As one of the frequent topics I discuss on this blog, I am not a fan of red light cameras.
Continuing from the story I posted last month, American Traffic Solutions or ATS, filed a federal lawsuit over the charter amendment in the 2010 election that the voters told the city to shut the cameras off.
The city did stop issuing citations, but ATS continued silently collecting observations to use in their court case. Friday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes invalidated the charter amendment, saying the city at large cannot reverse an ordinance once it has been in effect for more than 30 days (and of course that ordinance was passed clear back in 2004 by then-Mayor Bill “Boss Hogg” White).
The case going to Federal Court versus a state court appears to be a power move, knowing that judges at the Federal Level tend to want to legislate from the bench, since a state court (particularly here in conservative Texas) would have been more in the people’s favor.
The city now has to fulfil the terms of the contract (yet another “Boss Hogg” White doing, just before his term-limited departure at the end of 2009), and turn the cameras back on, or fight ATS for termination of the contract (which of course would now require a city council vote, which could go either way based on the council) and end the agreement.
Based on the facts known in the case, I suspect the city will just turn the cameras back on, despite proven evidence that accidents at many of the camera monitored intersections decreased with the cameras off.
In a time where the city is bleeding money, do they really need to spend time and money on a system that costs them money, yet fails to return money to the city’s coffers? Likewise, with them laying off police officers, do we really need to pull a select number off the streets to analyze and issue the citations?
Mayor Parker, City Council, a beg of you, pull the plug, take the cameras down, and end this exercise in municipal stupidity. The voters asked for it, please respect our wishes.