2/15/2008Albuquerque, NM Showdown Over Ticket Cameras
Albuquerque, New Mexico ticket cameras shut down while mayor challenges governor to veto anti-camera profit legislation.
The mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico yesterday suspended the city's red light camera and speed camera program. Mayor Marty Chavez (D) ordered the move in direct response to the state legislature's adoption of legislation that would take automated ticketing profit away from Albuquerque and direct the funds into state court coffers (view bill).
The suspension appears to be a temporary. Earlier this year the city council discovered that it had no ability to cancel the city's ticketing contract with Redflex because of backroom agreements Chavez had made with the Australian vendor in 2005. Chavez now believes that the suspension could may pressure Governor Bill Richardson (D) to veto the legislation, as he had done in 2007. Lawmakers this year, however, could easily override a veto as only one state senator stood up in favor of Albuquerque's ticket program while the state House voted 53-10 to take Albuquerque's ticket profit.
Chavez briefly toyed with the idea of killing the automated ticketing program on his own after it proved unpopular and became a drag on his aspirations to higher office. After this hope faded, Chavez returned to championing the devices.