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Northern California Cities Dump Red Light Cameras

 

Two more California cities have given up on the use of red light cameras. On Tuesday, the city councils in Emeryville and Yuba City each voted to discontinue the use of automated ticketing machines, primarily out of a concern that the programs were failing to generate the expected amount of revenue. Officials were also upset that the programs have been tying up police resources.

http://thenewspaper.com/news/37/3796.asp

True colors showing--

Safety? If safety was important, would merely losing money cancel the program? "Think of the children!!!" is the common refrain.

Bollocks -- it's costing municipalities money, and when something hits their wallets, they leave.

Good riddance.

--
2008 Mini Cooper S, Nuvi 2460, 680, DATUM Tymserve 2100, Trimble Thunderbolt, Ham radio, Macintosh, Linux, Windows

Taxpayer will pay for it.

Let the federal government borrow or issue bond to provide the fund for RLC camera. As for the supporter for RLC said "RLC are for safety" not profit. Let just add the more to the national debt for "safety:"provided by the RLC camera.

--
Val - Nuvi 785t and Streetpilot C340

It is the payment plan

If one reads the article one can see that the problem is the payment plan to the camera company . They get paid even if there are no violations.
In Iowa the camera company puts up the cameras at no cost to the people and gets paid a certain set sum for each ticket paid. No ticket no payment.
If one residing in Iowa chooses not to pay then he/she can expect a smaller tax refund, or not be able to renew their drivers license. If the bill is then not paid the he/she will be asked to visit the small claims court.
So far the cities and the camera company are happy and if they need more revenue then they can lower the speed limit when they issue tickets from 11mph over to 6mph over.
The people who speed are feeding the system and not the law abiding ones.

I noticed that there is

I noticed that there is absolutely no mention of the cameras' impact on driver safety.

Safety is unimportant; revenue is! The problem is that the citizens are just too law-abiding!

--
Re-CAL-culating... "Some people will believe anything they read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

Kick-Backs

kurzemnieks wrote:

In Iowa the camera company puts up the cameras at no cost to the people and gets paid a certain set sum for each ticket paid. No ticket no payment.

I believe that ticket payment scheme is illegal in California. It amounts to a kick-back for each ticket issued. (A no-no for law enforcement officers across the country, but in some states the RLC companies are still allowed this payment scheme.)

Am I missing something?

I was raised not to run red lights. Anyone else out there?

--
NUVI40 Kingsport TN

Does that Mean

Does that mean that the majority of municipalities are run by morons??? Inquiring minds want to know!

What we do know: Politicians are greedy by nature & cook up all kinds of plans to raise their discretionary spending.

Fred

R L cams

On thing is true, the awareness of red light cams is high, the area where the cams are have signs. POI lists for gps help drivers avoiding tickets. Red Light Cams are a good business for the installing company. One day you will see them taking the information signs, reducing yellow light times and even speed limits for the area.

If they are interested in safety they increase the yellow time and install visible placed signs with clear instructions.

Here here

David King wrote:

I was raised not to run red lights. Anyone else out there?

Don't understand why so many are afraid of RLC's...for goodness sakes if you don't run them you don't have worry. I don't run red lights and I don't worry about them. I am more concerned with cell phone users and texting idiots out there.

--
Bobby....Garmin 2450LM

Fear?? Huh?

farrissr wrote:

Don't understand why so many are afraid of RLC's...for goodness sakes if you don't run them you don't have worry. I don't run red lights and I don't worry about them. I am more concerned with cell phone users and texting idiots out there.

(Hey, I don't eat fast food either....but it doesn't scare or worry me.)

Just curious why you choose to use the words "afraid" and "worried" when describing those that find faults in the RLC companies and their dubious claims and methods.

I'm not sure what in this thread would prompt you to use those terms.

Broad strokes

David King wrote:

I was raised not to run red lights. Anyone else out there?

That's great! Thanks for posing that! I don't think anyone will argue that with you here.

But, if you're in someway implying that those who find fault with RLC's and their methods are somehow PRO red-light running - then I have to tell you - you're painting a picture with the wrong brush.

The camera company does not set the lights

As far as I know the traffic lights in our city are set by the traffic division and not the camera people so any changes in the timing system could be seen and heads would roll if they were not what they should be.
I do not run red lights for I was creamed once and my wife was broadsided by a kid who claimed the sun was in his eyes but the officer failed to mention that the sun was still in the east and he was going west (must be a international thing for I was rear ended in Greece and the driver claimed the sun got in his eyes but I was driving west in the morning.

One big gripe I have

Among others is you might not know what the circumstances were, after all you don't get the ticket for weeks. Also, local govs always complain "Buy local" and yet they send Millions out of town, even to Austaila to these companies!

--
Cain versus Unable 2012

Here We Go Again..!!

David King wrote:

I was raised not to run red lights. Anyone else out there?

And Farrissr said in part..

farrissr wrote:

Don't understand why so many are afraid of RLC's...for goodness sakes if you don't run them you don't have worry. I don't run red lights and I don't worry about them.

There are those of us humans who aren't as "PERFECT" as others rolleyes .. and considering how some yellow lights are timed in relationship to some RLC's...

Also, running a red light (or breaking some other vehicle traffic law), is NOT always a black or white situation. There may be a valid reason why a particular law, rule or regulation was broken because of circumstances and situations beyond ones control.

Those are just my thoughts.. considering the mere mortal that I am. wink

Nuvi1300WTGPS

--
I'm not really lost.... just temporarily misplaced!

Safety Cameras

If all the revenue from RLC's went to 'Road Safety - driver education programs, education visits to schools, training sessions for serial transgressors (!) - then I'm a believer. If I'm pinged, happy to cough up.
But if it's (the fine) going into a commercial ventures pocket then I'm antsy and extremely pro POI support..!

New to this GPS stuff, gotta love it!

Observations

HawaiianFlyer wrote:
kurzemnieks wrote:

In Iowa the camera company puts up the cameras at no cost to the people and gets paid a certain set sum for each ticket paid. No ticket no payment.

I believe that ticket payment scheme is illegal in California. It amounts to a kick-back for each ticket issued. (A no-no for law enforcement officers across the country, but in some states the RLC companies are still allowed this payment scheme.)

Thenewspaper article cited says:
”Yuba City's monetary commitment is lessened by a "cost neutrality" clause that compensates Redflex on a per-ticket basis”, so it would appear that such a “ticket payment scheme” is not illegal. It is hard to see how a “service performed” “amount per service charged” could be illegal unless there is something unique about Automated Traffic Enforcement laws.

No wonder Emeryville, CA would decide that they could not continue with a contract that amounted to net loss to the city.

“Two hours to the south in Emeryville, the city council came to a similar -- and unanimous -- conclusion. Officials found it did not make sense to continue operating the cameras at a net financial loss to the city. A 22-month cost accounting showed Emeryville collected a $547,541 share of the proceeds from the near $500 citations. From this amount, Redflex took a $533,204 cut.

"The city received only $14,366 in revenue after paying for Redflex's services from the funding received from red light camera violations," a city cost accounting memo explained. "However, if you take staff's time into account, the city actually expended $166,968 over these 22 months with no financial return."

While the city only gained an average of $56 from each near-$500 citation issued, Alameda County and the state government each pocketed a far more substantial share”

If the city received “an average of $56 from each near-$500 citation” and received $547,541, then the number of citations would be near 9,778. If each citation was $500, then, the total money received from citations was approximately $4,889,000. The county and state are about to lose substantial dollars. Wonder what they will do to replace it?

They'll have to explain

They'll have to explain carefully & fully why they have to raise taxes & have to take responsibility themselves & in a direct manner. If, of course, they could decide on reduced expenditures for their government, well that might be the thing to do. To most politicians, that is only a logical alternative.

It's surprising how little guts exist among the population of politicians & I expect we'll find the level of discontent in November.

Fred

There may be a way

jgermann wrote:

[...] The county and state are about to lose substantial dollars. Wonder what they will do to replace it?

There is always a way. Fairfax County, Virginia is already working to solve problem with parking citations revenue:

"The decline in parking citations is also reflected in the traffic division's parking enforcement budget measures," the audit report explained. "Specifically, the traffic division parking unit's budget performance measures decreased from 504 tickets per 10,000 registered vehicles in 2006 to 298.4 tickets per 10,000 registered vehicles in 2011. We also noted an overall $175,389 decrease in parking ticket revenues from $3,304,380 in 2006 to $3,128,991 in 2011. The potential reduction in parking ticket revenues related to the decrease in citations was mitigated by the increase in parking fines and expanded parking ordinances in fiscal year 2010."

The county employs 18 full-time meter maids, but police officers, fire marshals and police volunteers are all expected to help. Duncan Solutions, a private vendor, handles processing, billing and adjudication of tickets in return for a cut of the profits that totaled $1,075,000 in 2010. The company's "AutoProcess" software creates a chart tracking which police districts generate the most citations over time. The current champion is the Mason District with 8088 citations, but five years ago it was the Fair Oaks District with 4839 tickets.

source: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/37/3798.asp

And you may be sure that with getting money government types can be very creative.

CA Vehicle Code 21455.5(g)(1)

Here it is strait from the CAVC.

(g) (1) A contract between a governmental agency and a manufacturer or supplier of automated enforcement equipment may not include provision for the payment or compensation to the manufacturer or supplier based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated, as a result of the use of the equipment authorized under this section.

The question...

HawaiianFlyer wrote:

Here it is [straight] from the CAVC.

(g) (1) A contract between a governmental agency and a manufacturer or supplier of automated enforcement equipment may not include provision for the payment or compensation to the manufacturer or supplier based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated, as a result of the use of the equipment authorized under this section.

The question, then, is the interpretation of the "number of citations generated". Perhaps it was intended to preclude things like "minimums", because we know that Yuba City had been compensating Redflex on a "per ticket basis".

CA Vehicle Code 21455.5(g)(1)

You seem to put a lot of faith in RLC companys following the law.

I don't.

These "cost neutrality" (i.e - kick-back) clauses fail everytime challenged in California. Yet, Redflix et. al. continues to include them and municipalities continue to sign and pay them.

It just takes someone to go municipality by municipality and challenge each one.

Who's going to do that? You?

Redflix knows this. There is only upside for them.

But there it is in B&W in the CAVC....

Can you find some case where....

HawaiianFlyer wrote:

You seem to put a lot of faith in RLC companys following the law.

I don't.

These "cost neutrality" (i.e - kick-back) clauses fail everytime challenged in California. Yet, Redflix et. al. continues to include them and municipalities continue to sign and pay them.

It just takes someone to go municipality by municipality and challenge each one.

Who's going to do that? You?

Redflix knows this. There is only upside for them.

But there it is in B&W in the CAVC....

If the per ticket were illegal, then why would city attornies approve such contract, since there are other ways to structure payment?

You asked who would challenge such contracts on a municipality by municipality basis. Surely, there would be lots of people who would be working on such - there are so many dedicated opponents of any form of Automated Traffic Enforcement. I would expect thenewspaper.com would be highlighting this to spread the word.

Can you find some case where the technique was challenged and the court said that a per-ticket cost was illegal?

California - The Golden State

Those are a lot of really great questions. Thank you so much for asking them.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to answer all of them for you.

***

Why would attorneys approve such contracts?

I really couldn't guess at their motivation.

Why would tens of millions of home buyers and morgage brokers forge or otherwise collude to over-estimate income and other personal data on home buying contracts - essentially bankrupting the world economy?

Why (instead of sounding alarm bells) would AIG, Bear, Lheman and others write hundreds of billions of CDS's to cover that junk - spectacularly bankrupting two of those three?

Who knows why....I suspect they all felt, at the time, the benefits out-weighed the risks, there was no down side.

***

Can I find some case where the technique was challenged?

I don't do law reaserch for free...Sorry.

But I can tell you that these "cost neutral" clauses have come up several times in California. To my knowledge the courts have always found whether you assign a "direct" fee per ticket or you assign an "indrect" cost neutral architecture to the contract, the end result of the two is the same - compensation to the manufacturer or supplier is being based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated.

Those types of payments, if challenged, can not be upheld in California.

Your state may differ. But I gotta' ask it rhetorically...If no state pays their police officers a commission per ticket (for obvious reasons), why would some states choose to pay Redflix, et al, in this way?

***

"Surely, there would be lots of people who would be working on such..."

Man, you really do have a lot of faith. I'll refer you back to my banking examples above.

And don't call me Shirley.

Research on Cost Neutrality

HawaiianFlyer wrote:

...
But I can tell you that these "cost neutral" clauses have come up several times in California. To my knowledge the courts have always found whether you assign a "direct" fee per ticket or you assign an "indrect" cost neutral architecture to the contract, the end result of the two is the same - compensation to the manufacturer or supplier is being based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated.

Those types of payments, if challenged, can not be upheld in California.

As HawaiianFlyer posted above, CA Vehicle Code 21455.5(g)(1) says:

(g) (1) A contract between a governmental agency and a manufacturer or supplier of automated enforcement equipment may not include provision for the payment or compensation to the manufacturer or supplier based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated, as a result of the use of the equipment authorized under this section.

In a court case involving Fullerton, Presiding Judge Robert J. Moss wrote: "The purpose of the statute is to avoid an incentive to the camera operator, as a neutral evaluator of evidence, to increase the number of citations issued and paid through the use of the equipment,". (http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2624.asp)

This article also said:
” In 2001, a San Diego, California Superior Court ruling found the common practice of having a city pay a financial bounty for each red light camera ticket issued had undermined the integrity of the system. In response, the state legislature mandated that all photo enforcement contracts signed after January 2004 must be flat rate. That means any payment method, "based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated" is prohibited. Judge Moss did not believe Fullerton's contract followed either the letter or the spirit of the law.”

"The possibility that fees could be negotiated 'down' if it is determined fees paid to NTS exceed 'net program revenues being realized,' indirectly ties fees to NTS [nestor Traffic Systems] to the amount of revenue generated from the program," Moss explained. "If insufficient revenue is generated to cover the monthly fee, the fee could be 'negotiated down.' As such, NTS has an incentive to ensure sufficient revenues are generated to cover the monthly fee."

When I read the link that HawaiianFlyer provided in the original post: (http://thenewspaper.com/news/37/3796.asp), I noted that it said ”Yuba City's monetary commitment is lessened by a "cost neutrality" clause that compensates Redflex on a per-ticket basis.”. What was happening is that Yuba City was paying Redflex less than the $18,576 per month it was billing and this must have been based on the number of tickets.

Yuba City made the decision, as did Emeryville, that the contract did not make financial sense (mostly because the county and the state were taking so much of the revenue from tickets that not enough was left for the cities to cover the administrative costs of the programs.

It seems that Yuba City and quite a number of CA municipalities have contracts that are based on a flat fee with a “cost neutrality” clause.
Although Yuba City’s contract was never challenged on the basis that it violated the “number of citations generated” portion of CA Vehicle Code 21455.5(g)(1), and the decision to drop the contract was based of financial considerations, other cities have been challenged successfully. The Fullerton case was in 2008.

San Mateo was successfully challenged in 2009, but changed the contract to eliminate the “cost neutrality” clause and still has cameras.

Napa was challenged successfully in 2011, but dropped the “cost neutrality” clause and still has cameras. Napa has appealed the conclusion that the “cost neutrality” clause violates the “number of citations generated” portion of CA Vehicle Code 21455.5(g)(1)but I do not think the appeal has been adjudicated. Napa still has cameras

Bottom line: HawaiianFlyer correctly stated California law and court outcomes.

Don't run Red Lights

I agree with David King's statement. If you don't run Red Lights you don't have a problem. The problem many people seem to have is that the Red Light cameras are an invasion of privacy, or Big Brother syndrome. If you follow safe driving habits its a non issue. But I do believe the cameras are programmed a bit sensitive and cause many frivolous tickets for drivers.

Why?

Jose98 wrote:

I agree with David King's statement. If you don't run Red Lights you don't have a problem. The problem many people seem to have is that the Red Light cameras are an invasion of privacy, or Big Brother syndrome. If you follow safe driving habits its a non issue. But I do believe the cameras are programmed a bit sensitive and cause many frivolous tickets for drivers. [emphasis added]

A common objection to Automated Traffic Enforcement is that cameras do not allow the leeway that can be applied by a police officer based on mitigating circumstances. I do NOT see much discussion of cities who do not provide "leeway". Yet, you seem to imply that those cameras with which you are familiar are set to enforce the "letter of the law" and, doing so, the resulting tickets are deemed "frivilous" even though there was a true infraction.

My understanding is that my municipality, in reviewing potential red light violations, permits a half second of leeway and only above that leeway certifies the ticket. Do you know what your municipality allows?

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