Thursday, November 12, 2009

Red Light Camera Rant

So, many months ago, the city of College Station decided to install red light cameras. Much controversy followed. Administered by American Traffic Solutions the city got a portion of the extortion collected in return for letting ATS thugs terrorize citizens and visitors alike. The intersections chosen for the cameras where not the ones with the highest rates of red light related collisions but were high traffic areas.

During the last legislative session, the Texas Leg sought to ban them from the state. Part of the proposed legislation was that existing systems were grandfathered in for the length of their existing contracts. City of CS signed a new contract with ATS for not only an extended period but for more cameras as well.

Citizens rise up and a petition is organized. They guy behind it got a lawyer to write up the petition based on the city charter to make sure it would be legal and cross all the T's and dot all the I's. In only a few days there were more than enough signatures to force the issue on the ballot.

City lawyers rewrite the wording of the petition for the ballot to rename it a referendum. According to city charter, a referendum on a new law MUST be filed withing 60 days of the new law taking effect. The petition was specifically worded to be a ballot initiative not a referendum to prevent this argument. The city was called on this and the wording was changed back to what it was supposed to be according to the petition.

Election is held and as has been held in every other location where red light cameras have come up for a public vote, the initiative passed banning red light cameras.

Did I mention the the
Keep our streets safe PAC" was totally funded by ATS? Or that the coalition to ban the cameras was completely funded by local concerned citizens?

So, when the cameras where supposed to be turned off yesterday, they weren't! Two concerned citizens filed suit in district court to nullify the election based on it being a referendum and beyond 60 days and got a temporary restraining order preventing the city from turning the cameras off. The city attorney only half halfheartedly presented any kind of defense to the suit and the attorney for the petition organizer had to pick up the slack.

If I didn't know any better, I would say the city doesn't want to give up the cameras and is doing everything they can to force them on the people despite the majority who voted to take them down.

We won't even get into the lack of right to appeal the citations or the efficacy of red light camera's in general.

The sheer gall of the city council to thwart the will of the people at every turn and do all they can to subvert the effort to remove these cameras and keep the revenue stream open to ATS and the City.

Figured I'd add a link to one of the local reports about this.
As well as the local bird cage liner.

1 comment:

  1. Well, we know that red light cameras are a load of horse apples.

    It's all about safety right?

    So as soon as they claim that, have them issue punishments that fit the crime. So send them to traffic school, have a "points" system on their license, or other matters like that. That is, if it's about safety, let's work safety.

    But we know.. it's revenue streams.

    And a bad one at that. Like sin taxes... and so the taxes have the desired effect of people stopping, then the tax revenue stops, and so now we don't have the revenue and have to go looking for something else to tax or abuse.