Second Texas City Initiates Traffic Camera Referendum

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Inspired by the success of the College Station, Texas initiative banning red light cameras, activists a hundred miles away in are collecting signatures to do the same in Baytown. Officials in the Gulf Coast city of 72,000 allowed American Traffic Solutions to set up the cameras in April 2008, but resident Byron Schirmbeck is circulating a petition in the hopes of giving voters the opportunity to take them back down. “The response has been absolutely overwhelming,” Schirmbeck told TheNewspaper. “I am conservative in saying that I have had less than ten percent of people I asked at public places refuse to sign because they support the cameras. The usual response to the question, ‘Would you like to sign the petition to ban the red light cameras?’ is ‘Hell yes’ and ‘Can I get my wife to sign it too?'”

Schirmbeck formed the Baytown Red Light Camera Coalition PAC to coordinate the petition drive. He needs 620 verified signatures to qualify the initiative for the next ballot. No photo enforcement program has ever survived a public referendum.

Schirmbeck has been especially interested in the issue since he caught the city using illegally short yellow times in an effort to increase revenue. After he beat his ticket at West Baker and Garth Roads earlier this year, the city increased the yellow time to 4.5 seconds on June 5. Seeing the number of $75 violations drop, the city decreased the yellow time to 4.0 seconds in July. The city justified this change by putting up a 40 MPH speed limit sign on the camera-monitored approach, even though the other side of the same road is posted at 45 MPH. Texas law sets minimum yellow timing standards according to the posted speed limit.

“Just when I think I have seen the city do everything they can to keep their revenue with the cameras they go and surprise me again,” Schirmbeck said.

[courtesy thenewspaper.com]

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  • Texlovera Texlovera on Nov 16, 2009

    "Cluestick! Apply directly to forehead of elected officials!" What a wonderful political class we have these days...

  • Lumbergh21 Lumbergh21 on Nov 17, 2009

    Just remember it's a safety issue. You can't possibly be against safety can you? (sarcasm for those of you who didn't catch it)

  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
  • GregLocock Car companies can only really sell cars that people who are new car buyers will pay a profitable price for. As it turns out fewer and fewer new car buyers want sedans. Large sedans can be nice to drive, certainly, but the number of new car buyers (the only ones that matter in this discussion) are prepared to sacrifice steering and handling for more obvious things like passenger and cargo space, or even some attempt at off roading. We know US new car buyers don't really care about handling because they fell for FWD in large cars.
  • Slavuta Why is everybody sweating? Like sedans? - go buy one. Better - 2. Let CRV/RAV rust on the dealer lot. I have 3 sedans on the driveway. My neighbor - 2. Neighbors on each of our other side - 8 SUVs.
  • Theflyersfan With sedans, especially, I wonder how many of those sales are to rental fleets. With the exception of the Civic and Accord, there are still rows of sedans mixed in with the RAV4s at every airport rental lot. I doubt the breakdown in sales is publicly published, so who knows... GM isn't out of the sedan business - Cadillac exists and I can't believe I'm typing this but they are actually decent - and I think they are making a huge mistake, especially if there's an extended oil price hike (cough...Iran...cough) and people want smaller and hybrids. But if one is only tied to the quarterly shareholder reports and not trends and the big picture, bad decisions like this get made.
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