Robo-cams threaten to tear Elmwood Place apart

ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio - It's not an official sign by any means, but barber Buford Ley wants to get the message out about Elmwood Place's automated speed cameras.

For the last five weeks, he says he has had a handmade sign affixed to his car warning drivers that there is a "RADAR SPEED TRAP AHEAD."

"I'm mad as a hornet over what they've done," Ley said from his barber shop. "It's going to ruin what little business we've got left."

To prove his point, Ley read a letter that was sent to him from one of his longtime customers: "Sorry I haven't been in for a haircut. I had to find another barber outside Elmwood. Your haircuts were good, but i just can't take the chance on getting another speeding ticket for five miles over the limit."

Ley folded the letter into his lap and rhetorically asked: "How many others am I going to lose because of this?"

Several other people who work at area businesses have indicated their customers are going elsewhere to avoid getting tagged by the cams.

The bad publicity the cameras have generated, along with allegations of poor management led Elmwood Place Councilman Jerald Robertson to ask Mayor Stephanie Morgan to resign during a recent council meeting.

Her refusal garnered applause from some in attendance.

Certainly, not everyone is condemning the cameras.

While visiting Schnetzer's Boxing, coach Mike Schnetzer stated that he thinks the new technology is a knockout.

"I'm all for it," he said.

So much so that when Elmwood police asked if they could put a unit on his property, he welcomed it.

"Since they got this technology to use, I think that they can use the police officers for other things," Schnetzer said.

Schnetzer's enthusiasm has been met with some profane resistance from passers-by, he says.

But opposition doesn't bother this man who teaches people how to fight.

"They come over here and throw rocks through my window and stuff like that," he laughed.

But the glass eyes monitoring the village are no laughing matter to attorney Mike Allen.

"We have over 250 clients that have retained us," Allen said.

He plans to ask for an injunction to shut down the robo-cams by the end of the week.

"We don't feel that the village of Elmwood has complied with the statute authorizing them," he said.

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