October 15, 2006
The Nanny State Lives!

Unfortunately, that is. Danny Westneat covers the City of Seattle rejuvenated fondness for jaywalking tickets. Great.

Perhaps I'm being naive, but I join Westneat is saying this is a poor allocation of limited resources. Especially after having been in several cities in the past year or so, such as Washington, DC and Montreal, where jaywalking is commonplace, and the only way you'll get yourself a ticket in those cities is if you're obviously putting your own safety in danger.

And speaking of poor allocation of resources, Saturday's Seattle Times reported on a new study confirming that local strip clubs are indeed not the crime-magnet some assume. That whole debate got quite a going over at this site recently, including the specific question of whether strip clubs constitute a "blight" on the community.

Granted, the study in question was funded by the strip clubs looking to defeat Referendum 1, but the data seems to speak for itself, raising further questions about the burning need for the City of Seattle to spend police resources ensuring exotic dancers stay four feet away from patrons.

Which reminds me, Montreal has a bevy of strip clubs right in the heart of the downtown shopping district, literally on the main street of Sainte Catherine that bisects the neighborhood. Yet, the bustling district is still prosperous, inviting, full of normal looking people (mostly...it is a Canadian urban area after all), and seemingly not festooned with crime - besides of course the rampant jaywalking cited above.

I say again: Nanny State, go away please.

Posted by Eric Earling at October 15, 2006 06:56 PM | Email This
1. Between jaywalking and signal runner fines, the mayor may just collect enough to build his tunnel after all.

Posted by: Organization Man on October 15, 2006 07:19 PM
2. Yeah and watch out on the backstreets around the Seattle Center, There are Area parking signs that are so faded that you cannot read them, but they will still give you a $44 ticket if you park in them. I was by one of them the other day, and the sign on top had so much Ivy growing over it from the yard above, that you could not even see it let alone read it. The Sign on the bottom was so faded that you could not read it. The sign in the middle said 2 hour parking until 6:00. Park here at 7:00 PM and you will get a whopping $44 parking ticket.

Yes you could go fight it, spend $$ getting to Seattle, $$ parking, Time waiting, etc etc.

Too bad some of the City money can't go towards keeping the parking signs CLEAR AND NEW ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY READ!

Posted by: GS on October 15, 2006 07:42 PM
3. You know, if you don't want a jaywalking ticket... don't jaywalk. It's like getting a ticket for speeding or running a red light and complaining about whether the police have better things to do.

Personally, I've nearly hit a couple of people as I turned because they jaywalked against the "Don't Walk" light because they didn't see me trying to turn. It's also frustrating waiting to turn when people keep jaywalking against the "Don't Walk" sign, and you end up having to wait for the next light cycle.

If you don't like the law, work to have it changed... but please don't whine when you break it (granted, it's only a traffic infraction) and get caught. You can't simply ignore the law because you don't like it.

Posted by: Mike H on October 15, 2006 08:03 PM
4. The jaywalker is most likely a busy professional. Unlikely to fight the fine and just mail in a check.

Whereas the the drunk bum taking a crap on the front step of a business has no "revenue" potential, only costs.

I do subscribe to the broken window theory of law enforcement. So ably implement by Guliani in NYC.

Jaywalking is a small crack in a pane vs. entire missing window of gangs, drunks, crime etc... If the crime rate was low, the drunks off the streets the gangs run out of town then maybe spending time dinging jaywalkers would be worthwhile.

Posted by: JCM on October 15, 2006 08:13 PM
5. On the issue of crime levels around strip clubs vs other nocturnal businesses-bars, dance clubs, quickie-marts, etc-they should have also run the numbers for similar establishments in Portland, where the strip clubs have very few restrictions (ie, they can go full nude, have dim lights, give actual lapdances, and serve booze).

And also include numbers on taxes collected from strip clubs in Seattle vs those in Portland.

Posted by: Heartless Libertarian on October 15, 2006 08:31 PM
6. I for one would prefer that either one of these two policemen would have been downtown when the 52 yr old man was attacked by Danial Culotti.

But I see Mr Nickels would rather they are gaurding crosswalks handing out $50 tickets that pad his pockets.

A fine use of Seattle's Finest!

We'll have them door belling for Viaduct dollars very soon!

Posted by: GS on October 15, 2006 08:36 PM
7. while we'r on the topic of dumb laws, bums, etc, ...how come i cannot buy nice good legal liquor in this state; i get choice of Smirnoffs and RonRico....nothing the least bit interesting...

and yeah, jaywalking tickets are dumb. We aren't yet near NYC that has trivial laws as part of overall keep standards up campaign; instead our dummies as noted above, let bums crap in public while i get the ticketr

Posted by: righton on October 15, 2006 08:51 PM
8. Sometimes wingnuts use "nanny state" as an excuse to complain about good things, but I'm 100% with you on this one. Assuming pedestrians have some common sense seems to work fine in NY. You should get a ticket for jaywalking only if you cross somewhere really stupid (like I-5) or make a motorist stop when they have the right of way.

Posted by: Bruce on October 15, 2006 10:06 PM
9. In 1962, I arrived in Seattle to begin my studies at UW. One day, I parked my car on the north side of 45th Street west of 15th, got out, and walked across the empty street between signals. An SPD motorcycle cop roared up, delivered a stern lecture about the evils of jaywalking, and wrote me a ticket that, as I recall, cost me fifty bucks. The nanny state was alive and well in Seattle even then.

Posted by: Dave on October 15, 2006 10:23 PM
10. In 1962, I arrived in Seattle to begin my studies at UW. One day, I parked my car on the north side of 45th Street west of 15th, got out, and walked across the empty street between signals. An SPD motorcycle cop roared up, delivered a stern lecture about the evils of jaywalking, and wrote me a ticket that, as I recall, cost me fifty bucks. The nanny state was alive and well in Seattle even then.

Posted by: Dave on October 15, 2006 10:23 PM
11. Yet another reason to visit downtown as infrequently as possible. Still trying to come up with a reason to go there at all....

I mean, aside from the horrid traffic, lack of parking, street bums, smell of urine, noise, drug dealers, and overpriced stores, what does downtown have going for it?

Posted by: H Moul on October 15, 2006 10:42 PM
12. It's not Tacoma...

Posted by: alphabet soup on October 15, 2006 10:44 PM
13. Actually Tacoma is getting better.

Posted by: pbj on October 15, 2006 11:22 PM
14. I would agree with the comments above, but having to drive downtown periodically, the cops are right, it is near impossible to make a right hand turn and it does affect traffic. I have no problem with them issuing the tickets because it is not a case of nanny statism, it is all about traffic control. If you want to complain about the nanny state go after the clickit or ticket law.

Posted by: ModMilq on October 16, 2006 06:45 AM
15. ModMilq - unless you are talking about turning right on red, pedestrians have a green at the same time you do, so they wouldn't get tickets.

Posted by: Right said Fred on October 16, 2006 07:04 AM
16. "If you want to complain about the nanny state go after the clickit or ticket law."

Or Seattle's mandatory bicycle helmet law.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on October 16, 2006 07:24 AM
17. Hubby & I were recently downtown Tacoma on the waterfront, what a pleasant suprise. City Planner is to be commended, it's very nice with more on the way.

Take a drive around Seattle & King County, traffic laws are being frequently violated in major ways. Makes jaywalking look like small potatoes. But with police forces at about 1967 levels, dangerous traffic violations are rarely ticketed.

Posted by: dl on October 16, 2006 09:25 AM
18. i'd like to see a comparison/ratio of jaywalking tickets to ritoing or WTO-like tickets/arrests. how long will people tolerate a soft police force?

i think the Blue Line is capable and wants to crack heads, but suspect the brass & lawyers are "cuffing their own." that goes top-down for the Big Guy too--Mr Luzza-mi-pistola.

alternatively, if the ranks are truly that liberal, then we are in more serious trouble than ever imaginable. i hope not.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on October 16, 2006 10:36 AM
19. It's not just the state and city government that knows what's best for us., the federal government has got into the game as well.

As for jaywalking, people who do it should not complain when they are hit, and any lawsuit should be promptly thrown out of court. Other than that, jaywalking tickets are a waste of time.

Posted by: Palouse on October 16, 2006 10:52 AM
20. This is typical for Gregg Nickels the buffoon

A better use of taxpayer $ is preventing auto break in

Posted by: Green Lake Mark on October 16, 2006 11:01 AM
21. Right said Fred, the article is about the tickets being handed out to to people who step into the crosswalk after the red hand starts flashing. There is a WA law that states as soon as the walk changes to a flashing walk if a pedestrian steps into the cross walk he is a "jaywalker" and can be ticketed. That's what Westneat's article was about. So a driver actually does have a green when a person crossing the street is a "jay walker" under the statute and the driver cannot make a turn.

What ends up happening on Union as you get off the freeway and you want to turn either left or right onto fifth, fourth, ect is that cars cannot turn because the cross walk is never clear on their green. Does this make sense?

So go back and read Westneat's article before you question my infallible reason However feel free to criticize my spelling because I suck at spelling and cannot be bothered to actually check a dictionary.

Posted by: ModMilq on October 16, 2006 07:16 PM
22. You would be amazed at what pedestrians do in downtown Seattle. They walk right out in front of busses, I've seen them cross in front of emergency vehicles that were using their lights and siren. While vehicles can not drive through red lights, many times that they can not drive through green lights, either, because they have to wait for people who are crossing against the red. As someone who drives downtown for my job, I say it is about time. There are times I feel as if I am driving through a cocktail party.

Posted by: RadioMattM on October 17, 2006 12:17 PM
23. The reason it works in NYC is because pedestrians know that cabbies will hit them. It's the fear of getting hit that regulates jaywalking. There's really not much fear of it in downtown Seattle, hence it runs rampant. All we need is a few more aggressive cabbies :-)

Posted by: Palouse on October 17, 2006 01:02 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?