http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/10/03/briefs-red-light-camera-reforms-become-law


Almanac

News - October 3, 2012

Briefs: Red-light camera reforms become law

by Sandy Brundage

Goodbye, snitch tickets. The latest version of State Sen. Joe Simitian's red-light camera reform bill was signed into law by the governor on Sept. 28.

The bill, a revised version of one vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, establishes statewide standards for the installation and operation of red-light cameras, and makes it easier to challenge unjustified tickets.

The new law requires that camera locations be chosen solely on the basis of safety rather than revenue considerations; regulates operation and signage; and prohibits "snitch tickets," which some police departments such as Menlo Park's have used to try to coerce recipients into identifying drivers in photos when the camera's shot is unclear.

"I am extremely pleased that the Governor has signed this bill, which will help restore public confidence in the use and fairness of red-light cameras," Sen. Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said in a press release. "Red-light cameras can be an important public safety tool, but they shouldn't be abused. This bill will establish important ground rules, (and) ensure that if drivers get a ticket that they shouldn't have, they can contest the ticket easily. It will put driver safety, rather than the revenue, first."

Saturday: Council

candidate forum

The Green Ribbon Committee wants to find out how green the candidates for Menlo Park's City Council are. On Saturday, Oct. 6, the committee will host an interactive forum to explore the five candidates' ideas for protecting the environment. The forum is co-sponsored by the Menlo Park Green Ribbon Citizens' Committee, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter Cool Cities, and Peninsula Transportation Alternatives. It starts at 1 p.m. at the Menlo Hub, 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park.

Oct. 11: Council

candidate forum

A League of Women Voters forum for the five candidates running for two seats on the Menlo Park City Councill will be held on Thursday, Oct. 11.

The forum will run from 7 to 9 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. in the Civic Center. Contact Ellen Hope at ellenjhope@aol.com or 839-8647 for more information or help with transportation.

Draft housing plan

update released

In preparation for submitting an updated housing plan to the state on Oct. 31, Menlo Park has released a draft of its proposal.

The draft supports legalizing second units, otherwise known as "granny units," and identifying appropriate locations for infill development on existing housing sites. Still, that's not enough to provide sites for the estimated 650 units required by state law.

Reaction from some portions of the community to proposed sites has been decidedly negative. Residents living near Sharon Park successfully campaigned against having two acres of the park rezoned for housing. Those living in Linfield Oaks are trying to follow in those footsteps, but without the politically valuable platform of open space defense to buttress their arguments, the movement hasn't gained as much traction. Fifteen sites remain on the list, distributed around the perimeter of the city's boundaries and off Willow Road.

The update is part of a lawsuit settlement with three housing advocacy groups that sued the city in May, alleging that Menlo Park has failed to comply with state housing laws. The city must add housing zones as well as provide incentives for developers to build below-market-rate units as part of the agreement.

Go to tinyurl.com/MP-housing to review the draft plan and other housing documents. The Planning Commission will review the document during its Oct. 15 meeting; the council is expected to follow suit on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23.

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