Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Man Of Few Words

When he was HoCo executive, Jim Robey did not seem particularly interested in the limelight. No one would ever accuse him of being a microphone hog. So we were not exactly surprised to read this Sun account of a state Senate vote this week rejecting a bill to use cameras to catch speeders.

But senators critical of the cameras, which they called an intrusion of privacy and a cash cow for local governments, rose one after another in opposition Wednesday. Sen. George W. Della Jr., a Baltimore Democrat, told his colleagues he had been wrongfully accused after a car using his old license plate was snapped by a camera in Washington. He said it took two months of irate phone calls to get out of the citation.

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican, read aloud a passage from the book 1984, including the famous line, "Big Brother is watching," before the legislation failed, 24-23. A day earlier, the Senate voted 26-19 to broaden a bill that initially allowed cameras just in construction zones to also include a half-mile radius around all schools - a plan closer to what the governor wanted.

Perhaps in an expression of confidence, few supporters of the bill rose to defend it when it came up for a final vote Wednesday. Sen. James N. Robey, a Democrat who suggested the school zone amendment, limited his remarks to saying that he had already said everything the day before.

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