Much as I predicted previously, the mayor has decided to ignore the voters and allow American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to turn the red light cameras back on.
This comes despite the fact that the voters clearly said in November 2010 that they wanted the cameras turned off. Of course, ATS took days to do so, and was quick to file the federal lawsuit.
Now ATS says they can be back on within hours of the decision, and the city says the tickets will start being mailed as soon as ATS can conclude “testing.”
I say that any violations are now unenforceable, and that voters should challenge the tickets in court. The city has filed a challenge to the previous ruling, but the challenge is weak. That also means that it is unlikely an injunction would be filed to stop the cameras reactivation.
The idea an ordinance cannot be reversed by the voters is preposterous. The weak 30-day rule the judge cited would never allow an election to happen in that short of time, and therefore should be tossed, since the idea of organizing, collecting and certifying a ballot initiative takes considerably longer than that, plus the costs of a special election makes moving such a ballot initiative out to the next regular election ridiculous.
As far as the termination of contract, there are typically a number of outs. I suspect the city’s legal team (if the city truly wanted to terminate the contract) could find a legal exit to the contract with considerably reduced penalties. Just because Mayor White did not include a “convenience” termination clause, doesn’t mean there’s no way out.
Unfortunately, despite all of this, we are probably stuck with the cameras until the end of the contract in 2014. If the Mayor and City Council survive to 2014, that’s another story…