By on April 15, 2010

Voters in California’s tenth largest city will have an opportunity to ban red light cameras in November. On Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council unanimously endorsed the idea of placing a charter amendment on the ballot that, if approved by the public, would ensure that automated ticketing machines never appear on city streets. Mayor Curt Pringle, a former speaker of the California State Assembly, offered the measure even though his city has never used cameras.

“I believe there’s enough evidence now that demonstrates that red light cameras do not necessarily cause safer intersections,” Pringle explained. “I believe many red light cameras that are placed around this county or around the state are done for the purpose of local government’s revenue collection as opposed to traffic safety… I am very disappointed when government thinks its sole purpose is to raise revenue and use public safety as a revenue raising tool as opposed to using public safety as the first requirement of the city.”

Pringle explained that although he has never received a red light camera ticket, he did receive a notice of infraction in the mail forwarded by a rental car company because he had inadvertently strayed into a bus lane in London. Troubled by the expansion in government power this represented, Pringle did not want the devices to spread to the city in the future.

“I do think that we have to be very cautious about what these cameras can be used for,” Pringle said. “When proposals go through the state legislature to use existing cameras for other means of collecting revenue such as speeding enforcement and other purposes I think it really does challenge what we’re doing here in a government institution.”

Pringle’s colleagues were enthusiastic about the ballot measure.

“I wholeheartedly support that proposal given what I know about red light cameras and how they have come about and how the whole process works,” Councilman Bob Hernandez said. “It is somewhat distasteful to me the way that program is instituted in so many communities and the fact that there’s no real hard evidence to show that it provides any kind of improvement in traffic safety. Quite the contrary.”

Councilman Harry Sidhu complained about getting a $465 ticket for slowly and safely turning right at a red light. Councilman Lucille Kring added that charging “a big chunk of change” for such a minor infraction was outrageous.

Anaheim’s move followed news that the city of San Carlos has dropped the use of red light cameras after lengthening the duration of the yellow light at intersections had nearly eliminated violations. Once on the ballot, no photo enforcement program has ever survived a public vote.


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4 Comments on “Anaheim, California To Hold Anti-Traffic Camera Referendum...”

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Why not get law enforcement on the side of these anti-camera movements? If most ticketing in America goes from being administered by police to automated machines, that threatens state and local law enforcement budgets.

    Get the police on your side and the movement will spread like wildfire. I assume that police are opposed to automated ticketing for matters of self-interest… Are there any police that can confirm this?

  • avatar

    Kudos to Anaheim. And wow, intelligence has been found in CA!

  • avatar

    A city that is considering putting in cameras should have a look at California, where cities are removing them as fast as they can. Compton, Cupertino, El Monte, Fairfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Indian Wells, Irvine, Maywood, Montclair, Moreno Valley, Paramount, Redlands, Roseville, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Maria and Upland all have shut their systems. This week Loma Linda and San Carlos voted to let their contracts expire without renewal. (They had hoped to terminate the contracts immediately, but would have had to pay Redflex a big penalty for the privilege.) And then there is Anaheim’s preemptive action.

  • avatar

    This whole camera thing is becoming kind of goofy.

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