11/10/2005Petition May Stop Scottsdale Photo Radar
Three thousand signatures could derail Scottsdale, Arizona's freeway photo radar plans.
Scottsdale, Arizona's plan to raise $22 million in revenue through the use of speed cameras on the Loop 101 freeway could be stopped by a vote of the public. Local activist Michael Merrill is attempting to gather 3,384 signatures in the city of 200,000 within the next two weeks to qualify for a referendum on the March 14 election ballot. More than 500 signatures have been collected so far.
"This campaign started late because it was the governor's comments that finally forced someone to step up to the plate," Merill told TheNewspaper. "The governor made the comment that she is hoping other cities follow Scottsdale's lead, which, in fact, pointed to the problem that the governor has no intention to fix the problem with DPS staffing and pay issues. The bottom line is this is just a bad plan that will accomplish nothing."
A successful petition would put the speed cameras on hold pending the referendum's outcome. The city has been speeding toward a February 9, 2006 deployment of the technology, intending to have the system running before the state legislature convenes and has an opportunity to stop it. The Arizona Senate passed a bill banning freeway photo radar in March, but although a majority of voting House members supported the ban in a May vote, the measure fell two votes shy of the number needed for final passage. Technical difficulties have prevented Scottsdale from submitting the required paperwork to the state's transportation department for approval.
In the past, speed cameras have lost every time the issue has been put to a public vote. In 1991, the Arizona town of Peoria booted photo radar by a 2-to-1 margin. The following year, Batavia, Illinois voted to oust the devices. Anchorage, Alaska eliminated photo radar in a 1997 referendum.
Scottsdale residents interested in supporting the petition effort can contact Merrill by emailing him at F8713@aol.com.