[Elist] Fw: [ABATE] : red-light traffic cameras in the hands of the L.A. City Council

John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 8 17:13:25 PET 2011


#yiv396110421 v\00003a* {




LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Now that the L.A. Police Commission has voted to end the city's controversial red-light traffic cameras, the program's fate is in the hands of the L.A. City Council. 

Are they silent safety watchdogs or a sneaky menace? For many drivers, the answer is easy when it comes to red-light cameras. 
"They're not serving no purpose," said motorist David Bean. "They're not making things safer." 
Wednesday morning in downtown, there was a long line of people waiting to pay red-light camera fines, including motorist Nikki Whitmill. 
"The cameras are broke, so why should I be here to pay for something that was a mishap?" Whitmill questioned. 
The Los Angeles Police Commission says many are not paying, and that makes the cameras ineffective and unfair. 
What many ticketed motorists didn't know is that there is no penalty for ignoring the ticket. The courts send your name to a collection agency. But according to LAPD Commissioner Alan Skobin, the courts take no legal action. 
"The courts are not enforcing the citations that people fail to respond to," said Skobin. "They don't issue a warrant, they don't have a summons, they don't put a hold on the registration of the vehicle." 
And that collection notice? Ignore it and it goes away, because the agency does not have your picture or any proof of a violation. 
Court officials insist they do go after people who don't pay the fines for the red-light traffic cameras. However, they also admitted that they can't be as aggressive as they normally would be, in part because they can't always identify who was driving the car at the time of the infraction. 

There are 32 cameras in the city and the commission voted unanimously not to renew the contract to run them in the future. 
The Los Angeles City Council will have the final say in the red-light cameras. They can overrule the police commission. 
Some councilmembers have already hinted that they will support the police commission's decision even though the LAPD said the cameras are reducing accidents. 
Some drivers admit that the cameras do make them think twice about running red light. 
"Yeah, they work. You've just got to pay attention," said motorist Lavora Hicks. 
Whether they work or not, if people like Whitmill are paying and others are not, the system is not fair, according to the commission, and that's reason enough to stop it. 
The company that operates the system is working on a month-to-month contract. 
The red-light cameras will remain in commission until June 17. 

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