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Mayor: No red light camera tickets issued

Monday, November 29, 2010

Just when you thought they were gone for good, those controversial red light cameras are back, despite the fact that voters don't want them. The mayor now says the cameras will stay up and running, at least for now. But will drivers ever see another red light camera ticket?

There are no tickets being issued but the cameras are on due to a legal injunction issued last Friday from a federal judge. The city is clear they're not issuing tickets, and most people want it to stay that way.

The cameras were voted out and the city stopped issuing tickets on November 15, the day the election was certified. But the legal wrangling between the city and the vendor, ATS, is just beginning in federal court. On Friday a federal judge issued an injunction, requiring the cameras to stay in place.

Monday, Mayor Annise Parker issued a statement saying in part, "As a result of the judge's order, the red light cameras will stay up and operational. However, the city is not resuming the issuance of violations."

Her staff told me that the cameras are not being monitored. The judge who issued the injunction wants both sides to issue legal briefs by this Friday. But the people who fought so hard against the cameras just don't believe the cameras are a done deal.

Red light camera opponent Michael Kubosh said, "It looks now as though the red light cameras have counter-claimed and they want to throw out the whole election."

The vendor, ATS, also issued a fairly vague statement, saying, "This case has broad implications for anyone engaged in a contractual agreement with the city. We will abide by the judge's order and look forward to providing the court with the information it has requested."

But council member Jolanda Jones wants to be clear that even though the legal battle isn't over the days of red light camera tickets in Houston are done.

She said, "I absolutely believe that we should listen to the will of the voters and voters told us they didn't want cameras and I think we should respect that."

Jones and other council members told me they don't believe the cameras will ever come back, no matter how long the legal wrangling goes on.

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red light cameras, local, miya shay
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