Art by the numbers

Lame-duck San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders has backed off plans to expand the City’s controversial red-light camera enforcement program, leaving that decision to mayor-elect Bob Filner, according to a recent report in U-T San Diego. But now the Sanders crew is soliciting those interested in hiring the City’s new “public art project manager,” according to a request for proposal recently posted online by the City’s purchasing department. “The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture seeks a senior-level consultant to provide public art project management services on an as-needed basis,” says the notice. “Bids reflecting an hourly pay rate are requested.”

The request goes on to say, “The selected consultant will assist in managing the planning, design, outreach, fabrication, installation and dedication phases of public art projects including those associated with the New Central Library, Convention Center Expansion, East Village Park, Bayside Fire Station, Southcrest Trails Park, City Heights Square Mini Park, North University Community Branch Library, Aztec Brewery Rathskeller Restoration, South Mission Beach Lifeguard Tower, North Pacific Beach Lifeguard Tower, and the La Jolla Shores Lifeguard Tower, among others. The selected consultant will also assist with processing donations, incoming loans, outgoing loans and temporary exhibits of artwork on City property, and the processing of plans for art in private development projects.” November 15 is given as the deadline for responses.

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I hope Mayor Filner and the Democratic majority City Council will get rid of those red-light cameras. They are mostly issued for disputably-timed right-turns on red, not running red lights, and they were designed as money-makers, not genuine tools for traffic safety. Many CA cities have abandoned them, including Pasadena and Los Angeles. San Diego should join the club.

Red-light tickets are the quintessence of Big Brotherness -- a blinding flash of light at an intersection, a ticket in the mail weeks later from a processing center out-of-state, with indecipherable numbers and confusing video footage, a court date, a long, wasted morning sitting in court to plead and then a huge fine, sometimes more than $500. There is no human "witness," there is no conversation or education from a cop, there is no personal signature on an issued ticket. And there is no way for an ordinary citizen to fight such a system.

I woke up last night thinking about this: when a poor person gets slammed with one of these red-light-camera tickets, they have to make a deal with the Court to pay in installments over time. The system is a disgrace and it should be junked.

A lot of the red light camera tickets can be ignored!

These are "non-tickets" disguised to look like actual citations which are generated by the red light camera vendors and municipalities when there are defects in the ticket production process and only the license number appears to be readable. These tickets are addressed to the registered owner and requests that you "snitch" on the person who was actually driving the vehicle on the day in question. Although you are under no legal obligation to respond to such a request, the official-looking nature of the communication scares the timid and those who are unable to research the bogus ticket into sending the requested information back to the vendor or city so an actual ticket may be prepared and presented.

For more info about the fake tickets, Google Snitch Ticket.

Looks like that new "public art project manager" will also be involved with new artworks at the upcoming renovation of Horton Plaza.

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