81% Oppose Manchester (UK) Congestion Charging Scheme
As Albany legislators head for an 11th hour decision on whether or not to authorize an as-yet-undetermined congestion charging scheme for New York City, anti-charge activists in Manchester [UK] claim that a clear majority of local residents oppose Manchester City Council's plans to implement road tolls. The Association of British Drivers (ABD) reveals that Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART) members hit the streets with an anti-charging petition. Some 81% of 1577 households signed. ABD Manchester Coordinator Sean Corker said "The Manchester authorities have spent £400,000 of tax payers money on glossy leaflets and American models featured in bogus case studies. Despite the huge propaganda campaign, this survey by ordinary people of ordinary people clearly shows that the overwhelming majority of residents object to the imposition of a congestion charge." Will NYC face a similar groundswell? Watch this space.
TampaWRX We haven't yet become that complacent. If this passes anywhere in the US I would be shocked.
British government is no longer responsive to the public, in reality. Sure, there could be a far larger sampling of the population of Manchester, England but it would make no difference. The cynic in me says - the powers that be will do as they please and the public be damned. Manchesterians, you get the government you vote for (on a national and local basis). Pity you don't have a written constitution in the same sense that we Americans do, so you could at least have 1% of the public pointing to something and saying "all of the political parties are ignoring this!" At least it makes the 1% of us feel a little better to have something in one place to point at. In fact the British "constitution" is (supposedly) spread out in multiple places. The trouble with this is that it obviously makes it even easier to power hungry elitists to run the show the way they want to. Sorry but it's all true. I've lived in the UK, and was expected to pay taxation without any representation (being an American citizen and all). So now I live in America and pay taxation without any decent representation (neither major political party supports anything I believe in). Yep, I finally joined the Constitutional Party (still known as the US Taxpayers Party in Michigan). I'm not holding my breath for "my" party winning but miracles sometimes happen.
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Seems I've heard cameras are to play a role in this anti-congestion scheme, too. There was an excellent “debate” regarding camera deployment in NYC on The News Hour (PBS) this past weekend… New York Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly: “We’re in the process of putting in 550 cameras in New York City. We’re halfway there. The public loves it. All the feedback, all the polling we’ve done, people want more cameras. So I think the genie is out of the bottle. And I think the public will simply ask for more cameras in public areas in New York City.” Countering was Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University: “There are fascinating cultural differences when it comes to surveillance. The British in general are more deferential to authority than we are. So are the French, which is why President Sarkozy has embraced the cameras.” While not congestion-cam related, there is a site listing summaries of (with links to) stories about the ineffectiveness of surveillance cameras as well as a listing of abuses of surveillance cameras. They also have a (long!) list of world-wide protests against surveillance cameras.