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7/18/2011
California: More Cities Dropping Red Light Cameras
Westminster, California schedules anti-camera referendum. Grand Terrace and San Bernardino try to get out of their ticketing contracts.

Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler DiepThree Southern California cities are taking steps to rid themselves of red light cameras. In Westminster, the city council decided unanimously on Wednesday to ask voters to ban the use of red light cameras in a referendum scheduled for November 2012.

"We gave very clear instructions... to city managers that this red light camera system will not be discussed or considered to be installed in any part of our city," Councilman Andy Quach said on Wednesday. "Tonight is basically a reiteration of that already existing policy.... The council has historically never liked anything that could be considered monitoring its citizens by Big Brother."

As in the nearby city of Anaheim, Westminster has never used automated enforcement. Anaheim's mayor, however, wanted the people to have a say and 73 percent of residents agreed that cameras should be banned. The proposed Westminster measure would make it extremely difficult for politicians to install cameras in the future.

"I don't think any member of this council would consider installing red light cameras," Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep said. "We're more a freedom friendly city, so we're certainly not going to go that route. The four of us may think cameras are bad for our drivers, bad for our residents... so that when the voters ban it completely, whether the four of us are here or not, no future council can bring it back unless there is a vote from the people."

Over in San Bernardino County, the city council in Grand Terrace voted on Tuesday to issue a termination notice to Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company in charge of issuing automated tickets. The cameras would not come down until after the city's contract expires on April 24, 2012 because the agreement contained no early termination clause.

"There was an expectation that citation revenue would cover the cost of the program and provide some additional revenue for the city, which never came to fruition," City Manager Betsy Adams wrote in a memo to the council. "This coupled with the increased workload the program created for the finance department and the sheriff's department is the fiscal reason for not extending the program."

The city council in San Bernardino will meet tomorrow in closed session to discuss the lawsuit American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is expected to file against the city. In March, the council unanimously voted to pay $110,000 to get out of its contract with ATS before the 2014 expiration date. ATS is now demanding payment of $1.8 million.

Localities throughout the state have decided to drop photo ticketing, including Loma Linda and Whittier, Moreno Valley, Rocklin, San Carlos, Union City, Yucaipa and Costa Mesa. Berkeley, Burlingame, Cupertino, Compton, El Monte, Fairfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Indian Wells, Irvine, Maywood, Montclair, Paramount, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Roseville, San Jose (photo radar), Santa Fe Springs, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, and Upland have also rejected their automated ticketing programs.




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