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Originally published Monday, December 4, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Nicole Brodeur

Camera didn't even get car's good side

Usually, I love getting pictures in the mail. New babies, dogs in the snow. Me crossing the finish line at a local 5K, doing my best Ernest...

Seattle Times staff columnist

Usually, I love getting pictures in the mail. New babies, dogs in the snow. Me crossing the finish line at a local 5K, doing my best Ernest Borgnine.

But a photo of the rear end of my station wagon, taken by the Seattle Police Department? And a fine to go with it?

Turns out there's a camera on Northeast 45th Street and Roosevelt Way Northeast in Seattle, just waiting for boneheads like me to do something illegal. At least they say what I did was illegal, but who can tell?

What came in the mail was a thumbnail shot of what looks to be my car, stopped at a light. Fine. Below it, a second thumbnail of the same intersection, but no car.

I couldn't tell if the light was red and never saw the notorious, telltale "flash" that other "victims" recall, like the white light in near-death experiences.

What did I do? Where did I go? Whatever it was, it cost me more than $100.

I sent in the check because I have low automotive self-esteem and, like most folks, I don't even know where to begin to fight a camera.

And maybe that's the point. The city has put cameras in four intersections to collect photographic evidence of our traffic-related transgressions.

Worse, they have the ability to read them like CAT scans, while I can't even finish the Jumble in the morning newspaper. If I was to fight this in court, I'd just embarrass myself.

The only comfort is knowing I'm not the only one who made it onto the SPD's version of "Candid Camera."

Turns out there's a camera set up just a block from The Seattle Times building, so, like me, co-workers are getting pictures in the mail, too.

Not that the SPD is after us or anything. I'm just saying.

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Nicole Brodeur's column appears Wednesday and Sunday.

Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

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About Nicole Brodeur

My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
nbrodeur@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2334

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