“Unbelievable” was my first reaction when I started reading about the Polk Parkway tollbooth in the Tampa area that doesn’t like cash.
As I read on, I realized this was more than a government snafu; it was another blatant display of people-control where the taxpayers are both the victims and financiers of the same criminal enterprise.
Am I surprised to hear that a government agency is breaking the law? It happens all the time.
Still, it makes one itch to break somebody’s neck. But governments don’t have heads with brains, therefore, there is no need for a neck.
Governments are just massive bodies which renders them difficult to attack.
Yet, for the last eight months, Joel Chandler has been doing a valorous job of needling the government agency.
“If it’s secret, it’s legal,” is the mantra for governments worldwide.
Thus, this tollbooth practice was kept secret because nobody had the courage to confront the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) that had the chutzpah to deny its illegal policies--well, that is until Chandler rolled into the toll plaza one day for his unintended education.
A motorist who is inadvertently caught without coinage or a dollar bill in his pocket would find it necessary to pay a one-dollar toll with, say, a $20, $50 or $100 bill. Unknown to the public, the FDOT considers these ordinary bills “large” and suspicious.
Inflation removed the twenty from “large” status over 40 years ago!
Ah-hah! A twenty is a common bill for counterfeiting. The motorist is immediately targeted as a suspect for passing diseased money.
Instead of the illustrious FDOT installing scanners like sane, privately-owned chain stores do or even arming workers with detection pens, the Florida functionaries sneaked in the back door and placed reverse onus on the general public who is considered guilty until proven innocent.
The FDOT has bestowed the toll collectors with individual discretionary powers, only they are in no position of legal authority to detain anybody.
Even so, they are required by government policy to illegally detain any motorist against his will for using cash. He can’t drive forward, backward or exit his vehicle until he is strong-armed into providing personal and vehicular information.
Only then is he given change for his large bill and the gate lifted. Meanwhile, traffic is lined up behind him.
There are documented instances of motorists being subjected to detainment for tendering a bill as small as a fiver.
If a motorist refuses to comply, the toll operators threaten to call the police and have the motorist arrested and charged for not obeying the command.
Yet the operators themselves are reported to be committing up to 30 felonies a day.
It was reported that within a 24-month period, FDOT spent more than $32,000 printing the Bill Detection forms that tracked a mere $16,000 in bogus bills while raking in $1.5 billion in toll receipts.
It was noted that none of the some 885 fake-currency detection cases were ever referred to authorities for investigation, anyway.
So what is the point of subjecting a majority of innocent travelers to unconstitutional trauma five million times?
It’s called people-control.
Further, the government’s policies place its employees at undue risk. While forcibly detaining a motorist, the possibility clearly exists that an impatient person on his way to an emergency situation is going to go bonkers.
He could conceivably pull out a gun in legal self-defence. Years ago Florida legislators were concerned about the safety of residents living in a crime-infested state. Lawmakers passed concealed-carry laws as a way to provide people with an antidote to protect life, limb and property against unlawful acts.
A TV news reporter discusses the tollbooth violations in “Florida Toll Booths Caught Illegally Detaining Drivers for Paying with Large Bills”. In a companion video “Exclusive Interview with Joel Chandler”, Fireball Run’s show host introduces the viewer to an articulate, liberty-minded guest.
Citizen Chandler is a staunch believer in the U.S. Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment which was adopted to protect people from unreasonable search and seizure and requires that any search warrant be judicially authorized and supported by probable cause.
Constitutionalist Judge Andrew Napolitano, who mentioned the anti-cash cash tollbooths on his Fox Freedom Watch show, and Congressmen father-son combo Ron and Rand Paul are no doubt pleased to witness a citizen adamantly defending constitutional rights!
The abuse and disregard the U. S. government has displayed for the Bill of Rights is tantamount to Canada’s own Charter of Rights and Freedoms reduced to worthlessness.
Canadian lawmakers and judges consistently ignore pesky sections: presumption of innocence until proven guilty; the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure; a search be conducted only with a judicially-authorized warrant; the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned; the right to be secure against ridiculous charges.
Currently, Chandler has researched thousands of government documents; interviewed hundreds of toll collectors and victims; writes as a citizen journalist; and is the instigator of a civil class-action suit filed in February against the Florida DOT and the private contractor hired to manage the tollbooth operations.
I hope he kicks the stuffin’ out of those viperous, civil-liberty wreckers. Unfortunately, the chances of winning a politically-incorrect, government-adjudicated case are dicey, though not impossible.
Typically, the government’s answer will be to circumvent the problem by phasing out cash toll systems in favour of cashless ones, which promises more stringent people-control and opens up a whole new set of privacy and civil-rights abuses.
It would be wonderful if one gram of Citizen Chandler’s energy, fortitude and civic-mindedness could rub off on the rest of us to help stop abusive, anti-constitutional government agencies everywhere from running roughshod over ordinary citizenry before all is lost to a Marxist regime.
For inspiration, progress can be tracked on www.FOGWatch.org.
See companion piece by Christopher di Armani "Toll Booths Say “Give Us Your Personal Information…or Else”, posted March 10, 2011
Jane Gaffin, March 19, 2011