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Red Light Cameras: Automating Revenue Generation in Tough Times

Most municipalities have given up even the pretense of claiming automated red light enforcement systems are more about intersection safety than they are about revenue generation in these financially desperate times. In fact, the only complaints we are hearing is when the devices fail to generate the expected revenue and force the municipalities to shell out additional cash for maintenance to the system’s vendors who share in the bounty.

There is now worry by some that a California Assembly Bill, A.B. 766, introduced by  Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, may be used to gut existing speed trap legislation and allow for the expanded use of automated enforcement devices such as red light and stop sign cameras. Since the legislation is in rough form, it can be modified by amendment before vote -- which makes it significantly more dangerous to the driving public.

Krekorian, who was elected to the California State Legislature in 2006 to serve the communities of Burbank, Glendale, Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Valley Glen, Van Nuys and Toluca Lake, is a liberal lawyer/activist who prides himself to be a champion of causes.

According to the non-partisan legislative counsel’s digest …

AB 766, as introduced, Kerkorian. Vehicles: speed limits.

“Existing law permits a local authority to decrease or increase a prima facie speed limit on any street, other than a state highway, based on an engineering and traffic survey, and for enforcement purposes requires that survey to be redone after a certain number of years. This bill would allow a local authority retain a prima facie speed limit on any street, other than a state highway, if the local authority makes a finding, after a public hearing, that a higher speed limit is not the most appropriate for the orderly movement of traffic upon the street and does not promote a safe environment for the neighborhood or pedestrians.”

What is the purpose of this bill …

First, the existing law seems complete and adequate to the regulatory task at hand. While it does require the additional expenditure of municipal funds to conduct an engineering and traffic survey, it seems infinitely better than waiving such a rational approach and throwing the matter open to the vagaries of the political process – a process which we have seen in recent years as being corrupt and easily manipulated by politicians for their own self-interests.

I believe the most significant problem with this legislation is that it takes a concrete procedure and opens it up to the political whims of politicians and others who no longer have to have any rational basis for their decisions or any accountability to the public for their operations.

The bill’s language makes that abundantly clear …

“SECTION 1. Section 22358.2 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

22358.2.

(a) Notwithstanding Section, 40802, a local authority may retain a prima facie speed limit that is provided by this code or by local ordinance under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 22352, or established under Section 22354, 22357, 22358, or 22358.3 on any street other than a state highway, if the local authority makes a finding, after a public hearing, that a higher speed limit is not the most appropriate for the orderly movement of traffic upon the street and does not promote a safe environment for the neighborhood or pedestrians.

(b) If a local authority makes a finding pursuant to subdivision (a), the prima facie speed limit does not have to be rejustified by an engineering and traffic survey as provided in Section 40802.”

This is bad legislation from a lawyer who should know better. And since Krekorian is a lawyer, one can only assume that it was done to weaken existing laws and make them susceptible to the political winds which blow haphazardly upon the land.

There is also an interesting article that appeared in the Glendale News Press that points out the perfidity of municipal organizations in lobbying their state legislatures for less restrictive legislation.

"The [Glendale City] council, at the suggestion of Councilman Bob Yousefian, also instructed city officials to return with a draft resolution lobbying the state legislature for greater freedom to test new enforcement technologies, such as radar photo cameras, as a way to calm traffic." 

"And state Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes Glendale, is pushing a bill that would give local jurisdictions greater freedom to respond to pedestrian concerns when evaluating street safety plans."

What can YOU do?

Notify your elected representative that you believe that the existing law is fine and that no further amendment of existing law is necessary.

You may also explain that you are tired of California’s laws being manipulated by lawyers and politicians for their own special interests and that vague laws which have a variety of unannounced “intended” purposes and unintended consequences are not acceptable in the face of adequate existing legislation.

If these people want to manipulate the laws to gut existing legislation or create further automated red light and stop sign enforcement usage, they should clearly state that in a single-purpose bill rather than hiding behind the obscurity of a vague and ill-conceived attempt at fooling the public into ceding as yet unknown powers to politicians.

It is about time that we took back our government from those politicians who believe that they are some kind of ruling elite whose power and financial needs supersede the wants and needs of the public which elected them.

A money-saving tip: according to traffic engineering analysis, 80% of all red light tickets are issued for "rolling stops" involving right-hand turns without stopping. You can reduce your exposure to red light cameras by 80% by simply stopping before making that right-hand turn.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “The most duplicitous lawyer/politician  is one who creates an innocuous piece of legislation designed to do something that he would rather the people did not see in the light of day.”-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

AB 766 Assembly Bill – INTRODUCED

For the best information on Red light Cameras and other traffic-related information, you may wish to visit www.highwayrobbery.net which is a web site that I enthusiastically endorse.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell


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