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2/23/2005
ACS Influence on the Philadelphia Camera Contract
ACS used influence in an attempt to land Philadelphia red light camera contract.

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell
The city of Philadelphia has just activated its first red light camera. It turns out that the Parking Authority clerks who decide who gets a ticket will be looking at digital scans of 35mm wet film photos, contrary to the intent of the legislature.

"I wanted to designate wet film because anything else could be tampered with," state Rep. Richard Geist said last year. He inserted a provision in the camera legislation specifying that only 35mm film could be used.

The Philadelphia Daily News explained the circumstances surrounding the film provision. Dallas-based ACS is the largest U.S. camera contractor and is one of the few that have not yet converted to all-digital systems. ACS used a lot of money to influence the legislature, paying S.R. Wojdak & Associates $175,910 in lobbying fees. Stephen Wojdak just happens to be a lobbyist for the city of Philadelphia and raised money for the mayor's campaign.

ACS itself gave $55,000 to the mayor, $5000 to the legislator who wrote the camera legislation and $75,000 to Governor Rendell.

ACS already had made nearly $40 million from existing contracts with the city, and the president of ACS State & Local Solutions is a former consultant for Philadelphia's Parking Authority. The company's senior VP is also a former managing director for the city. The provision was designed to virtually assure that ACS would land the contract which ultimately went to Mulvihill Intelligent Control Systems.

Article Excerpt:
Remember how elected officials insisted on nondigital cameras for the city's new red-light spy system? State House Speaker John Perzel and other legislators backed so-called wet-film cameras because they claimed digital images could be easily manipulated. Turns out, the city will be using digital photographs after all.
Source: Film cameras will yield digital images (Philadelphia Daily News, 2/23/2005)

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