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They were right, voting doesn’t change anything! — 9 Comments

  1. This is one of the more wacked things I’ve seen. The city council could just vote them off again and comply with the wish of the majority vote…but nah, they won’t do that. What jackass brought the legal case in the first place that gave that jakeleg judge the opportunity to legislate from the bench anyway?

  2. My suspicions about redlight cameras were confirmed by a sheriff I know here in Illinois. They’re not for safety, but revenue enhancement. To my knowledge, there are no studies showing they make intersections safer, but there is evidence that they add to the treasury. Also, what really bugged me, was the sheriff confirming for me that they shortened the yellow light time at redlight camera intersections.

  3. Pingback: SayUncle » You’re not voting your way out of this

  4. Actually, it looks like the system is working the way it’s supposed to.

    Houston voters approved a referendum to turn off the cameras in November, but a federal judge ruled last month that it had been improperly placed on the ballot, rendering the results invalid. As a result, the city faced a choice to turn the cameras back on or canceling its contract with American Traffic Solutions, which could cost the city $16 million.

    At the same time, Parker said, the city seek permission [sic] for an appeal of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes in attempt to honor the will of the voters.

    @ ks59: If the council just voted to turn them off again, it would cost the city $16 million of the taxpayers’ money. Continuing through the courts is probably the best course at the moment. Even if that fails, there’s nothing requiring the city to renew the contract once it’s over. And the judge is NOT “legislating from the bench” by the way – if the referendum was in violation of the city charter, then it’s not valid, period.

    Hughes ruled that the city charter requires that efforts to overturn an ordinance by referendum must occur within 30 days of an ordinance’s passage.

    It sounds like the city charter needs to be amended. The citizens need longer than that to be able to overturn an ordinance – perhaps, “no time limit”.

    As far as who brought the case in the first place, I bet it was the company that runs the cameras. They’re the ones with the most direct financial interest, after all.

  5. Not much of a big .gov guy myself, but a tight DOT standard for yellow light duration would be of benefit. I’ve seen some damn short ones, even without cameras. You almost can’t respond, especially driving something like a bus.

  6. The City Council is lying through their scumbag teeth. If it were really the case that they felt bad for the drivers, they would just zero out the fines that the cameras generated with their automatic citations. They won’t do that, proving with the City Council, it IS all about the money, not the contract.

    BTW, if I were judging down there, I would rule that such contracts are illegal on their face in that the contract appears to assume the word of law (demands use of the cameras to generate fines) and removes appropriate legal discretion from the City, County or State.

  7. Film the camera. Count the frames the yellow light appears in. Divide that number by the camera’s frame rate to get duration in seconds.

    If that interval is under 3 seconds, it is in violation of damned near all statutes that set yellow light duration.

    File a complaint with the state traffic engineer. That light cannot generate good traffic violations until this gets resolved … and it may never get resolved because cities often sign contracts forbidding them to shorten the duration.