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10/9/2015
Another Texas Town Prepares To Ban Red Light Cameras
Jersey Village could become the seventh city in Texas where residents outlawed the use of automated ticketing machines.

Barry Klein and Dan Comstock
Jersey Village may soon become the seventh city in Texas to outlaw the use of red light cameras. Barry Klein says he and fellow limited-government activists last weekend secured about a third of the signatures needed to qualify for the May 2016 ballot. The members of Ban the Cams in Jersey Village walked door-to-door in the Houston suburb and found plenty of residents eager to sign the petition to put the cameras' fate in the hands of voters.

"Red light camera are simply an example of government officials and employees at all levels becoming too powerful, too hungry for revenue, too eager to be reelected, and too willing to bend the rules and deceive the citizenry to achieve their goals," Klein told TheNewspaper.

Even if the group reaches the minimum amount in the next few weeks, it will continue collecting signatures through Thanksgiving to send a clear message. The petition circulation effort also helps educate the public about the downsides of automated enforcement. That will help the measure's chance on Election Day.

"I'm fairly optimistic, because whenever motorists in Texas have a chance to vote on red light cameras, they vote to take them down," Klein explained.

Texas residents have voted to oust red light cameras in Conroe, Dayton, Houston, Baytown, League City, Arlington and College Station by margins of as much as 77 percent against. Nationwide, voters overwhelming oppose the use of cameras at the ballot box (view list).

Klein hopes the effort will serve as an example for other Harris County cities to follow. These could become much more common, as referendum efforts in Texas received a boost last month when the state's second highest court rejected the efforts of American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to nullify the results of the anti-camera vote in Arlington (view case). The same Arizona-based company owns and operates the cameras in Jersey Village.

"I think government is too expensive, too powerful and manipulated by special interests to the detriment of the ordinary citizen," he explained. "So I want to reduce the range of activity that government engages in."

Article Excerpt:
Text of the Petition to ban Red Light Cameras

To the Mayor and City Council of the City of Jersey Village ("City"), we, the undersigned voters of the City of Jersey Village, Texas, under Section 9.004 of the Local Government Code, hereby petition for an election to amend the Charter of the City of Jersey Village to add the following as a separate section to our Charter to read as follows:

The City of Jersey Village shall not use photographic traffic signal enforcement systems to civilly, criminally, or administratively enforce any state law or City Ordinance against the owner or operator of a vehicle operated in violation of a traffic control signal, specified by Section 544.007(d) of the Texas Transportation Code, nor shall it collect any money from any recipient of a Notice of Violation issued, in whole or in part, in connection with the use of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system.


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