12/4/2008Anti-Camera Protest at Arizona Redflex Office
Members of the public protest at the Phoenix, Arizona office of Redflex Traffic Systems.
Protesters hit the main Arizona office of photo enforcement vendor Redflex Traffic Systems yesterday to urge the company to pack its bags and "return to Australia." About three dozen activists armed with signs stood out in front of the speed camera company's posh new Phoenix suite at 23751 North 23rd Avenue to hold signs while passing motorists honked in approval.
"This event was fantastic," camerafraud.com member Todd Kandaris wrote after the event. "Who would have guessed that expressing dissent could be so much fun?"
Local media interest was high as the group's organizers are actively plotting a statewide ballot initiative that would give residents a chance to ban photo ticketing. More residents have opened to that opportunity in the past three months as Redflex has issued 40,401 freeway photo tickets worth $7.5 million. With the program generating revenue at a rate of $10,000 an hour, a storm of complaints has hit state officials who have reported an increase in angry telephone calls.
Observers now wonder whether the legislature will act before the ticket ban initiative even qualifies for the ballot. The photo radar program's staunchest defender, Governor Janet Napolitano (D), is leaving the state to head the US Department of Homeland Security. Her successor, Secretary of State Jan Brewer (R), has been snubbed in the past by Redflex.
Regardless, the unrest brings uncertainty to the company operating the greatest number of red light cameras and speed cameras in the US. Losing the statewide freeway contract and the ability to issue tickets in Chandler, Pinal County, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Prescott Valley, Star Valley and Tempe would deliver a multi-million dollar blow to the Australian firm. In 2005, shares of Redflex stock plunged to just A$3 on the Australian Securities Exchange after the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill that would have banned photo ticketing. The stock recovered after the bill narrowly failed to pass the state Senate.
Investors down under have yet to take the current Arizona situation into account. Shares closed today at A$3.15, up significantly from its low of A$2.06 as recently as July.