Matt Brakey's Anti-Traffic Camera Campaign Goes National

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From Cedar Hill to the New York Times.
  • From Cedar Hill to the New York Times.

Back in early July we alerted you to Matt Brakey's anti-traffic camera campaigning.

If there’s one thing politicians of all stripes can agree on, it’s that traffic cameras are the work of the devil and smashing them to pieces is the best way to get America exercising again.

But promoting a ban on traffic cameras is also a fine way to seek the common ground on the campaign trail. It’s working for young Republican Matt Brakey, who’s running for Cuyahoga County Council in District 10 (Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Bratenahl, and Cleveland Wards 10 and 11), where Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1.

During rush hour one day last week, Brakey and two friends were stationed at the top of Cedar Hill in Cleveland Heights, holding a banner that read “Ban red light cameras” along with the words “Principles Before Party.” They were greeted with a chorus of approving honks.

Now the New York Times has picked up on our young hero, detailing Brakey's anti-traffic camera crusade within a larger piece about politicians around the country who are courting the vote of citizens fed up with the cameras and their expensive tickets.

Before we get into their account, we'd like to thank them for mining Scene & Heard for news tips and using a photo snapped by a Scene staffer. You're welcome, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyway, onto the words:

The issue has bubbled up in places like Cleveland, where Matt Brakey, a 29-year-old businessman seeking a spot on the Cuyahoga County Council, has proclaimed his opposition to traffic cameras on his campaign Web site and at events like one he recently held at a busy intersection where he unfurled a banner announcing his stance.

“There were lots of honks,” said Mr. Brakey, a Republican and first-time candidate for office. “This issue really taps into the general dissatisfaction with government.”

Indeed, the outrage over the cameras echoes the general concerns about government that have fueled protests movements like the Tea Party.

But the protests also underscore the sting many Americans feel in these economic times at having to pay fines of $25, $50 or $100 for traffic infractions that, in some cases, they had no idea they committed.

“It’s a huge pocketbook issue,” Mr. Brakey said. “I’ve talked to people who can’t renew their driver’s license because they have all these tickets.”

You go, Matt. Fight that good fight.

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