For all you Republicans out there hoping that a new governor means the end of Janet Napolitano's highly irritating plot to balance the state budget by putting photo enforcement cameras everywhere, we have a little warning for you: Don't get your hopes up.
We couldn't help but notice that, like President-Elect Barack Obama, Governor-Not-Quite-Elect Jan Brewer has stocked her transition team with a fair amount of lobbyists. That includes Connie Wilhelm, the powerhouse leading the highly influential team at Central Phoenix home builders association, and Chuck Coughlin, who's lobbied for everything from Lockheed Martin to Tucson Greyhound Park.
But what may prove most worrisome to conservatives who dread the presence of Big Brother is Jay Heiler, pictured above. Don't get us wrong; Heiler, former chief of staff to Fife Symington, is a true blue Republican and (in our dealings, at least) a truly nice guy. But he also happens to be the "director of governmental affairs" for Redflex Traffic Systems, the Scottsdale-based company charged with operating the state's photo enforcement program.
Heiler is not a registered lobbyist for Redflex, according to state records. But he does appear in the company's proposal filed with the Department of Public Safety, and he's been quoted as a company spokesman in previous Arizona Republic stories. And what does "director of governmental affairs" possibly mean other than "I know how to charm politicians into believing in photo enforcement"? Call us cynical, but really ...
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Of course, Redflex has a two-year contract with DPS to provide the speed cameras, so Brewer wouldn't necessarily be able to take action on the $20 million program even if she wants to. But based on the chatter we're hearing, plenty of inveterate speeders are still holding out hope -- and hoping that Heiler's company can be stopped. -- Sarah Fenske