Washington: Anti-Camera Referendum Spreads to Redmond
The initiative effort to give voters a say in whether red light cameras and speed cameras are used has spread to a fifth city in Washington state. The group BanCams.com began circulating petitions in Redmond, kicking off an effort on Saturday to gather the 3845 signatures required to put the measure on the ballot. The referendum petition follows the language used in Bellingham, Longview, Monroe and Wenatchee where signatures have been gathered since January.
“The city of Redmond and for-profit companies contracted by the city of Redmond may not install or use automatic ticketing cameras to impose fines from camera surveillance unless such a system is approved by a majority vote of the city council and a majority vote of the people at an election,” Redmond Initiative Number One states.
If approved, the measure would repeal the council ordinance that authorized a five-year contract granting American Traffic Solutions the right to issue automated red light and speeding tickets on the city’s behalf. It then prohibits use of cameras unless a majority of Redmond voters approve of the installation. The tickets would then be limited to just $20 each, the amount of the least expensive parking ticket.
Redmond resident Scott Harlan is taking the lead in his home town, aided by the statewide coordination provided by Campaign for Liberty and Voters Want More Choices. The same team helped win 71 percent of voters banning cameras in Mukilteo in November.
Elsewhere in the country, Election Day saw cameras banned in Houston, Texas; Baytown, Texas; Anaheim, California; and Garfield Heights, Ohio. Photo enforcement has never survived when the question is put directly to voters. Last year, 61 percent of Sykesville, Maryland voters overturned a speed camera ordinance. In 2009, eighty-six percent of Sulphur, Louisiana rejected speed cameras, 72 percent said no in Chillicothe, Ohio; Heath, Ohio and College Station, Texas also rejected cameras. In 2008, residents in Cincinnati, Ohio rejected red light cameras. Seventy-six percent of Steubenville, Ohio voters rejected photo radar in 2006. In the mid-1990s, speed cameras lost by a two-to-one margin in Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois. In 1997, voters in Anchorage, Alaska banned cameras even after the local authorities had removed them. In 2003, 64 percent of voters in Arlington, Texas voted down “traffic management cameras” that opponents at the time said could be converted into ticketing cameras.
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