5/6/2008Ohio: Push for a Vote on Red Light Cameras Gathers Steam
Powerful coalition backs effort to force a referendum on the use of red light cameras in Cincinnati, Ohio.
An activist group is nearly one-quarter of the way toward forcing Cincinnati, Ohio to put the question of red light cameras to voters on the November ballot. The "We Demand Coalition" is a collection of activist groups from the left, right and center of the political spectrum. It held a press conference at city hall yesterday to announce a strong new effort underway to gather the 8000 signatures needed to meet an August deadline to qualify for a ballot initiative. About 2000 residents have already signed.
"Now that the weather's nice, we'll be out pounding the pavement," coalition co-chairman Josh Weitzman told TheNewspaper. "Most people are in support of what we're doing."
The coalition is made up of regional chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, Blue Chip Young Republicans, Hamilton County Business Owners and Americans for Prosperity.
Last year, the coalition succeeded in gathering 57,000 signatures needed to defeat a county-wide sales tax increase. Weitzman expects the added manpower will help to gather signatures on the photo ticketing issue at local events and on busy street corners. The group set up a website with additional information at WeDemandAVote.com.
If successful, the petition would likely spell the end of photo enforcement in Cincinnati. A 2006 initiative in the city of Steubenville ended with three out of every four voters rejecting camera ticketing. Between 1991 and 1997, voters in Anchorage, Alaska; Batavia, Illinois and Peoria, Arizona also rejected the systems by significant margins.
Article Excerpt:For submission of Proposed Amendment to the Charter of the City of Cincinnati
A M E N D M E N T
TITLE: AN AMENDMENT TO THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF CINCINNATI TO LIMIT USE OF PHOTO-MONITORING DEVICES TO DETECT CERTAIN TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATIONS.
TEXT: Be it resolved by the people of the City of Cincinnati that a new Article XIV of the Charter is hereby added as follows:
Section 1. The City, including its various Boards, agencies and departments, shall not use any traffic law photo-monitoring device for the enforcement of a qualified traffic law violation, unless a law enforcement officer is present at the location of the device and
personally issues the ticket to the alleged violator at the time and location of the violation.
Section 2. Definitions. As used in this Article XIV:
a) Law enforcement officer" means any law enforcement officer employed by the City or any other political jurisdiction in Ohio, including the State. The City may from time to time and in its discretion, by ordinance or resolution, designate which City employees are, "law enforcement officers" for purposes of this Article XIV.
b) "Qualified law traffic violation" means a violation of any of the following: (1) any state or local law relating to complying with a traffic control signal or a railroad crossing sign or signal; or (2) any state or local law limiting the speed of a motor vehicle.
c) "Ticket" means any traffic ticket, citation, summons, or other notice of liability (whether civil or criminal) issued in response to an alleged qualified traffic law violation detected by a traffic law photo-monitoring device.
d) "Traffic law photo-monitoring device" means an electronic system consisting of a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a means of sensing the presence of a motor vehicle that automatically produces photographs, videotape, or digital images of the vehicle, its license plate or its operator.
Section 3. Any ordinance enacted prior to the passage of this Amendment that contravenes any of the foregoing is void. After the enactment of this Amendment, the City shall not enact or enforce any ordinance that contravenes any of the foregoing. In the event that any provision of this Article XIV is found to be unconstitutional or impermissibly in conflict with state or federal law, only such provision found to be unconstitutional or impermissible will be stricken, and the remainder of this Article XIV will remain in full force and effect.