By on January 28, 2011

Residents in four cities in Washington state may opt for a ballot vote to ban the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. This week activists launched a coordinated effort to place the future of photo enforcement to a vote of the people in Bellingham, Longview, Monroe and Wenatchee. Each local group is following the battle plan established in Mukilteo where 71 percent of voters last year ousted automated enforcement.

In the wake of that overwhelming vote, Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman initially promised to hold a public hearing on plans to install speed cameras. He later reneged and went ahead with his plans without consulting public opinion. Ty Balascio, an organizer with the group Seeds of Liberty became determined to bypass the mayor and take the issue directly to the people. Along with statewide coordinators Nicholas Sherwood of, Tim Eyman of Voters Want More Choices and Alex Rion with the Washington chapter of Campaign for Liberty, Balascio hopes to collect 1000 signatures to qualify for the May ballot.

“The city of Monroe and for-profit companies contracted by the city of Monroe may not install or use automatic ticketing cameras to impose fines from camera surveillance unless such a system is approved by a two-thirds vote of the city council and a majority vote of the people at an election,” the proposed initiative states.

The initiative also repeals the existing ordinance authorizing cameras and sets the cost of a citation to that of the least expensive parking ticket. The same language is being offered in Longview by Mike Wallin and Joshua Sutinen who need to secure 2766 signatures. In Bellingham, Johnny Weaver of the Transportation Safety Coalition is seeking 3880. In Wenatchee, Matt Erickson with We The People is looking to line up 2273 signatures.

Each of these local leaders sought help from Eyman, the statewide initiative guru who easily lined up the votes he needed on Election Day in his hometown of Mukilteo. The prospect of having camera programs picked off one by one could stir lawmakers to act on a bill proposed by legislation by state Representative Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw) that would require public approval of any new camera programs.

“We want to see if the legislature can do the right thing on their own,” Eyman told TheNewspaper. “I’ve never seen anything to unify the left and right more. Unless you’re a red light camera company or a city official, you just hate these obnoxious automatic ticketing cameras.”

Other cities could see referendum drives or a statewide initiative might be circulated if the legislature fails to act, Eyman suggested.


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3 Comments on “Washington: Four Cities Consider Red Light Camera Referendum...”

  • avatar

    Here’s how the “Almost Live!” John Report would play out:
    Longview voters had no idea they had any signal lights.
    Monroe residents vote to leave the lights red all the time to “slow down those crazy snowboarders on Highway 2!”
    Wenatchee voters, whipped into a tea-party frenzy of anti-government hatred tear down all of their traffic signals on election day.

    and… Bellingham voters were too stoned to go to the polls.

  • avatar

    “The traveling public does not need red light cameras to enforce civility at intersections. It needs green and yellow light timing that adheres to sound mathematical and human behavior measurements and judgments. It is the signal lights, not the people, that come up short in cities across the United States.”

  • avatar

    Three-second yellows are a nearly-unavoidable non-voter approved transportation tax that hits the most vulnerable the hardest. Cars that pass state safety inspections but cannot stop and cannot get through intersections with the quick yellows should be entrapped and forced to pay $100-$400 from after-tax $11/hr part time wages for a split-second infraction with zero safety impact? Camera tickets are an incredibly regressive tax most often issued in situations having no safety impact.

    Cameras have a devastating impact on jobs. Pulling $10 million from the local economy to send to Arizona or Australia, with the multiplier effect of money in circulation, has the effect of pulling $50 million out of circulation. This is money that directly keeps people working and puts people back to work.

    True, honest “Red light running” results in 2% of fatalities. Even if City claims a 25% drop (always proven to be a fabrication) were true, that means the rate is now 1.5%. This is the best they can do with all that money? The FHWA has a free booklet explaining how to get the same and better results for free.

    Red light cameras have zero effect on this statistic and in fact have consistently been shown to be a counterproductive safety measure. Police officers getting the driver off the road before the crash is the method proven to reduce this figure. The real truth is police officers reduce crashes, deaths and injuries; traffic cameras take pictures of crashes, deaths and injuries.

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