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Company: Red light cameras should be turned on

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Houstonians got to decide and they voted to turn the red light cameras off. Now the company that operates the cameras wants them turned back on. So what are the chances of that happening?

The cameras are still up and still on, but not recording and not sending any tickets. They don't look any different. They could be turned on at any moment if a judge ordered and that's exactly what the company wants.

Just when you thought it was safe to believe that 51 percent of Houston voters really did win the red light camera election, it may not be.

Andy Taylor, lawyer for American Traffic Systems, the camera company, said, "We believe, after all the dust settles, that this program will continue as it has in the past to protect lives because it will fully function and be operational until 2014."

In a federal court filing, ATS says the votes of 340,000 Houstonians don't matter too much, that the election came too late, that simply having the red light question on the 2010 ballot was illegal and your vote for or against the cameras doesn't matter.

"We believe that the outcome here is not in accord with the law," Taylor said.

It's a dramatic change for the company which just last week told us the city can pay their way out of this mess without ticketing you. That might've been millions of dollars, but it would seemingly follow the will of the people. Now the company is asking a judge at federal court not only to throw out the election, but to force the mayor to keep sending violations out -- as if Election Day never happened.

Taylor said, "We believe this program will continue on in the future and continue to protect lives."

Proposition 3 organizer Michael Kubosh said, "I see trickery."

It is exactly what the Kubosh brothers, who organized the fight against the cameras, are worried about. They continue to fight to make sure 51 percent of the vote matters and that the cameras are turned off, no matter what it costs.

"It concerns me when I see this trickery," Kubosh said. "We want the will of the people listened to."

The city has said in the past that those cameras will not start taking any more violation photos, but they realize this is a financial situation and a contract that they'll have to do something to get out of. It could take months to do that in federal court.

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red light cameras, local, ted oberg
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