8/7/2010Washington: Judge Tosses Attempt to Block Public Vote on Traffic Cameras
Snohomish County, Washington judge orders voter referendum on banning photo enforcement to proceed.
A Snohomish County Superior Court judge yesterday rejected the attempt of a traffic camera company-funded front group to stop citizens in Mukilteo, Washington from voting on an anti-camera referendum. Judge Michael T. Downes found no merit in the arguments filed by the proxy of American Traffic Solutions (ATS).
"The court having heard the representations and arguments of counsel and being fully advised in the premises; now, therefore, it is hereby ordered, adjudged and decreed that plaintiff's motion for declaratory judgment and relief is denied," Downes wrote.
The initiative sponsors, Nicholas Sherwood, Alex Rion, and Tim Eyman responded enthusiastically to the decision which clears the way for the measure banning photo enforcement to hit the November 2 ballot (view initiative). A majority of likely voters has already signed the petition calling for the referendum, making enactment of the measure a near certainty.
"Over twenty cities in Washington have automatic ticketing machines (red-light cameras and speed cameras) and our small little town will be the first city to ever ask its citizens if this Big Brother, profit-making scheme has the consent of the governed," Eyman wrote in an email to supporters. "Nationwide, in ten cities, citizens have risen up, fought back, and forced a public vote, and, in all ten cases, the voters have rejected them by huge margins. Mukilteo will be the eleventh vote."
From the bench, Judge Downes indicated that having the public involved in the political process is a positive thing.
"This is a unique situation where citizens want to vote but also the city council, the duly elected representatives, also want to hear from the electorate," Downes said. "A lawsuit at this point is premature. I don't know how voters are going to vote on this but I see no harm in letting them vote. If it is approved, plaintiffs or those with interest in this issue can file a legal challenge afterwards, but again, I see no harm in having this proceed."
A copy of the order is available in a 550k PDF file at the source link below.