Red Light Camera Supporters Speakup

Yesterday I posted a news item from a group that is trying to ban red light cameras in the city of  Houston.  The group has collected enough signatures to get the issue on the November ballot and let Houston residents decide if the city should have red light cameras.

Today, I received a statement from a group of  supporters working to keep the cameras operating at several dangerous intersections around town.

MEMORANDUM

August 10, 2010

To:            Houston Media
From:       Keep Houston Safe PAC
Subj:        Why the Citizens Against Red Light Camera (CARLC) Petition is “Dead on Arrival”

Now that the Citizens Against Red Light Cameras have submitted their signatures to the City Secretary, the question is:  what happens next?

The answer is simple.  This matter already is, and should be so declared, dead on arrival.  A little history will help put this in perspective.

  • On December 21, 2004, 68 months ago, the Houston City Council passed an ordinance allowing the city to implement an intersection safety camera program.  
  • On May 31, 2006, the City chose a vendor, American Traffic Solutions, to provide the intersection monitoring services following a lengthy RFP process.  
  • On September 1, 2006, the first cameras were installed and became operational.
  • In 2007, the Kubosh brothers sued the City of Houston unsuccessfully over the program’s administrative-hearing process for motorists who fight their tickets.  NOTE:  The Kuboshes first foray into this battle was directly related to Mr. Kubosh’s livelihood as a traffic court attorney.  The judge in that case upheld the constitutionality of the camera program, and Michael Kubosh abandoned his appeal of this decision in 2008.
  • Flash forward to 2010.  As CARLC has said time and again this year, their goal is to “ban” the camera program.  The problem here is that Houston’s city charter clearly states that in order to repeal a vote of council, the signatures need to be submitted within 30 days of the passage of the original ordinance.  


The City Charter amendment that CARLC is proposing is nothing more than a “camouflaged referendum”.  Normally, a City Charter amendment is a change of governing policies/procedures that hasn’t already been in place such as changing term limits, drainage fund improvements, etc.  Here, CARLC is proposing to use the City Charter as a vehicle to undo a program that was already put into place via ordinance — something which (to our knowledge) has never occurred.

So, because Houston’s intersection safety camera ordinance was passed on December 21, 2004, some 68 months ago, CARLC is roughly 2,027 days late in filing their signatures.  This issue, in our view, is moot regardless of whether the signatures that CARLC brought to City Hall yesterday can be counted and verified before the August 24th deadline mandated in the Texas Election Code.

In the final analysis, this is really little more than a four-year old business development/PR stunt by a traffic ticket lawyer whose business is negatively affected by the intersection safety cameras.  Why else would Mr. Kubosh personally donate $68,000 of the $68,500 his PAC raised in the first half of 2010?  The longer this fight goes, the more he personally benefits through media exposure and new clients.

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3 Responses

  1. [...] as well, but if so I expect he’ll lose just as Carole Keeton Strayhorn did back in 2006. Mary Benton has [...]

  2. I am in favor of the red- light cameras, and I like for them to be indefinitely. It is very important that our drivers know and understand that they are breaking the law when they run a red light not to mention putting others’ lives in danger.I think having red-light cameras is the best idea anyone ever came up with, and I believe that it is money well spent because you cannot put a price on life.The driving behavior of motorists must change at all means necessary. The $75 fine is just a small price to pay for negligent drivers although you cannot put a price on life,having to pay for the bad decision one makes is a great start.As a matter of fact I believe the fine should be $100 along with community service and be placed on driving probation for one year (first offense) of course the penalties will be higher each offense thereafter. This negligence should be recorded on their insurance and they should be labeled as high risk drivers. I don’t know how other countries handle traffic behavior however; once upon a time the natives the United States were very respectful to traffic signals and signs. Somewhere down the line our system has been tainted with the brilliance of others. Again my name is Dianne Baker and I am a student at CTU.

  3. Why is it wherever you see citizens that want a vote on the dangerous and controversial red light camera program you see the camera companies and the paid front groups they created fighting against a vote? Not only is this happening in Houston but also in Baytown, Mukilteo, Washington (which doesn’t even have the cameras yet!) and last year in college station where the cameras were voted out! If the cameras are as popular as their fake posters would have us believe why don’t they ever want it to go to a vote? Maybe it is because everytime people have gotten to vote on cameras they have voted them out? 10 out of 10 times the cameras have been voted out by citizens that got the chance to vote. Press releases from the paid organization representing no one but the camera companies shouldn’t be given any credence.

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/32/3232.asp

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