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If it’s not your car, why did you get mileage reimbursements on it?

The Back to Basics PAC has more questions about “Linda Harper-Benz”.

Remember our prior post on the scandal about how State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown was caught driving a brand-new 2010 Mercedes-Benz ME550 Sedan that was given to her by a state contractor, Durable Enterprises Ltd.? We’ve discovered shocking new information on the scandal surrounding Harper-Benz.

Apparently State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown billed the Texas Comptroller for $13,000 in mileage reimbursement funds. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the mileage reimbursement funds were used on her privately owned cars. However, she has three cars that were given to her by Durable Enterprises, Ltd., and Texan taxpayers have a right to know whether taxpayer funds were used on these cars that weren’t even legally hers.

This is based on a post by John Coby, who found the records from the Comptroller’s office that documented the reimbursements. Follow the links and see what they found. Back to you, Linda.

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4 Comments

  1. Stephen says:

    I wondered why Linda Harper-Brown initially snuck through the measure which allowed red light cameras to issue civil violations for a criminal offense. Now it is evident why – a pair of free Mercedes-Benzes. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/31/3189.asp

    The red light cameras are built on a foundation of lies.

    The camera company is claiming they reduce accidents when the city of Houston’s own study by Rice University shows that accidents doubled.
    (See the data on pages 9-11 of: http://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/2009RiceNews/0109_redlight_pdf.pdf ). The data shows that after red light cameras were installed, rear end collisions increased from 55 to 90, t-bone accidents increased from 220 to 427, and side-swipe accidents increased from 72 to 167. When added up, this means that total accidents increased from 347 to 684 at the intersection where red light cameras were installed. Accidents DOUBLED.

    The camera company claims red light running is the leading cause of accidents in urban areas, but as you can see, red light running is nowhere near the leading cause of accidents, which is actually “failure to control speed” (see page 4 at: ftp://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2008/2008_19.pdf ).

    The camera company has been lying on its notices, saying that people could not register their vehicles if they did not pay the fine. But the county controls vehicle registrations, and people can get their registration without a problem at the Harris County tax assessor’s office. http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news%2Flocal&id=7557403

    The camera company has intentionally deceived Houstonians by creating the false impression that the majority of Houstonians support the cameras. They have done this by asking biased poll questions like asking whether “Intersection safety cameras are a reasonable response to red light runners, whose irresistible actions result in collisions, injuries, property damage, and in some cases even death” or quoting fake statistics within the wording of the question. The camera company did this in a recent Houston Business Journal online poll, which for the first time ever had to disallow multiple voting from a single IP address because the Arizona-based camera company voted for itself nearly 3000 times in the middle of a single night. After disallowing the multiple votes (but still citing the lie that “t-bone accidents had fallen 16% after red light cameras were installed”) the highest response was that “cameras were a distraction and caused more accidents.” http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2010/07/19/daily39.html

    Even when the company was first awarded the contract to put in the red light cameras in Houston, there were concerns over the fairness of the bidding and contract-awarding process. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/mack/3744945.html

    In total, these camera are based on a foundation of lies and deception. They are terrified that the people of Houston may actually get to vote on this issue, as the camera company knows that red light cameras are wildly unpopular. Ten cities in America have voted on red light cameras, and the cameras have lost in all ten cities. Just watch, they’ll try to stop us from even getting to fairly vote up or down on the cameras.

  2. mary t. says:

    If people aren’t paying attention to traffic signals, they sure aren’t paying attention to red light cameras. There are other factors to consider such as distracted driving (instances of talking on the phone or texting, for example, which may have increased during the time that the red light cameras were installed). While there may be a correlation in the increase in accidents and the installation of red light cameras, that doesn’t prove causation.

  3. Stephen says:

    The correlation between red light cameras and an increase in accidents is well-documented. I will quote the e-mail from Rice Professor Bob Stein to HPD that he wrote because HPD was concerned that his data showed that accidents had doubled after Houston put in red light cameras:

    “Below is the website for a recent article in the Tampa Tribune about a study of their red light camera program. Recall our own findings match what is reported in the article and in the public health study cited in the article. Time and I have reviewed 10 years worth of studies on red light light camera programs and the tentative evidence is that those studies using the weakest designs are mot likely to report a reduction in side impact collisions after the installation of red light cameras. More rigorous and appropriate research designs (like the one we use for the Houston program) fail to detect this reduction after the installation of red light cameras.”

    In other words, the better the study, the more likely it is to find that accidents increased or didn’t go down at intersections where red light cameras have been installed. The link between increased accidents and red light cameras has been shown repeatedly, and is more than a correlation. Even the author of the city’s study admitted that this is routine throughout America when a comprehensive study is conducted.

    Accidents don’t just HAPPEN to double at the 50 red light camera intersections when the total accidents at those intersections for the previous years was nearly the exact same, with 400, then 359, then 347, then suddenly 684 after red light cameras were installed. This jump is not within the standard range of deviation, and it is self-evident that red light cameras created this dangerous jump. Ask your friends and neighbors about the hundreds of accidents and close calls that red light cameras have created. These things are unsafe for all of us.

  4. mary t. says:

    “The comparison of data between monitored and non-monitored approaches supports
    the conclusion that red light cameras are mitigating a general, more severe increase in
    collisions.” (pg. 3)

    “Finally, the proportion of collisions occurring at monitored approaches decreased
    significantly relative to the non-monitored approaches (see dashed line in figure below).” (pg. 4)

    “In general, the absence of an expected decrease in collisions could point to two explanations:
    1) The cameras have not been effective across this group of 50 approaches; 2) The cameras are effective in reducing collisions, but this affect is a relative decrease, with the absolute number of collisions staying constant or even increasing due to other factors. We believe that this second explanation, as evidenced in decrease in the proportion of crashes occurring on camera monitored-approached(sic), is the more accurate.” (pg. 6)

    A few quotes from the 2008 Rice University/Texas A&M study you refer to in your first post, in which Professor Stein was a co-author.