3/25/2015Texas: Red Light Camera Firm Makes Second Attempt To Block Vote
Traffic camera company sues Arlington, Texas to camera ban vote because the mayor did not personally sign the ballot ordinance.
American Traffic Solutions (ATS) will not take "no" for an answer. Earlier this month, a Tarrant County, Texas district court judge rejected the company's attempt to stop Arlington residents from voting on May 9 about whether red light cameras should stay or go. On Tuesday, ATS lawyer Andy Taylor filed an emergency petition challenging Judge Tom Lowe's March 3 decision saying he had no jurisdiction in the matter.
The suit was filed in the name of Jody Weiderman a "voter" who claimed the election would cause immediate harm, even though Weiderman was not even a voter when his name was added to the suit. He was registered to vote last Friday. Despite this, Taylor believes he found a technicality that should stop the people from voting.
"Under the Arlington city charter, no ordinance is effective unless and until the mayor signs that ordinance and the city secretary attests to the mayor's genuine signature," Taylor argued. "As proven below during a hearing on the city's plea to the jurisdiction, the mayor did not sign the special election ordinance and the city secretary admitted under oath that she did not witness the mayor signing the document, but rather, an employee of the city secretary's office merely affixed the mayor's 'signature' by using a rubber stamp bearing his name."
This is exactly what photo ticketing companies like ATS do when they attach a police officer's "signature" and badge number to a red light camera ticket.
This is also not the first off-beat argument ATS has presented in a camera referendum case. Five years ago in Baytown, Taylor argued that allowing a vote on cameras to go forward would be racist, and a violation of the federal voting rights act. In Houston and Ohio, some of the biggest opponents of cameras have been groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other black community groups.
It may already be too late for Taylor's effort, as ballots are currently in the process of being printed and distributed overseas, beginning Wednesday, but Taylor will do anything to stop the vote from going forward.
"Whether the special election ordinance was also void due to the fact that the mayor did not actually sign the document is a fact which is known right now and will not change or depend upon the outcome of the election," Taylor argued. "The election does not have to be held in order to determine its legality, and thus Weiderman's right to declaratory and injunctive relief exists prior to the election's occurrence."