Original post made
on Sep 3, 2013
Am I reading this correctly - the annual cost for the existing cameras has been $5,397 per month for 4 cameras. That's $21,588 per MONTH or over a quarter of a million dollars per year for these cameras. And the "reduction" in red light related accidents since 2008 has been ONE less accident on El Camino and THREE fewer accidents on Bayfront. It would have been interesting to include ticket revenue from the cameras, to see if this really is "revenue neutral". Because based on the limited info here, it sounds like a very expensive solution to a not very big problem!
Big government at its worst, doing something really stupid. Lengthen the yellow a half second.
Ticket bicyclists for running stop signs and lights all the time, if you need revenue. Double the fine if they are wearing more colors than a peacock.
Red-light cameras being stopped
Red light cameras at Vanowen Street and Balboa Boulevard, Friday, April 22, 2011. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)
By Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
POSTED: 01/21/14, 5:34 PM PST |
Red-light camera facts
• Local cities with red-light cameras: Baldwin Park, Beverly Hills, Commerce, Covina, Culver City, West Hollywood, Walnut, Lynwood, Ventura, Cerritos, Oxnard, Highland, Riverside, Metro (MTA at transit line crossings), Hawthorne, Los Alamitos, Montebello, Santa Clarita,
• Cities that have removed or banned red-light cameras: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Pasadena, Long Beach, Glendale, El Monte, Bell Gardens, Corona, Maywood, Escondido, El Cajon, Gardena, Compton, Whittier, Fullerton, Grand Terrace, Upland, Moreno Valley, Lancaster, Murrieta, Los Angeles County (unincorporated), Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Santa Fe Springs, Montclair, South Gate, Yucaipa, Inglewood (February 2014)
• Number of cities in the United States with cameras: 500
• A.B. 612: Would lengthen yellow light times by an additional second
Red-light cameras — controversial traffic enforcement devices that can ding an unsuspecting motorist for $500 a pop for minor infractions like illegally turning right on red — are slowly fading to black.
rather than "fading to black" they need to be switched off. Especially in Menlo Park. They are nothing more than money makers for the city. They add zero to safety and are installed at intersections with no history of red light accidents.
I'd be interested to know where Councilmember Keith got her data ("Red-light cameras correlate to a 13 to 29 percent reduction in all types of injuries").
I suspect that most Menlo Park residents know at which intersections the cameras are located. For the driver, it then becomes a question of deciding whether to slam on the brakes when the light changes to yellow (possibly initiating a rear-end collision), or speeding up to clear the intersection (creating other potential hazards). Extending the yellow could avoid these unsafe conditions.
The Law is always confusing. May be it is meant to be so. If you are not sure whether to pay off the ticket or to fight it, the better person to consult is traffic attorney. They have the right and up to date knowledge on speeding tickets in California. For more info, visit Web Link
Vehicle Code Section 21455.5:
(h) (1) A contract between a governmental agency and a manufacturer or supplier of automated traffic enforcement equipment shall not include provision for the payment or compensation to the manufacturer or supplier based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated, as a result of the use of the equipment authorized under this section.
From this article: "Menlo Park's contract with Redflex contains a "cost neutrality" clause that saves the city from paying the $5,000 to $6,000 monthly fee per camera if revenue from citations doesn't cover the cost."
Menlo Park's contract with Redflex violates this provision of the vehicle code, as it ties payment to the vendor with the number of citations generated.
The legislature enacted this provision to avoid the conflict of interest we have here: the vendor, Redflex, maintains a red light camera system, and gets paid based on the number of tickets the system issues.
Argue this point when you're in traffic court in Redwood City and your ticket will be dismissed 90% of the time. For the other 10%, appeal it to the superior court judge in Redwood City (not the appeal's court) who will always dismiss if you raise this point.
The whole red light camera system stinks. It doesn't improve safety (actually the opposite), and puts residents in a "gotcha" situation with $480 fines if they cross the intersection a millisecond late. If safety is the issue, increase the yellow light timing.
Safety is not the issue. Paying for bloated government is.
Of course, the Menlo Park city attorney and police department know that 99.9% of citizens don't know how to argue this point, so they're actually advertising their violation of the law as a sales pitch for what a great contract they have.
If you get caught by one of these revenue generators and they send you a notice, look carefully at it. If doesn't say "notice to appear" it is a "snitch" ticket. They will ask you to identify the driver and if it is you, identify yourself. Violates the fifth amendment. Nothing in the law requires you to identify the actual driver if it isn't you either. If it is not a notice to appear, throw it away.
Just last month Karen Finley, former CEO of the Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, plead guilty in federal court to an eight-year bribery-and-fraud scheme she orchestrated to retain Redflex photo-enforcement contracts in Ohio. This was written up, in all the Arizona papers
Karen Finley, Ex-CEO of Redflex, Pleads Guilty to Bribery Web Link
Did Karen Finley and Redflex Bribe Arizona Officials? Web Link
So is Redflex really a company Menlo Park wants to continue to do business with?
All Menlo Park cares about is the money coming in from this enforcement program. The police department loves it because in the current atmosphere of questioning large public safety expenditures, salaries, and benefits, it helps balance the budget more in their direction.
The Redflex situation is more interesting. As I mentioned, Menlo Park's contract with Redflex violates California law, and the tickets are routinely dismissed if the citizen is savvy enough to argue that.
For the cities that don't have this flaw in their contract, many attorneys were arguing, successfully, that the whole spectre of a citizen charged with this violation having to defend themselves in court WITHOUT the ability to confront and cross-examine a representative of Redflex (the company that does technical maintenance on the cameras and thus gets to calibrate whether it really is measuring that limit line or the timings correctly) violates that citizen's rights under the Constitution, and the tickets were dismissed.
Redflex (which, by the way, is an Australian company with offices in the USA), saw a problem to their bottom line here, and strenuously lobbied the California legislature (along with their police department customers, who also are vested in the program for the reasons I alluded to above) to pass a law declaring this was actually okay.
Huh? How can California pass a law stating that a provision of the Constitution can be waived? This will probably wind up getting challenged and overturned in federal court.
"Redflex Traffic Systems, plead guilty in federal court to an eight-year bribery-and-fraud scheme "
Ought to be an 'out' in the contract for that.
End it now MP, before people start turning over leaves.....
This is an awful program. For what it costs it makes little sense to continue but our council again has chosen to pour money down a hole. Bad decision to renew