8/24/2008Washington, Ohio Ballot Initiatives Scare City Councils
November ballot initiatives in Washington state and Cincinnati, Ohio convince local lawmakers to drop red light camera plans.
City councils in Washington state and Cincinnati, Ohio are dropping plans to install red light cameras after anti-camera ballot initiatives gather an increasing level of public support. In Washington state, one polls showed Initiative 985 enjoys majority support across all demographic and political categories. This congestion reduction ballot proposal would, among other things, direct all revenue from photo tickets to a statewide fund dedicated to congestion relief (view initiative details). After the referendum was certified for the November ballot, Wenatchee City Council became less interested in installing the traffic cameras the city council had previously approved.
"We kind of pulled back right at the end," Mayor Dennis Johnson told the Wenatchee World newspaper. "
"I'm not going to get involved in doing accounting for a state agency... We would have the state looking over our shoulder at records and all of that."
In an interview with TheNewspaper, ReduceCongestion.org co-sponsor Tim Eyman said he was thrilled that his proposal was causing cities to re-think their plans to use both red light cameras and speed cameras. Earlier this year, Aberdeen, Mill Creek and Yakima similarly dropped photo ticketing plans.
In Cincinnati last week, WeDemandAVote coalition activists turned in 13,000 signatures -- more than twice the number needed -- to place a charter amendment on the November ballot banning red light cameras. As a result of the obvious public outcry against the idea of photo ticketing, the city council rejected a proposal to begin installing cameras by a 4-4 vote (the vote would have been a decisive 5-4 against had an absent council member, on the record against cameras, been present). Coalition co-chairman Josh Krekeler vowed to press ahead with the ballot initiative to ensure the city does not install cameras in the future.
"We need a new direction and a new set of priorities that do not involve needlessly oppressing the citizenry and further constructing a police state," Krekeler said in a statement.