Republican Candidate Matt Brakey Curries the Anti-Red-Light-Camera Vote

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Red light cameras also known as common ground in political parlance.
  • Red light cameras also known as "common ground" in political parlance.

If there’s one thing politicians of all stripes can agree on, it’s that traffic cameras are the work of the devil and smashing them to pieces is the best way to get America exercising again.

But promoting a ban on traffic cameras is also a fine way to seek the common ground on the campaign trail. It’s working for young Republican Matt Brakey, who’s running for Cuyahoga County Council in District 10 (Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Bratenahl, and Cleveland Wards 10 and 11), where Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1.

During rush hour one day last week, Brakey and two friends were stationed at the top of Cedar Hill in Cleveland Heights, holding a banner that read “Ban red light cameras” along with the words “Principles Before Party.” They were greeted with a chorus of approving honks.

But Brakey may not curry such favor among his own ranks: The 29-year-old entrepreneur and law student opposed the new county charter (largely a Republican brainchild), saying that it opens the door for even more corruption than the current government does. He wants to eliminate the county sales tax and replace it with new property taxes, despite hailing from Shaker Heights and residing in Cleveland Heights — two cities with among the highest property taxes in Ohio. And he’s suspicious of flashy downtown projects he claims benefit mostly the same clique of developers. He also thinks it’s time someone had the guts to pull the plug on the medical mart.

If it all doesn’t sound particularly Republican, there’s good reason: Brakey ran as a Republican only because the 50 signatures required were way easier to get than the 358 he would have needed to qualify as an Independent.

He’s not sure whether the county Republican Party will back him. “I went to an endorsement meeting,” he says. “They wanted me to agree that I supported their principles. I asked them to tell me what their principles were and I would tell them whether I supported them.”

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