Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Happens When a 1%er Gets A Speeding Ticket


I've been sworn to secrecy as to the name of the Pampa millionaire (a member of my very own childhood church!) who found himself so rudely stopped and ticketed by Estelline's finest. As one can see, it's the not cost of the ticket that irked him so, given the fact he was able to pay for this billboard, but rather it's sheer principle that's involved here. The principle to have everything your own way, that is!

Estelline, it's sort of by Amarillo
(closest city I could find on the map)

The story as I know it is that during the 80's Estelline voted go "wet", meaning you can sell the alky-hol there. Revenue from this allowed them to fund a police department and from that they constructed their very own speed trap. How said millionaire never caught wind of this I have no idea. All those little towns on state highway 287 are not to be trusted with Estelline long known as the most infamous of them all.

Estelline Crop

The Amarillo Globe News caught wind of the sign and ran an article on it, wondering who exactly was the "sign guy". The article drew a range of responses. None from Barney Fife, however, who would I assume should be the most offended.

Local reaction was mixed:

The folks in Estelline don’t need a billboard on the north end of the tiny town in Hall County to remind them. They know what everyone else in this part of the world also knows.

“I’ve heard it all my life,” said Farrah Farris, owner of The Beer Store, one of five businesses in Estelline, population 145, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. “I’ve shown my driver’s license before and it was a pretty good ways from here. It says Estelline.”

“The woman goes, ‘Oh my God, that’s the speed trap of Texas. Seriously, that’s what we’re known for.”

Well, that’s true. Anyone who has made many swings through Estelline, 105 miles southeast of Amarillo on U.S. Highway 287, has known that for a long time. About 200 drivers a month don’t get through Estelline without a little souvenir — a speeding ticket.


Farris has heard mixed comments from locals. Some think it’s hilarious. Some think it ridiculous. She thinks it’s funny.

“But the man must have more money than sense,” said Farris. “It’s extremely expensive to put up a billboard. I checked into it because of my business and couldn’t afford it.”


A New Yorker was pulled over doing 90 mph. Her excuse, Warren said, was she didn’t think this place had a cop.

About $240 later, she knew it did.

(Click link to read entire article)


One hometowner was most offended:

The first is a billboard: a spiteful thing erected in the Texas Panhandle by people who think it is OK to break the law by speeding through tiny towns. The billboard refers to my hometown as a speed trap. In a mockery of a much-loved American television show with an ineffective but lovable town deputy, the billboard makes a sarcastic and thoughtless categorization of local law enforcement and disrespects the sanctity of this community.
(Click link to read entire article)


Finally, sign guy himself responded, as noted by the paper's blog:

The mysterious Estelline billboard man has surfaced, but, alas, no name yet. Last week I wrote a column about a billboard at the edge of Estelline that mocks the small town as a notorious speed trap. A Pampa post office box was listed to "help support this sign."

Wednesday I had a letter in my maibox at work from "the sign guy."

Dear Friend,

I appreciate your contribution to help support the WARNING sign in Estelline, Texas.

I feel strongly that the City of Estelline Police Department is NOT there to "Protect & Serve," is not all about "Safety & Law Enforcement," but simply exist to generate revenue in order that this little band of Pirates can pay themselves a nice salary and maintain an existence in this dot on the map town.

My own personal epxerience suggest that they used the LETTER of the law with extremely strict enforcement, in order to accomplish their goal of revenue generation. I would hate to think that I made my living screwing over 10 to 20 fellow Americans every day.

My best case scenario for the SIGN would be to generate money to accomplish the following things:

1. Set a new sign at least 1 mile before the city limites of Estelline, on both the north and south side.

2. The sign would inform all drivers that the next 2 miles is a speed trap.

3. It would inform all drivers that the speed limits are "STRICTLY" enforced.

Then hoping the results of informing all drivers of what is ahead of them, will totally eliminate any speeding thru the town, thus increasing the safety of the entire community. Be aware that if the Pirates have no one to give tickets to, I am not sure what will happen to their budgetary needs and requirements to stay in business. Once again, thank you for your contribution. Stay tuned and we will see where this road goes.


The Sign Guy

FYI -- There is a really good article on Estelline by CNN dated 5/21/11 - Titled: The Biggest Little Speed Trap in Texas


Estelline Dust Zoom
Photo taken from other side of the road

But as I've said before, we are like a Jewish compound in WWII Germany. We are livid and outraged and furious when we think a tennis ball has been unfairly called in or out. Faces get red and it's argued as a matter of life and death. It's way of pretending to deal with reality.

But greed is not just a symptom of the banks, it's a nationwide disease. Just as when the protection of Glass Steagall was lifted, so have farmers stopped land protection practices stemming from the Great Depression as well. Some say we have set the conditions for a dust bowl all over again. He who lives by greed, dies by greed.

Perhaps Barney says it best:

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