Councilwoman says $AFEclear is socialized towing

Dr. Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs has an op-ed in today's Chronicle where she says the $AFEclear program, even with the proposed changes, is nothing more than socialized towing:

I understand the need to keep traffic moving, but I champion common sense and individual rights.

The Safe Clear Program is flawed. It is not uniformly enforced. Citizens have no idea how it works. Individual rights are run over. It is unsafe for seniors, women and children who may have to wait hours for a ride.

Dermatologist-Councilwoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs
To make matters worse, state lawmakers have threatened legislative action against the city if we don't pull the plug. Why should we allow the state to fix problems created at City Hall? City Council members need to solve this problem, not the state.

City Council should vote to repeal the program. We should send it back to the mayor for further study.

Only this time around, the process needs more transparency and public involvement. People should be informed well in advance so they know what to expect. A public information campaign should be put in place before the new program takes effect.

It sounds very sensible, so chances are it won't happen. But the Dr. Councilwoman has a few days before the city council vote, and maybe she can convince enough of her fellow councilmembers to repeal the heavy-handed program.

What strikes me, though, is the irony of the Dr. Councilwoman's position because she is in favor of a smoking ban in Houston bars and restaurants, so she wants a Big Government solution to what she says is a dire health and safety problem. The mayor wants to tow cars forcibly off Houston freeways, so he created a Big Government solution to what he says is a dire health and safety problem (albeit a safety problem that was previously unknown to anyone but himself, David Saperstein and Councilman Michael Berry. Oh, and Dan Patrick).

Personally I would love to see the Dr. Councilwoman succeed in getting the $AFEclear program shelved; I just find it amusing to contrast her opposition to $AFEclear with her enthusiasm for a smoking ban.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 01/16/05 08:26 AM | Print |

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