Hoot of the day: Bereano as safety advocate
Is there any limit to chutzpah in Annapolis? Not so long as Bruce C. Bereano is around.
Bereano, the leadfoot lobbyist who has amassed a collection of dozens of speeding tickets, did his impression of a highway safety advocate yesterday as he testified on a bill that would allow local school boards and law enforcement agencies to install cameras in school buses to enforce the law prohibiting drivers from passing such vehicles when they are parked with their flashing red lights on and stop sign extended.
Originally signed up in opposition, after listening to compelling testimony on the extent of the problem, Bereano abruptly switched sides when called to the witness stand and argued for an even stronger bill.
Passing a parked school bus, Bereano proclaimed, is "egregiously wrong" and deserves a higher fine than called for in the bill -- along with points for violators.
Of course, just a few seconds earlier Bereano told the committee with a straight face that speeding was "not to be tolerated." Funny, Bereano has never had much trouble finding judges who would tolerate his speeding. Just this month, he found a tender-hearted jurist in Snow Hill who gave him probation before judgment even though he had two speeding convictions and another PBJ within the past two years.
It would be cynical to question Bereano's passionate support for cameras on school buses -- even if it flies in the face of his previous opposition to automated enforcement. But Bereano seems to have forgotten that the reason insurance points are not assessed for camera-generated tickets is that they identify the vehicle, not the driver. That's presumably why the school bus bill doesn't call for points either.
An old Annapolis hand can't help but recall that one tactic employed by lobbyists when they can't kill a bill outright is to love it to death -- by adding amendments that strengthen it to the point where it loses support. Surely Bereano would never resort to that.