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11/12/2012
Election 2012: Cities decide on ticket cameras
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Voters in communities stretching from California to New Jersey get their say on what they want to do about automated enforcement.

In California, Newport Beach voters weighed in on the use of red-light cameras. The city does not employ the devices at this time.

The public approved Measure EE with 57 percent of the vote. As a result, future city councils cannot enact an ordinance to permit or authorize any photo enforcement in the city of 86,000. Instead, voters will have to decide whether to allow cameras to be used.

Results are the same as neighboring Anaheim, where nearly three-quarters of voters in 2010 opted to prohibit red-light cameras.

Voters in Murrieta, CA, also showed disdain for ticket cameras. About 57 percent of voters supported Measure N, which forces the city to end the program.

Red-light cameras now are posted at three intersections in the city located along Interstate 15 in Southern California. Infractions cost violators $490.

One Texas locale also decided the fate of red-light cameras. A whopping 77 percent of voters in League City backed an effort to prohibit future contracts in the city for traffic cameras.

The Houston-area community will soon join Texas locales that include the cities of Houston, Baytown and College Station to remove their cameras.

League City voters passed Proposition 5 to require the devices to be taken down when the city’s six-year contract with Redflex ends in 2014. The company manages the city’s cameras.

The cameras drew $1.4 million in fines a year ago, the Galveston Daily News reported. Another $1.3 million in fines are expected this year.

In Washington state, voters in the city of Monroe once again weighed in on camera use.

For the second time in as many years, voters there were asked whether the city’s program should be continued. The question was advisory only.

In 2011, about 68 percent of voters said they didn’t want cameras posted. This year’s vote topped 70 percent.

Even before the election city officials decided to do away with the program as soon as the existing contract expires late next year.

Since the early 1990s, cities in about a dozen states around the country have decided on ticket camera use. During that time, only one community has voted in favor of the technology – East Cleveland, OH, a year ago.

Pohatcong Township, NJ, is the second locale to support camera use. By a 56-44 percent margin, voters there passed a nonbinding referendum to continue using red-light cameras at two busy intersections along Routes 22 and 122 when the current contract expires in 2016.

However, before final vote tallies could be verified the state’s Department of Transportation ordered the cameras on Route 122 to be disconnected. The agency cited a conflict over jurisdiction between Pohatcong Township and bordering Greenwich Township for turning off the cameras.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to mailto:state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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