Mayor to speeders: "Quit whining about it!"

Created: 8/30/2006 7:08:09 PM
Updated:8/30/2006 9:31:24 PM

AKRON -- Mayor Don Plusquellic appears to be running out of patience with drivers cited by speed cameras in local school zones.
"We need to protect our kids," he said Wednesday during his weekly press conference. "Slow down. If you get caught, quite whining about it, be an adult, say 'I should have slowed down. I should have known.' Send your check, and be reminded. It'll be a reminder every time you look in your check book."

Plusquellic has received praise and criticism for the city's controversial program of using speed cameras in lieu of police officers. Last year, the cameras handed out 3,000 citations. City council opted to continue the program, which moves the cameras around daily from school to school.

"Sometimes I'd rather there be a police officer," said Melissa Shoemaker, whose child is in kindergarten at Reimer Elementary School. "But if there's not enough of them and they have to use these (speed cameras) I can understand that."

On Wednesday, the city unveiled new portable radar machines that display drivers' actual speed. It's meant to be a warning so that drivers know that next time it might be the speed camera that catches them instead. There also plans for more signs and blinking lights to alert drivers before they enter the zone of the speed cameras.

"I think overall it's been accepted," said Police Lieutenant Tom Hanley. "We're out here to keep these kids safe. We're not asking for anything other than to just observe the speed limit."

After much debate, city leaders set fines at $100 for every offense. No written warnings or second chances are available. During a two-week grace period, the fines will only be $35, but beginning Sept. 11, the cost returns to $100 for the remainder of the year.