4/12/2012Chicago, Illinois Politicians Get An Earful On Speed Camera Plan
Aldermen in Chicago, Illinois report no widespread support for new speed camera program.
By The Expired Meter
Based on constituent input, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's speed camera ordinance is not very popular with Chicago, Illinois drivers. The Expired Meter spent the last few days calling all fifty ward community offices to get a feel for what Chicagoans were telling their city council members about the speed camera plan adopted in committee yesterday.
Overall, different city wards seemed to be experiencing varied levels of response from their communities. According to many ward offices, they had not received any calls or emails on the controversial traffic enforcement plan. At two ward offices, staff members were completely unfamiliar with the issue. Other offices said they had received calls, but they would not divulge which way the sentiment was leaning. Several never returned our calls.
However, of the fourteen wards seeing significant constituent response and willing to reveal citizen sentiment, the majority reported overwhelming opposition to the speed camera plan.
City council member offices receiving a majority of phone calls and emails asking their alderman to vote no on the ordinance include Aldermen Joe Moreno, Pat Dowell, John Arena, Scott Waguespack, Nicholas Sposato, Richard Mell, James Cappleman, Mary O'Connor and Tom Tunney.
"While we have not been flooded with response like some other wards, I have received approximately 35 emails, five calls, and two-drop-ins," said 44th Ward spokesman Max Bever. "Only one was in favor."
The 1st ward was seeing overwhelming negative response according to spokesman Matt Bailey.
"Of the email correspondence we've received, ninety-five percent is against," related Bailey.
The other five wards who shared info with this site said they were hearing mixed feelings from the constituents who were calling or emailing. This group included Aldermen Margaret Laurino, Sandi Jackson, Tim Cullerton, Howard Brookins, Michael Zalewski and Marty Quinn.
No wards reported a scenario where the majority of constituents supported the speed cameras, but will constituent opposition sway elected representatives?
"Alderman Cappleman is concerned he hasn't seen solid numbers on the issue," said 46th ward Chief of Staff Tressa Feher who's office is seeing seventy percent of constituents in opposition to the ordinance. "Is it worth the money? We haven't seen the actual stats."
"Our constituent response is always important," says Bever. "At this time, Alderman Tunney still has many concerns about the facts and data surrounding the need for the speed cameras, as well as their placement and installation in the city (especially, who has say over where the cameras get installed). Expect a vigorous debate at the committee meeting."
Detailed coverage of Chicago motoring issues can be found at The Expired Meter.