What Government Really Does

When Matt Järlström got snagged by one of Oregon’s red light cams in 2013, he began researching the effectivness and side-effects of these red-light cameras – and the jiggering of yellow lights cycle times that allowed then to earn extra money for their jurisdictions.

Since then, his research into red light cameras has earned him attention in local and national media—in 2014, he presented his evidence on an episode of “60 Minutes”—and an invitation to present at last year’s annual meeting of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

It also got him a $500 fine from the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying.

Math and logic are apparently so powerful, you need a state license to use them (emphasis added):

Apparently the threats weren’t enough, because the board follow-up in January of this year by officially fining Järlström $500 for the supposed crime of “practicing engineering without being registered.”

Järlström is now suing the state board over that fine, arguing that it’s unconstitutional to prevent someone from doing math without the government’s permission. He’s getting support from the Institute for Justice, a national libertarian law firm.

Don’t think there aren’t “journalists” who’d love to run with that whole “sue the competition out of exisence” schtick.

“Criticizing the government’s engineering isn’t a crime; it’s a constitutional right,” said Sam Gedge, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, in a statement.

Some would call it a duty.

Oh, wait – I just got a letter from the Minnesota Moral Philosophy Standards and Licensing Board…

8 thoughts on “What Government Really Does

  1. By God, if there isn’t a crime that we can charge you with that’s already in place, we’ll create one!
    I hope that “the Big One”‘, takes the whole left coast.

  2. More or less, he was prosecuted because high school physics is sufficient to figure out that short yellow lights are a recipe for red light running and injuries, and the so-called “experts” were too gutless to tell the DOT this obvious fact.

  3. It’s not as if piggy backing on yellows and running reds is a problem is it?

  4. There may be more to this.
    I don’t know about Oregon, but in my state engineers are allowed to sign off on certain things. Want a drain field for your septic tank that doesn’t conform to the building codes? Sure, if an engineer signs off on it.
    For which you pay the engineer.
    And I believe Jarlstrom specifically claimed that he was an engineer when he published his data.

  5. I’ve been to lots of community involvement meetings where activists without engineering degrees have gotten their way (via city council approval) to narrow lanes, add bike Lanes to highways, and remove street parking, all against the advice of the engineers. So part of me likes this- can we sue all the activists, planning commissioners, and city council reps who alter our streets, making them more dangerous and against the advice of engineers? It seems they are also practicing engineering without degrees.

  6. Government engineers: NASA at one end, and Oregon’s finest at the other.

    Diversity, right?

  7. Fines. For revenue. Is not increasing anyone’s quality of life. It is a scam.

  8. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 04.28.17 : The Other McCain

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