12/28/2007Ohio: Third City Attempts Anti-Camera Referendum
NAACP begins push for charter amendment that would ban red light cameras in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Residents of Cincinnati took the first step yesterday on the way to becoming the third Ohio community to have the chance to vote out red light cameras. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Cincinnati chapter joined with Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes attorney Christopher P Finney to begin collecting the 8800 signatures required to place a charter amendment banning automated ticketing machines on the November 2008 ballot.
"This expansion I see of government into the private lives of citizens is very concerning," NAACP chapter President Christopher Smitherman told the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper. "I have a sense that big brother is watching more and more and our civil liberties are being eroded."
If successful, Cincinnati voters would join East Cleveland and Steubenville in having a public say on the future of photo enforcement. Last month the East Cleveland community activist group known as Black on Black Crime secured the required number of signatures to put cameras on an upcoming ballot. In November 2006, three out of every four voters in Steubenville agreed to kick out the devices in the state's first public vote on the devices. Despite claims that red light cameras are popular, no photo enforcement program has ever survived a referendum.
Earlier this month, Cincinnati's city council adopted a red light camera ordinance as part of the city budget in a bid to avoid a mayoral veto. In 2005, Mayor Charlie Luken spiked a similar camera ordinance claiming the council came up with the idea over revenue, not safety, concerns. Council members expect the cameras to generate $1 million in annual revenue.