Meeting with Portsmouth’s Finest

I had a surprisingly pleasant traffic stop this evening on my way to the Seacoast Liberty weekly Meetup. I was apparently driving “at a speed greater than was reasonable and prudent under the conditions, to wit, at a rate of 55 m.p.h., the prima facie lawful speed limit at the time and place of violation being 35 m.p.h.” I received a written warning that the fine would otherwise have been $100.

So I got stopped by the cops. Why do I call this pleasant? Well, the first reason is that the officer was pleasant and polite, even though I have a Free State Project sticker on my car. Not every law enforcement officer begins a professional encounter from a point of civility.

But secondly, it seemed to be a safety stop rather than a cash stop. The official line behind speed limits is that they are there for our safety. If that were true, and fines only for deterrent effect, we wouldn’t hear about frivolous tickets, about quotas, about speed trap towns that don’t report tickets to insurance companies, about people getting arrested or threatened for telling others about speed traps. So when the officer told me what the speed limit there was, and I expressed my genuine surprise, he wrote a warning, which suggests that the speed trap was actually motivated by safety; I’ve only seen that once before. I would be curious to see what Portsmouth PD’s warning vs. ticket ratio is.

Which brings me to the actual work at hand… I have not yet actually sat down with the budget. It scares me. But I have more free time now, so it’s on my list for this week.

I also note, at the City Clerk’s page, that there are vacancies on local boards. This is an excellent way to get some input into local government; I will be checking the requirements and possibly applying for one of them. Any other Portsmouth residents who might be interested should do the same; if you were to contact me first so we can coördinate the positions we apply for, that would also be nice.

I regret that I did not think ahead to fabricate a hilarious April Fool’s post about the anarcho-capitalist revolution which has liberated the Free State of Portsmouth from its Arts Commission oppressors. Maybe next year.

A tax deadline and bored cops

As announced in the Portsmouth Herald, the Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers is meeting tonight to kick off the spending cap project. Check it out on Meetup.com, especially if you’re a Portsmouth resident.

Meanwhile, I’m looking for other locally active groups that are working on libertarian projects, though they need not be libertarian groups overall. One thing that I’ve noticed ever since moving here is that we seem to have a lot of bored cops, and I wonder if anyone is working on reducing the size or scope of the Portsmouth Police Department. I appreciate that we have a lot of bars downtown, which bring in folks from around the area, some of whom get drunk and disorderly, and that we have a lot of tourists in the summer, some of whom cause trouble and some of whom are victims of trouble. But apparently Portsmouth’s Finest has time to run obtrusive and un-Constitutional (regardless of what the Supreme Court says; they got this wrong) drunk driving checkpoints that result in citations for fewer than 1% of the vehicles stopped. Today, the Portsmouth Herald reported that they don’t even know what they’re doing at the checkpoints. I have to wonder if we couldn’t get by with fewer police officers, especially in the off-season.

Anyone have any pointers to Portsmouth local groups working on the issue?