On Tuesday, voters in Cincinnati, Ohio made it clear that photo enforcement is not welcome in the city. A majority of voters approved an amendment to the city charter prohibiting local officials from ever installing either red light cameras or speed cameras. Referendum co-sponsor Josh Weitzman hopes his coalition’s victory inspires other cities “This election is further proof that people do not want to have traffic cameras,” Weitzman told TheNewspaper. “Politicians in cities across the country need to take note of this if they plan on getting re-elected.” Cincinnati city council members had been trying for the past four years to install the devices that promised to generate between $2m and $12m in annual revenue. Advocates were stopped in 2005 when former Mayor Charlie Luken vetoed a camera ordinance saying, “Let’s be honest with the public– we didn’t think about this until we came up with a budget problem.”
The push for red light cameras resumed at the end of that year when Mayor Mark Mallory was sworn in. A diverse group of political activists from all ends of the political spectrum banded together to form the “We Demand a Vote” coalition to stop the idea. Members include regional chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Republican Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and others. The group received more than 10k signatures on a petition to put the subject of cameras on the ballot before the devices even had a chance to issue a single ticket. Political leaders quickly backed-off their support of cameras after seeing public opinion on the matter.
In 2006, three out of every four voters in Steubenville chose to kick out speed cameras after the devices had issued $600,000 in citations. Over the past twelve years, voters in Anchorage, Alaska; Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois have also banned cameras.