Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

How the Mayor Can Have Speed Cameras and Gambling

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Here’s a win-win situation for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a way to get his speed cameras and his casino. He can set up a live video feed in City Hall, from intersections outside schools all over Chicago, and invite people to bet on how fast the cars are going.

    I can hear the gamblers right now: “Gimme $5 on that Dodge Charger coming down the street going 40 miles an hour. Those guys always speed.”

    “Five on the Charger going 40,” the teller would recite. Then he’d check the camera: “Charger is going…38 miles an hour.”

    The gambler would swear in agony, while the teller would say blandly, “The house wins. You lose the bet, and that guy in the Charger gets a ticket. It’s a 25 mile an hour zone.”

    Emanuel won a vote on speed cameras when the House voted 64-50 to approve the bill, sending it to Gov. Pat Quinn. (The tally is here. For a bill that “applies only to municipalities of 1,000,000 or more people,” the vote fell mainly along urban-suburban/rural lines. Almost all the Chicago Democrats voted for it, buckling under to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s shameless lobbying, which included a press conference in which the mayor used the traffic deaths of two South Side children to promote his bill. Neither accident occurred at a time or in a place that would have been monitored by cameras.)

    But the mayor lost on gambling expansion, when Rep. Lou Lang could only muster 58 of the 60 votes required to pass a bill during the veto session. (Lang says he will try again today.)

    The mayor lobbied hard for more gambling, only to see it killed by Quinn’s threatened veto. Chicago drivers can only hope Quinn sees this as another opportunity for an “I’m the governor, dammit” moment, asserting his authority over Emanuel by snuffing out one of the mayor’s pet projects.

    You can bet the folks behind Fight The Light hope that. It’s a new blog dedicated to exposing speeding cameras as ticket-writing machines. They’re about to learn something that every gambler already knows: when it comes to fighting tickets, the house always wins.

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!