By on November 4, 2009

Northeast Chillicothe (courtesy chillicothedui.com)

Voters in three cities sent a clear message to local lawmakers yesterday by adopting charter amendments that ban photo enforcement. In addition to kicking two camera supporters from the city council, 72 percent of those voting in Chillicothe, Ohio approved a total prohibition on the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. In College Station, Texas the vote was much closer, but at the end of the night 52 percent wanted the red light cameras to come down. In Heath, Ohio 51 percent voted against the cameras. A total of nine cities nationwide have used the initiative process to ban camera enforcement since 1991, with camera proponents never having won a public vote.

The triple defeat for the photo enforcement industry came despite a well-funded public relations effort in each of the cities. In Chillicothe, Redflex Traffic Systems sent a glossy mailer to every voter while the mayor demanded that the Ohio Supreme Court ban the public from even voting on the issue — a move high court justices swiftly rejected. Citizens Against Photo Enforcement (CAPE), the group responsible for the ballot measure, claimed an additional victory as voters elected camera opponent Bruce Arnold, who won the seat of council president, Jeremy Siberell, who won the fifth ward and Dustin Proehl, the only incumbent to have voted against cameras. CAPE leader Rebecca Valentich told TheNewspaper that she was thrilled with the outcome.

“We came together as individuals, and we united as a community,” Valentich said. “The people have spoken, and very clearly. Our voices have been heard and thanks to the people and their strong voices, the cameras will be coming down. It is a huge victory, and one that we can all be proud of. And although our mayor has gone on record saying that he will fight the will of the people, his fight against the rights of the people will only bring a stronger united front from the community.”

In College Station, Texas the city’s automated ticketing vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) bankrolled a front group to conduct mass mailings and push polling in an effort to save the program that would have earned the company more than $11 million over the life of the contract. The ATS-funded group reported raising $71,240 in contributions, but not one dollar came from anyone living in the local community. To supplement the vendor’s effort, the city allocated taxpayer money to send red light camera promotional material to every voter. College Station activist Jim Ash, who led the fight to put the issue on the ballot, watched the results with a large group of supporters.

“It has been nothing but celebration here,” Ash told TheNewspaper minutes after the results became final.

In Heath, voters were bombarded with the same advertisements from Redflex, but they failed to persuade a majority. Voters also defeated Mayor Richard Waugh who had introduced photo enforcement as the signature issue of his administration.

“You can fight city hall and win, when you have a passion for what you believe in,” We Demand a Vote spokesman Lori Lyons said in a statement.

[courtesy thenewspaper.com]

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15 Comments on “Texas, Ohio: Voters Reject Photo Enforcement...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Fight the power – hell yes!!!!!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Once again, freedom defeats totalitarianism. God bless the USA.

  • avatar
    twotone

    I hope this attitude and call to action spread across the country. Way to go!

    Twotone

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I think there are two messages here. The obvious one is that people don’t want automated traffic enforcement. I also suspect that they don’t want rigid, all-encompassing enforcement of existing laws even if it is performed by police officers rather than machines.

    Many traffic laws are absurd and the proper solution is to reform them. Changes like 85th percentile speed limits, reasonably long yellows at stoplights and changing most stop signs to yield signs would go a long way to encourage voluntary compliance. In the absence of reform, inefficient enforcement is a tolerable compromise.

  • avatar

    I think there are two messages here. The obvious one is that people don’t want automated traffic enforcement. I also suspect that they don’t want rigid, all-encompassing enforcement of existing laws even if it is performed by police officers rather than machines.

    Many traffic laws are absurd and the proper solution is to reform them. Changes like 85th percentile speed limits, reasonably long yellows at stoplights and changing most stop signs to yield signs would go a long way to encourage voluntary compliance. In the absence of reform, inefficient enforcement is a tolerable compromise.

    I would add that politicians need to remember that law enforcement means law enforcement, not making money.

    John

  • avatar
    RichardD

    This is a great lesson — let’s stop talking about change, let’s impose change.

    Although I’m not sure how well a complicated argument like 85th percentile would sell given the past 20 years of “speed kills” propaganda.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    The College Station and Hearth results are scary and could have gone the other way easily. The massive industry-funded advertising in those towns goes to show how easily people will believe 2+2=5 if you tell them long and loudly enough. I bet not nearly as many residents were exposed to the anti-camera message as they were to the pro-camera ads.

  • avatar
    srd275

    The results are very good considering the camera vendors always like to spit the “majority” support photo enforcement.

    Photo enforcement will be on its way out. The reason is that it is nothing more than a numbers game.

    Photo companies MUST HAVE VIOLATIONS to be profitable. That is what people are slowly starting to figure out as they get whacked for stopping 1 inch over a stop line, right turn on red. Or my personal favorite as of late, fake school zones set up in Baltimore MD so they can install speed cameras. http://blog.motorists.org/maryland-cities-undermine-school-zone-safety/

  • avatar
    Corvair

    I would sure like to see a similar revolt here in Chicago, where the red light cameras raised almost $45 million for city government.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    “I’m not sure how well a complicated argument like 85th percentile would sell given the past 20 years of “speed kills” propaganda.”

    It’s time to start pushing 85th percentile for the next twenty years then, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    given the past 20 years of “speed kills” propaganda

    It’s not been twenty years; it’s at least fifty. I’m sure that if you ask someone old enough, he will tell you that it pre-dates World War II.

  • avatar
    Alsadius

    I’m glad of the results, but I’m not convinced that photo radar is the problem. The problem is absurd speed limits – if a reasonable set of limits was enforced automatically, I’d be all for it.

  • avatar
    texlovera

    Although the results in Heath and College Station were diappointingly close, it’s still a win. Thank God people are waking up and letting politicians know that we’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore (channeling my inner Peter Finch).

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    SRD275 is right
    MUST HAVE VIOLATIONS is key concept differentiating what could have been a decent but suboptimal modern electronic solution from what they really do. City and vendor adjust and adjust until its profitable, and decrease safety, in pursuit of revenue.

    Your increased fine dollars are going to support pension payments for retired city workers.

    Your next rear ender is an unintended but acceptable byproduct.

    Mass is deciding to head down this road in pursuit of revenue to state, not caring about losses in emergency rooms, morgues, body shops.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Pity the UK subjects don’t get a direct say in how they are treated.


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