Thursday, October 27, 2011

Digging deeper into your pockets:L.A. pursues fines from red-light camera tickets after killing program

A few months ago a big deal was made about the L.A. city council ending the redlight camera tickets.Some councilmen even went on record saying they did not have to pay fines. Are you really surprised ?Still wonder who the city council serves?

As the Los Angeles City Council voted this week to pay its defunct red-light camera program's operator to process outstanding citations, a statewide advocacy group released a scathing report of such traffic-ticket operations, saying agreements with vendors tend to focus "more on profits than safety."
"Too often, local governments are taken for a ride by red-light camera vendors overly focused on their bottom line instead of public safety," said Pedro Morillas, legislative director for the California Public Interest Research Group, which published the report Thursday.

The group argues that in many cities across the country where privatized red-light camera programs are enforced, simpler and cheaper potential solutions — such as lengthening the times of yellow lights — are ignored because cities and contractors are more focused on raising revenue by issuing more tickets.

The City Council voted to get rid of its red-light camera program in July. Many council members said they voted to end the program after it became clear the Los Angeles Superior Court, citing due process concerns, was not aggressively enforcing those tickets and because claims that the cameras increased safety were dubious.

The council voted 11-2 on Wednesday to pay American Traffic Solutions about $11,000 a month to help process fines from the approximately 50,000 citations that remain outstanding.

Officials said the contractor was needed to process the fines because they held the database containing necessary photos and other evidence and that the contract should be terminated as soon as the contractor’s fee exceeds incoming revenue from unprocessed tickets.

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