Bouquets and Brickbats: Traffic fines no way to raise funds

The next time you speed through an intersection, remember: Big Brother may be watching.

In case you missed it, in his latest budget the governor is proposing to install speed sensors on red-light cameras already in place at many intersections. Fines for exceeding the speed limit would be $225 or $325, depending on the seriousness of the violation.

If approved, the measure would raise an estimated $338 million per year, with 85 percent of the money going back to the state to help fund the courts.

To be clear, we aren’t opposed to using cameras to enhance traffic safety. But such surveillance should be a matter for law enforcement — not a money-making venture proposed by the governor. That kind of “gotcha” governing is heartless and cynical and poses yet another financial burden on taxpayers at a time when many can least afford it.

Sorry, Arnie, but we’ve clocked you going over the limit of good governance. For that, you get fined 500 brickbats — and don’t come whining to us if your insurance rates go up.

A poor excuse for Arnold’s absence

We can think of many reasons why Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed Arnold would not want to show his face at Tuesday’s council meeting, but skipping out on the meeting on account of significant media coverage should be the least of his concerns.

Arnold faces criminal charges for allegedly attacking a female city employee with a metal pipe; of course there will be “significant media coverage.” Using that as a reason to explain his absence is beyond absurd — and something we won’t even dignify with a brickbat.

We wonder: Is Arnold trying to force the citizens of Arroyo Grande into mounting a recall?

Helping athletes with head injuries

We award an MVP bouquet to local high schools and medical professionals for teaming up to better diagnose and treat student athletes who suffer head injuries.

The standout program — called ImPACT Concussion Testing —provides initial, baseline evaluations to high school athletes, as well as follow-up tests for students who sustain head injuries.

There is a growing awareness of the potentially serious consequences of even seemingly minor concussions at all levels of play, from the pros to youth sports. Often, though, it can take a while to develop programs in response to new information, which makes it all the more impressive to see this one up and running.

Sierra Vista Medical Center and San Luis Sports Therapy deserve an enthusiastic high-five for providing the testing and follow-up services free of charge. We also want to recognize the participating high schools: Arroyo Grande, Mission Prep, Morro Bay, Nipomo, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Templeton.

Laying a wager not a major crime

Attention Super Bowl fans: It’s still illegal to bet a few bucks in an office pool, but thanks to a new law that took effect Jan. 1, it’s not quite as illegal as it used to be.

For that, we owe a debt of a gratitude to a 73-year-old grandmother who was arrested for operating a small-stakes betting pool at an Elks Lodge in Riverside County. The arrest triggered universal outrage — and inspired a new law that bumped the “crime” down to an infraction.

Previously, such gambling could have been prosecuted as a misdemeanor or even a felony — unbelievable, even for a “lock ’em up and throw away the key” state like California.

We offer a penny-ante bouquet to the state Legislature for making the change; and for furthering the cause of justice, grandma hits a jackpot of a million roses.