FORTY candidates are running for Traffic Court judgeships in the May 21 primary. They are living proof that there is not always strength in numbers.
Among the contenders: One candidate was convicted on a morals charge. Another's experience with Traffic Court is as a scofflaw. A number could be running because of the $91,000 annual salary, given that they have back taxes due, owe money to PGW or face foreclosure on their homes.
Most of the candidates, mercifully, will lose. But because there are three vacancies on the court, some will win.
That is bad enough. What would be worse is if the state legislature does not act quickly on a bill to shut down Traffic Court and fold its operations into Municipal Court.
The bill was introduced after the U.S. Attorney's office indicted several retired and most sitting Traffic Court judges in a ticket-fixing scandal. Fixing tickets for the politically connected was not an aberration of the system at the court. It was the system. That is why the court has to be obliterated and its duties shifted elsewhere.
The state Senate passed the bill. It now sits in the House Judiciary Committee. A spokesman for committee chair Rep. Ron Marsico has said that it could be voted on this month.
We urge Marsico and the House leadership to act and pass the bill. If they move expeditiously, it means that the winners of the primary will not appear on the ballot in November because the offices will no longer exist.
Each day of delay increases the likelihood that Traffic Court will be on the November ballot.
We will go through the travesty of an election to elect candidates to a travesty of a court.
We urgently implore the state House to act quickly on this bill and make it law.