A Toledo city councilman calling the police chief to get speeding tickets for himself and his wife “fixed” looks bad because it is bad.
But if the city is making a habit of wrongly citing innocent drivers because they know those drivers are unlikely to fight the tickets, that’s worse.
Toledo councilman Rob Ludeman, left, and Toledo Police Chef Kral.
Authorities agreed that neither Rob Ludeman nor his wife deserved the $120 tickets they were issued because the Ludemans were not in a school zone as they were accused of being.
And to his credit, Toledo Police Chief George Kral has said the city will refund the fines of others ticketed along with the Ludemans that day.
But the city is apparently stooping to send a tax collector with a speed gun in his hand out onto the streets of the city, mostly in order to raise funds for the city. Somebody made that call, and it was not an individual cop.
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Meanwhile, the lowly everyday citizen feels he must pay the ticket from one of these encounters, rightly accused or not. The average Joe has to go through the hearing process set up for such citations. He probably has to take time off work for that. He has no guarantee he will prevail. So, considering all those factors he most likely will simply pay the fine, especially if he lives out of town. And evidence has shown that more than half of such tickets are issued to out-of-towners.
The privileged person can apparently just make a call to the right person.
Every community has its powerful cliques of movers and shakers, but the sense of entitlement for those people in Toledo seems especially brazen.
Toledo’s handheld speed cameras really could be used to make the city safer. They could be deployed to construction zones or to residential streets where police have received complaints about speeding. But that is evidently not how Toledo is using them.
Moreover, these tickets are the source of some of Toledo’s magically appearing piles of found money this summer. Though Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson’s budget predicted Toledo would take in $2.3 million in handheld-camera fines this year, the city is on pace to reap more than $4.3 million.
Here is the question: Did the ticket revenue exceed expectations because officers have been directed to nab drivers who are not actually speeding? Fair play and the city’s good name are at risk.
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