Red Light Rahm doesn't let traffic rules get in his way
“Rules are for little people” seems to be the motto of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at least when those rules pertain to traffic. WLS in Chicago reports:
Red lights? Speed limits? They're apparently not a problem if you are driving the mayor of the city of Chicago.
Despite Rahm Emanuel's contention that red light and speed cameras are "all about safety," the ABC7 Eyewitness News I-Team learned those same cameras regularly catch the mayor's motorcade running red and speeding.
The city's website catalogs all red light and speed camera violations regardless of who you are.
The I-Team ran the plates of the two city vehicles in which Emanuel is chauffeured around Chicago.
Since 2012, the cameras have caught the mayor's motorcade speeding near schools and parks or running red lights nearly two dozen times.
When other people’s behavior is at issue, Rahm is a hard liner:
"This is supposed to work as a deterrent," Emanuel said in Nov. 2011.
The cameras may deter drivers worried about steep fines but ABC7 Eyewitness News has found they're not slowing down Emanuel's security detail.
The mayor rides around Chicago in a two-car convoy, and 20 times in less than two-and-a-half years city cameras have caught the vehicles running red or speeding through the very school and park areas the cameras were meant to protect.
In February, cameras caught both of the mayor's vehicles speeding near Gompers Park. They were going more than 10 miles per hour over the limit.
The next month, a camera clocked one of the SUVs driving with its police lights on, going 18 miles an hour over the speed limit in a school zone. The mayor wasn't even in town that day. He was down in Texas at the South by Southwest Festival.
Enforcement is something else that is for the little people:
On three occasions the mayor's convoy had so many unpaid tickets, city computers flagged the vehicles for seizure.
That's right: City records reveal the mayor's vehicles were eligible for "the Boot." (snip)
The city's website shows all of the tickets were "dismissed." No one paid a dime in fines.
If you racked up the same amount of violations: it would've cost you at least $1,700, more if you got booted.
But don’t worry. Now that he has been embarrassed, the mayor vows to have his drivers obey the rules.
Update from WLS:
Monday night, City Hall is changing its tune, no longer saying "only" police vehicles responding to emergencies or conducting investigations have the right to run red.
Now a city spokesman says ALL Chicago police vehicles automatically have their tickets tossed out, regardless of whether they were responding to an emergency or chauffeuring the mayor.
In a statement, a mayoral spokesman says: "The drivers of these vehicles receive specialized training and take the necessary precautions when driving."
But Chicago police aren't the only ones getting pass on traffic camera tickets.
The I-Team has uncovered a little-known program that allows agencies ranging from suburban law enforcement to railroad police officers to quickly have their traffic camera tickets voided.
As for the mayor, his bodyguards' ticket trouble doesn't end with moving violations.
A picture from the city's website shows last September the SUV the mayor normally rides in received a $50 ticket for parking during street sweeping.
The other vehicle received two parking tickets last year.
None of them were paid prompting city computers to flag both of the mayor's vehicles for seizure.
They never got the boot, but fines are still unpaid, have now doubled, and total $400.
It's good the be the
Hat tip: Peter von Buol