Cooper Cams Get Reality Check

I have talked about this before but since it’s back in the news, it’s time to take another whack at Jim Cooper.

For those that think they can find everything on the Internet, I have some bad news; namely, people pay good money to have unfavorable things purged from the Internet. This includes deleting pages and purging or altering search engine results. Thus, you won’t find the following: in his first run for Sacramento County Sheriff, candidate Jim Cooper pledged to fix the department’s budget shortfall by installing traffic cameras like he had done as an Elk Grove City Councilman. Yep, Cooper said that traffic cameras should be used to fully fund the Sheriff’s budget. Thankfully Scott Jones won and kept Sacramento County from becoming a police state.

Jim Cooper — Official Bill Mill Portrait

Flash forward about a decade. Cooper is now Sheriff and in charge of the department’s budget. Local station KCRA ran this article about the department.

Red light cameras in Sacramento are no longer in operation after the sheriff’s office pulled the plug on the program due to financial reasons.

Why Sacramento put the brakes on its red light camera system and how drivers are reacting

Wait, What? Cameras pulled for fiscal reasons? Jim how can this be?

Maybe if Cooper had actually attended all his MBA classes and done the homework instead of letting his study group carry him across the finish line, maybe then he might have a clue about economics…

As it turns out, it costs money to run a traffic camera program and the county was losing its fiscal butt.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office managed the program. Sheriff’s office spokesperson Amar Gandhi told KCRA 3 the program was meant to be cost-neutral, but it cost the department $898,000 per year, which was higher than the money generated from violation tickets.

The next sentence in the story is no surprise:

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office could not provide a specific number of tickets given or a total revenue amount from tickets given.

Yep, Jim, it’s not free money. In typical government fashion, they don’t know how many tickets were issued or how much revenue was collected. Also note that the Sheriff’s Department was administering the program. This is curious. Usually, these programs are farmed out to a third-party vendor, and they give a cut (or percentage if you prefer) of whatever they collect to the county. Sounds like it would be hard under such an arrangement to lose almost a million dollars a year. Clearly more cameras are needed not less. If only the right people were in charge…

KCRA goes on to report that the department had operated 23 cameras. Let’s do the math. That means for each camera, the county lost $39,044. Oh, each ticket issued by a Cooper Cam was a fine of $480. That means if each camera issued 81 more tickets (just over one more a week), then the program would be in the black; except that so many folks had their hands in the till that this doesn’t work in reality.

Map of Sacramento County Cooper Cams

The story then ends lamenting the public harm that will result because the Cooper cams are no longer in operation.

KCRA concludes their article with:

People driving around the county will still see the cameras in place for right now. The sheriff’s office said it is up to the company that was contracted to install them to take them down. It is unclear when that will happen.

So, the county didn’t own the cameras, or run the day-to-day operations but got a percentage of each ticket issued and still lost about a million dollars? How? Wanna bet a person related to a Steinburg or Pelosi or other Democrat crime family owns the Cooper cam company or is a beneficiary thereof.