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2/22/2005
Another Chicago Camera Goof Proves Impossible to Fight
Contesting a bogus red light camera ticket is an uphill battle in Chicago.

Lexus
The city of Chicago's new red light camera program is embarrassed again by an another error. This time, the city issued a ticket to Sharon Sweeney, the driver of a silver Lexus.

She received a citation showing a Lexus photographed turning right on a red light apparently without stopping on October 31. It had a completely different license plate from her car. The plate was similar, but not identical, to the plate on her son's Toyota Camry.

Sweeney wrote the city pointing out the obvious error. Weeks later she received a notice that because the city has not heard from her she had to come in for a hearing in person at the city's Revenue Department or pay the $90 fine.

At the hearing, she pointed out the car in the photograph did not belong to her. The hearing officer said because she contested the ticket by mail, he could not give her a hearing and she would have to wait for the city to look at her case and inform her of their decision. Two months later, she heard nothing from them. She contacted Sun Times columnist Mark Brown who called the Chicago DOT whose spokesman was once again eager to email the violation video to the columnist just for asking. They eventually fixed the ticket.

Moral of the story: call a columnist the next time you get a bogus red light camera ticket in Chicago.

Article Excerpt:
[Revenue Department spokesman Efrat] Dallal said Sweeney was "probably confused" about the process and that it all would have worked out if she had just been patient and waited for the city to complete its review. For some reason, Sweeney's not so sure.
Source: Car owner seeing red over red light camera, red tape (Chicago Sun Times, 2/22/2005)

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