Rome’s City Commission got another black eye on Friday as syndicated talk show host Erick Erickson went on a rant about the Sept. 23 vote regarding speed detection cameras in school zones. Erickson, who’s program is now heard on WRGA 98.7 FM from 9 a.m. until noon weekdays, spent more than 15 consecutive minutes calling out the city commissioners who voted in favor of the proposal, stating this is nothing more than an revenue collection move. He mocked commissioners who said it was about the safety of the students. We have a link to the episode below.
Commissioners voted 5-3 on a second reading of the “School Zone Speed Protection Ordinance” with yes votes coming from Craig McDaniel, Evie McNiece, Randy Quick, Milton Slack and Sundai Stevenson. Those voting no: Wendy Davis, Jamie Doss and Bill Irmscher. McDaniel, Slack, Stevenson and Irmscher are up for re-election on Nov. 5.
During the public comment period prior to the vote, Paul Culotta urged commissioners to take a harder look at the ordinance before final consideration. He instead urged better enforcement by police in school zones. There were no comments made in favor of the ordinance. The topic also came up during the commission’s caucus session prior to the meeting; no minutes or video are provided from caucus sessions.
As for Erickson: He’s described as follows — “Editor of The Resurgent and host of the Erick Erickson Show on WSB Radio. He has been both a CNN and Fox News contributor and appears regularly on NBC News’ Meet the Press and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. Erick is a lawyer by training and is working on a degree in theology. He lives in Macon with his wife and children.” He’s had an evening program on WSB for several years and recently started a morning syndicated show structured mostly on politics.
Erickson is known for not having filters when it comes to topics he is “passionate about” and school zone cameras — and red light cameras — are among them.
In his rant, he basically urged Rome residents to rise up in protest over plans to put cameras near school zones. (You may recall Rome had “red light” cameras at Turner McCall/Hicks Drive and Martha Berry/The Bypass for several years before removing them).
Erickson offered a brief history of the school zone cameras and said they were OK’d by legislators and signed by then-Gov. Nathan Deal.The red light lobbyist, he said, was the son of House Speaker David Ralston. Background
While urging police to target school zone speeders, he says the automated ticketing devices “are an abomination.” Erickson added: “I hate red light traffic cameras, too” and alleged some jurisdictions even lower the timing of yellow lights to increase tickets and revenue.
Of both sets of cameras, Erickson said, “They want revenue… it’s all a scam, folks, it’s all a scam… this needs to be fought… people of Rome need to stand up.”
He especially went off on comments about school zone safety. “Have people been running over children in Rome? … no, no they haven’t … this is a revenue generator.
“They are revenue-generating machines … commissioners get to lie and say ‘it’s about the children, its about the safety of the children’… if the children aren’t safe, why aren’t the police out there?…. This is about making money from the citizens of Rome… local governments need to find way to raise revenue… find a way to do a back-door tax on you.”
You can listen to Erickson’s extended comments below.
Click Erickson. The episode is titled, ‘Can’t Trust the Watchers.’ Start listening around the one hour and two-second market. It continues through the one hour, 18-minute mark.
Click City Commission video. This link takes you to the video from the commission meeting. Using the agenda, click down to the Speed Zone headling to listen to the commission debate.
Click City Commission minutes Click here for a copy of the minutes on the vote or read below.
- City commission: It is another knock on the 2018-19 edition of the City Commission, following downtown parking, downtown smoking, the indoor tennis court financing, the urban camping/pandhandling walk-up and caucus decision, inaction on the Summerville Park/Sleep Inn plan until Mayor Bill Collins and homeowner Eric McDowell devised a solution, and the economic development poaching from the chamber that is costing taxpayers three times more than the original plan.
- On Erickson: We’re surprised the rant made it on air as Rome Radio Partners’ management has declared host comments on City Commission and County Commission actions off-limits (maybe they’ll “move in another direction” with Erickson’s show as well?) Minority co-owner Randy Quick is a member of the City Commission.
Local reaction to the vote:
City Commissioner Wendy Davis shared the Rome News-Tribune’s story about the Sept. 23 vote. At least 165 comments followed on her Facebook page. Click the item below for more.
City Commission minutes from the School Zone vote: