such as the Progressive Democrats of America's Arizona coordinator Dan O'Neal and Todd Landfried, host of the lefty KPHX talk-radio show Desert Politics, echoed Prezelski's sentiment.

"People need to be held accountable," explained Landfried. "If you go selling this bill of goods to people, and then nothing happens, why should you keep your job?"

In The Bird's eye, Bivens should be so petrified he's gonna be kicked out come January 24 that he'd be ready to offer up Weeg's noggin à la John the Baptist. In other words, the Dems need to grow some fangs, and be as ruthlessly results-oriented as the Republicans. Or they deserve to keep losing.

PICKAX POLITICS

What's the one issue that could turn this die-hard democratic duck into a full-blown Republican rooster? Photo enforcement, those frickin' speed cameras that are going up willy-nilly all over the state and causing everyone to drive like a bunch of blue-haired biddies.

Folks are so peeved by these Orwellian gadgets that they're doing everything from protesting at the Phoenix offices of the Aussie firm responsible for them, Redflex, to stickering the cameras with Post-it notes, spraying them with Silly String, or taking a pickax to the roadside contraptions, as did Glendale resident Travis Townsend recently, to much applause from this avian and other photo-radar loathers.

The initial opposition to the cameras started with the grassroots organization CameraFraud.com, which itself came out of a monthly meet-up of Ron Paul supporters. That origin probably explains the similarity in CameraFraud.com's homemade, stenciled protest signs and those roadside signs from earlier in the year touting the "Ron Paul Revolution."

This group of assorted Republicans, Libertarians, and Indies has garnered free media from their lively protests, during which at least one of their tribe was collared by the Scottsdale po-po for allegedly blocking a Redflex camera with a sign. Their membership has more than quadrupled in recent weeks from 98 people to 481.

"This is an issue that's going to bring people together instead of dividing them," CameraFraud.com spokesperson D.T. Arneson informed this avian. "We're getting support from everyone from the ACLU on the left to the Minutemen and the Republicans on the right. And probably everyone else in between."

Arneson said his group is currently consulting with lawyers on language for a ballot proposition to ban the cameras. He stated he wouldn't put it past Redflex to try to replicate the recent Payday Loan campaign, which sought to trick people into voting for a pro-Payday Loan prop. Arneson was also wary of the Townsend-pickax story, fearing that Townsend's alleged photo camera-assault would be used to taint CameraFraud.com.

"Thankfully, he's not someone who joined our meet-ups, or anything like that," said Arneson.

All the same, Arneson and his fellow road warriors seem to be winning their PR war against Redflex. Theirs is the go-to site for anyone pissed off at the prospect of receiving a $181 ticket for driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, or those who've already gotten one. And Camerafraud.com's scored informational coups such as posting the 400-plus page contract between Redflex and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. And discovering that a member of Secretary of State Jan Brewer's gubernatorial transition team, Jay Heiler, used to work for Redflex.

The Heiler tidbit raises the question of how the anti-tax-and-spend GOPers are going to deal with the burgeoning citizen revolt over all this oppressive photo enforcement shutterbuggery. Brewer and her fellow pachyderms could score major points across the political spectrum if they ditched photo radar and blamed the whole mess on the DC-bound Napolitano. Hell, such a move might even get this lefty lapwing voting for Brewer in 2010.

A phone call to Brewer's office was not immediately returned. But The Bird did get Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin on the horn. GOPer Martin's been an unflagging opponent of photo enforcement. Before being elected Treasurer in 2006, Martin introduced legislation as a state senator attempting to reign it in and make it more accountable.

"It was never about slowing down speeders or safety," said Martin, referring to the cameras. "It was only about revenue. For example, someone who's driving 110 m.p.h. through six cameras never actually gets stopped. You don't stop the bad behavior. You just take a picture of it."

Martin thinks the money would be better spent putting more DPS officers on patrol, officers who could arrest drunk drivers, and respond to traffic collisions and other emergencies. That would make the freeways safer, he contends.

The State Treasurer also believes the current law authorizing the speed cameras is unconstitutional, as it was essentially a tax increase passed without the required two-thirds vote from the Legislature. Martin has even gone so far as to ask the state's Solicitor General Mary O'Grady to urge state courts to strike down the law.

Martin argues that the law is unfair to those who don't have enough money to pay the tickets, and he insists the effects on tourism will be devastating. Who would want to return to Cactus Country after getting home from a vacay to find a mail box full of Redflex tickets?! Obviously, Martin gets the populist appeal of this issue. But will Brewer?

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8 comments
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Sensible
Sensible

To all the opponents of the speed cameras.

How many times have I heard "If only you traffic cops were out there catching bank robbers and such."

Now they can. So shut the hell up.

dave too
dave too

dec 18th 4pm protest these cameras!!!! come on out, we're doing it for you too.

david cook
david cook

Notice I am NOT david baker. he's a real a hole.!

anyways Thurs at 4pm 12/18 1600 S Longmore Mesa at us 60 come out and protest these stupied Nappy cameras!!1 bring a sign or use one of ours bring the whole family and relatives it will be fun only an hour during rush hour, !! next thin you know the cameras will be taking pictures of our license plates , if the word ARIZONA covered its between 100- and 200$ get that in the mail !! then youll wish youd join us. Public protest be there, ti will be great.!!

Amanda O'Kieffe
Amanda O'Kieffe

Graffiti is nothing more than self expression and these artists are a prime example. We, as a city, need to promote and encourage this type of artwork in Arizona just as we've done with First Fridays.

Mike Amaya
Mike Amaya

I think its about time that Graf artists in AZ get more recognitioon for their work. Seems like any time a citizen hears the word "Graffiti" they think vandalism. That isnt the case. This art form has been recently exploited by major corporations since the 80's, such as McDonalds,CokaCola,and Nike ect.ect. Look at your Verizon telephone. They have wall paper by Keith Harring, hes a graffiti artist or atleast once was. Take a look at the clothes your kids are wearing or look at the shows on Cartoon Network they've all been touched by Graffiti artists! Keep up the good work and continue to give Graffiti art a voice in AZ.

PANCHO VILLA!
PANCHO VILLA!

WHATS SCARY IS THAT YOU DID'NT BOTHER TO READ THE ARTICLE CAREFULLY. HE STATES THAT THEY ARE LEGAL WALLS!!!!! WHAT PART OF LAWLESSNESS IS "LEGAL WALLS?"

SINCERLY, PANCHO VILLAS THE "ILLEGAL" LEGAL!

Eastside
Eastside

What should be distrubing to you is the the Politicians and Racist get away with...Which one are you ?

David Baker
David Baker

Is this Bird twit a supporter of complete lawlessness?!!! He's in favor of graffiti and taking a pickaxe to speed cameras. And I'm guessing he's for legalized pot, prostitution and porno. What a creep. And I see from his past columns he's even pro-illegal alien. Is nothing sacred to this scofflaw? That the New Times lets him get away with this is very disturbing.

 
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