By on November 2, 2010

The city of Houston, Texas sought to keep secret all detailed information about the performance of its red light camera program on the eve of an election that will decide their fate. Yesterday, Paul Kubosh, co-founder of Citizens Against Red Light Cameras, filed suit in Harris County District Court seeking a court order compelling the release of accident data at intersections equipped with automated ticketing machines. Voters head to the polls today to decide whether or not the city will be allowed to continue using the devices.

“The city of Houston is not in compliance with the Texas Public Information Act by reason of failing to release requested public information,” attorney Randall Kallinen wrote in his brief to the court. “The monthly Location Performance Summary Reports from Houston red light camera contractor American Traffic Solutions, Inc., from September 30, 2008, to September 30, 2010, are public records under the Texas Public Information Act and not subject to any exception to release.”

Kubosh had sent his request for these reports on October 5. Under state law, the city had until October 19 to either supply the information or petition the state attorney general for a ruling on why the material should be considered exempt. The city has done neither. The city’s contractor, on the other hand, has been busy undermining the citizen initiative. As of October 25, American Traffic Solutions had spent $1.5 million in legal expenses for its failed effort to block the referendum in addition to an advertising blitz designed to rescue the program.

“Suppression has been the modus operandi by the pro camera advocates during entirety of the campaign — from trying to deny the people the right vote to suppressing data that would expose the lie that is the red light camera,” the anti-camera group’s spokesman, Philip Owens, told TheNewspaper. “Sadly this is nothing new, but we are engaged in the fight and plan on finishing”

The documents are of particular interest because research in the nearby city of Baytown revealed that accidents increased 40 percent at red light camera locations. Baytown is also holding a citizen initiative to ban photo ticketing.


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11 Comments on “Houston, Texas Attempts to Hide Red Light Camera Safety Data...”

  • avatar

    Red light camera companies can get away with a lot of thing in the United States, but the republic of Texas is not the USA. It has it’s own “don’t tread on me” attitude. Texans pride themselves on being independent, rough and rowdy, beer drinking, pistol totting, dully driving, beef eating, cowboys (and gals). I know because I lived there for 12 years.
    Redflex doesn’t stand a chance.

  • avatar

    I hope so, because the Pro-ATS group now has local(?) first responders (Fire, Medical, etc) on TV. But I voted and made my opinion matter.
    I hope everyone else, everywhere else voted today!

  • avatar

    I received a flyer from the pro-cams side last weekend. I didn’t realize that Mattress Mac is the treasurer of the PAC. If the cams are not voted down, I say put them up on the I-45 feeder on all sides of Gallery Furniture!

  • avatar

    My jaw dropped when I saw that!  Jim should leave Gallery Furniture, give it to the kids and work for ATS…because at ATS
    “We really will SPEND…YOUR…MONEY!”

  • avatar

    Vote no on the Houston cameras (Prop. 3).  Why?

    Read this from a 2010 report by the police chief of a Southern California suburb which has had cameras since early 2005.

    “Our research in Gardena has revealed there is no significant traffic safety impact as a result of the use of the red light cameras. At almost every intersection where we have cameras, collisions have remained the same, decreased very slightly, or increased depending on the intersection you examine. When combining the statistics of all the intersections, the overall consensus is that there is not a noticeable safety enhancement to the public.”  (Gardena, California Police Chief Edward Medrano, in written staff report presented at 2-9-10 city council meeting.  To confirm authenticity of this quote, contact the Gardena city clerk, at 310 217-9500.)

    In other words, the cameras do nothing but take money out of the private/consumer economy, sending much of it out of state.

  • avatar

    I got my beautiful color pictures in the mail, one was 2 years ago, another one 2 weeks ago, the first one was exit 4B on the 95 south to the Bronx River Pkway, only me in the picture, very difficult place to predict when will the light change, you pay attention to cars coming from 2 directions, the middle lane cars will never let you pass by so you have to squeeze in and it’s easy to skip the changing light.
    2 weeks ago, 57 st and 12 ave, it was me and 2 other cars almost behind me, and what if I decided to stop? will they hit me? I was probably going 40mph, it’s the last traffic light before you hit 50mph for the west side hwy.
    Lucky me, it’s only $50 fine, no questions asked, they basically don’t care who was the driver.
    It’s the only 2 tickets I’ve got in the last 15 years driving every single day in NYC.

  • avatar

    Someone reported you could appeal a camera ticket in their city by sending the appeal to a post office box in Mexico. Not mentioned was if you had to do it in Spanish.
    Some legislatures have limited the ticket fine to a parking ticket. To beat this, some cities calculated the fine of a Pete tractor-trailer rig blocking 8 handicap spaces and used that as the “parking ticket.”  Others have used a “normal” parking ticket then thrown a $366 “excise tax” on it to run it up to over $400.

  • avatar

    Thanks all. That shameful Prop 3 is defeated. I’m extremely proud of my fellow Houstonians.

    • 0 avatar

      Me too!
      The Chronicle is spinning this as bad news, because the city is estimated to lose 10 million dollars in revenue:
      If they need that money: tax us some more.  Don’t ticket us and increase the rate of rear end collisions and whatnot…

    • 0 avatar

      + 1

      SO, it is about the money. As a business owner, I agree with taxing us. At least, I can write off the expense.

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