Chip Elliott once had a great relationship with the city of Cleveland. The Columbus-based editor of Market Witch, a monthly financial-advice newsletter, loves our restaurants, "incredible art museum" and old-school treasures such as the Alcazar Hotel.
But the romance turned into an ugly breakup in June when the city sent Elliott a letter informing him he'd been caught cheating on Chester Avenue's 35 mph speed limit. The only witness to his indiscretion was the speed-enforcement camera at East 71st Street.
Elliott calls the $100 ticket "outrageous," asserting that he was faithful to the law, even though he "might have sped up slightly" to make the light.
In 2009, the city's 35 cameras generated $8.25 million. The camera that nabbed Elliott was responsible for 18.6 percent of those citations. After mailing the $100 fine directly to police chief Michael McGrath, Elliott now wants the city to feel his financial pain. In a June manifesto to city officials and local media, Elliott said he planned to persuade his affluent Market Witch readership to stay away from Cleveland, noting that he wants to cause at least $100,000 in lost spending.
The only thing that could hurt Elliott's campaign is the fact that he actually was traveling 46 mph in a 35 mph zone. And while he's calling the city greedy, Cleveland Public Safety's Erica Creech says the traffic cameras are actually pretty generous. Motorists don't receive a citation unless they're traveling 10 mph or more over the speed limit, which she says is higher than other cities' thresholds.