Ya gotta be kiddin’

It is a rare day, indeed, that we find ourselves agreeing with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz on a policy call, but when he right, he is right.

The city’s ombudsman, Darrel Hess, says in a memo to the Assembly and city officials that Anchorage should do away with its traffic-fine scofflaw program, the Anchorage Daily News reports. There are about 3,500 names on the list of such drivers.

A longtime critic of the program, Hess says it is unfair; that it overly affects low-income driver; that it affects people whose cars are impounded after they loan them to scofflaws.

We thought he was kidding. He is not.

To his credit, Berkowitz says he still thinks the program is a good idea, the ADN reports. “In our experience, there is a positive effect in terms of public safety in that it enforces ideas of personal responsibility,” he said.

While we have a soft spot in our hearts for ombudsmen and what they do, Hess is dead wrong.

If the program is unfair, it is unfair that scofflaws continue driving while the vast majority of Anchorage drivers, who, after receiving a ticket for a traffic infraction, pay up as responsible citizens. It is unfair to drivers who maintain their cars and are not menaces to the motoring public. Some of those on the list are lousy drivers and have dozens of traffic offenses going back years. It certainly is unfair to drivers who obey the law and are responsible.

It seems to us that if you refuse to obey the traffic laws, perhaps you should not drive. But giving scofflaws a pass because “Gee whiz, it is just too hard,” does not make a lick of sense, nor can it possibly make our streets safer.

It is too bad the program is an inconvenience for those who likely should not be driving anyway, but the city should not even begin to consider doing away with it. The sad truth is that people who chronically ignore traffic laws ignore other, more serious, laws, as well. Even considering giving them a pass simply is ridiculous.

We are happily surprised that Berkowitz gets it.

3 Responses to Ya gotta be kiddin’

  1. Morrigan February 7, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Wonder whether a significant percentage of scofflaws are known to be illegal aliens…
    Recall “What Anchorage’s sanctuary city status (or lack thereof) means for the community”, a 2017 KTUU news report containing this memorable line: “This (Sanctuary cities) is a particular topic of debate when it comes to report crimes, which, some people do not do for fear of deportation. Mayor Berkowitz, however, said there should be no concerns.
    Was this a portent of doom for the scofflaw program?
    So, we may have a delightful conundrum:
    We accept, albeit reluctantly, the main purpose of modern government is to get money.
    We accept, with no small amount of resistance, that a second, but not secondary purpose, of modern government is to create and sustain victim classes for whom government officials may advocate, of whom illegal aliens are one.
    Therefore, could our city officials be struggling with an epic conflict: getting money versus exposing a victim class to the brutality of public and federal law-enforcement scrutiny?
    Might be interesting to find out…

  2. Marlin Savage February 7, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Some of the scofflaws admitted on tv that they drive with no licenses or insurance. They need to be off the road even if it
    takes a prison sentence……..

    The city’s ombudsman, Darrel Hess, is either from California,
    or he has been “Californicated”.

  3. Marlin Savage February 7, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    “Progressive” Insanity is worldwide:

    A grocery store in the United Kingdom hatched a plan that most would consider rather normal: Curtailing shoplifters.

    So a sign reading “Help us build safer communities — report shoplifting to a member of staff” was placed in a Tesco store in Kensington, London’

    Twitter users complained “Signs like these encourage ordinary people to be suspicious and resentful toward their neighbors, rather than be angry about the root causes of someone needing to shoplift menstrual products,” the poster, Oonagh Ryder, told BuzzFeed News. “The UK has very high levels of inequality due to the decisions of successive governments, with increasing numbers of people unable to afford basic necessities”.

    With that, Tesco caved — apologizing for the sign and removing it, BuzzFeed News reported, adding that a company spokesman said claimed the sign in the viral photo was placed “in error.”


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