Big Brother is watching…er…sweeping you.

Mayor Daley, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that the fair citizens of Chicago aren’t being ticketed efficiently enough. He feels so passionate and determined to keep the streets of Chicago clean. No, no, not from violence…no not crime either. Daley wants to keep the streets clean…literally, like with brooms and brushes and stuff. So deep does this passion run, he’s awarded a $7.2 million dollar contract to install cameras on city street sweepers to better ticket those people who don’t move their cars on designated days.

Here’s how the Sun-Times starts off their article, in what seems like a way to justify this decision.

Red light cameras have reduced accidents and raked in millions of dollars at 69 Chicago intersections, with 60 more planned this year and 220 more by 2012.

It only makes sense to put video surveillance to work on street sweepers and snow plows to replace the primitive system Chicago has used for decades

I’ll get to the first highlight in bold in a bit, but first I’d like to draw attention to the second bold section. It only makes sense because…it will reduce street-sweeper accidents? No no, it makes sense because it will help rake in millions. Apparently the current practice of putting up temporary flyers warning people that a cleaning day is coming isn’t efficient enough, and the city wants their money. However, the city denies this.

“Just think. You have someone put up the [temporary] sign and take the sign down. That’s No. 1. Then, you have to have someone go out there to [write] the ticket. Or, you don’t clean most of the street because you’re going around” illegally parked cars, Daley said.

With surveillance cameras, “It’s cheaper. It’s easier. … They’ll be able to take a picture and, automatically, send a ticket to ’em.”

Honestly mayor? It’s easier and cheaper than $7.2 million dollars? I have my doubts. For most people, they probably don’t even realize this happens as they take their cars to work in the morning and don’t return until the evening. However, for those of us who live in the city, or take public transportation to work, it’s a HUGE pain in the ass.

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Mike Picardi added, “We’re not out there trying to generate revenue. We’re trying to clean curb lanes. If you live on a block, nobody moves their car and the sweeper goes by that day, that curb lane is gonna be dirty for the next two months until we get back there again.”

I’m gonna go ahead and call bullshit on this one. This is ALL about revenue. Each ticket is 50$ and I’m willing to bet that in my neighborhood there’s an average of at least 5 cars with a ticket per section of street. That’s $1000 per minor block ($250 x 4 sides). I just looked at the major block I live in, and there are 28 minor blocks. That’s $28,000 dollars!!!! Just for one major block!!!! If you ever wonder how cities generate cash flow, here’s a huge part of it.

The funny thing is, not all the streets are cleaned every time. If there are too many cars parked in the street it gets skipped over. I don’t see people irate about their streets not being cleaned, I see them more irate that they have to find a parking space for their car (which is incredibly hard to do on these days).

Pretty unimportant and insignificant to most of you, but it’s been a personal pet peeve of mine since I started living here. Maybe I’m the only one who finds it post-worthy, but hey, it’s my blog, and I’ll do what I want to.

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One Response to Big Brother is watching…er…sweeping you.

  1. Natalie says:

    I found the quotes hysterical! And, Daley and his peers said these comments with a straight face? Just how freaking stupid are we, anyway? I’m sure there are “those” out there that have the fairy tale notion that Daley just wants to do some good for the city…keep it “green” or what have you. Frankly, the commissioner couldn’t be more translucent; his intentions are plainly, and overtly, stated in his denial. If they are trying to hide their scheme, they aren’t doing a good job of it. Hmmm….politicians that are bad liars…..interesting.

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