In the past five years, five Ohio cities have voted to ban photo enforcement, and two more might be added to the list. The Cuyahoga County Board Of Elections is now counting signatures from residents in South Euclid and East Cleveland who are determined to prohibit automated ticketing in November. On August 3, organizers in East Cleveland handed in 1624 signatures, well more than the 358 needed to qualify in the city of 18,000. South Euclid activists turned in 1076 signatures on July 25.
Efforts to outlaw speed cameras and red light cameras have picked up steam in the past year. At the direction of the city council, Albuquerque, New Mexico will take an advisory vote on banning cameras in October, and Westminster, California will vote on a binding prohibition in November 2012.
Votes are also possible in Murrieta, California; Port Lavaca, Texas; and in the Washington state cities of Bellingham, Longview, Monroe and Wenatchee — although photo enforcement vendors Redflex and American Traffic Solutions (ATS) are exploring every available legal avenue to keep the issue out of the hands of voters. Organizers are prepared for the use of similar tactics in the Buckeye State.
“We would hope that the city council would vote to put it on the November 2011 ballot for the voters of South Euclid to decide,” Grant McCallum told city leaders on the day he handed in the signed petitions. “If the council fails to do that, we will file a lawsuit against the city to give the voters of South Euclid a voice — for all those people who told us it was a scam, a money grab, and they do not want it in the city.”
In East Cleveland, WTAM radio personality Art McKoy had helped collect signatures to put an anti-camera measure on the ballot in 2007, but the vote was blocked on a technicality. This time around, his group expects to make it onto the ballot. Organizers in the much larger city of Cleveland are collecting signatures with the hopes of securing a vote on photo ticketing in March 2012. Cameras have already been banned in Garfield Heights, Chillicothe, Heath, Cincinnati and Steubenville.