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RLC moratorium letter by Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court
- BAN THE CAMS NOTE: Many reforms in SB 1342 which included needed due process reforms were GUTTED by the Clemens Amendment. Read more: http://www.banthecams.org/Red-Light-Camera-News/the-sb-1342-reform-bill-has-been-gutted-by-camera-side-bill-not-worth-supporting-as-it-stands.html
- Clemens has since gotton defensive of what he DID. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/40/4063.asp
Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Posted on April 2nd, 2013 in Red-Light Cameras
Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, Ken Burke, the County Clerk of Circuit Courts in Pinellas County, Florida, wrote a letter to the Mayor of St. Petersburg detailing his many concerns over the city’s red-light camera program. The letter created quite a stir, and we applaud Mr. Burke for speaking out. Given his “insider” status, his observations are worth noting. We’ve reprinted his letter in its entirety.
February 20, 2013
The Honorable Bill Foster
Mayor, City of St. Petersburg
175 5th Street N
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Dear Mayor Foster,
Since the inception of the Red Light Camera Violation program, the Clerk’s office has received a significant amount of inquiries from citizens who have received these violations. Many of these citizens have correctly pointed out flaws in the statute which create an unfair process.
Citizens are resentful because of this. Although red light camera violations may represent a minority of the traffic cases received by this office from law enforcement agencies, the amount of time spent with citizens dealing with issues deriving from this flawed statute is clearly disproportionate. These citizens are upset with the poor communication, insufficient information, and resulting unfair penalties. During a normal, non red light camera traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle is identified using the driver’s license. The driver acknowledges receiving the traffic citation by signing the bottom of the citation. If there is a disagreement with the citation, the driver contacts the Clerk’s office to set up a court hearing. Clerk’s offices play an integral part of the process but only after there is direct communication between the law enforcement officer and the driver.
The procedure for red light camera violations contrasts sharply with the above. There is no acknowledgement by the driver of receiving the citation at the time of issuance. Therefore, a significant number of red light camera violations are issued erroneously to the owner of the vehicle rather than the driver. In addition, because Pinellas County is a tourist destination there is the added complication of violators driving rental cars. The result is a delay in direct communication between the issuer and the actual violator. A number of people have communicated to the Clerk’s office that the first notification they received of a red light camera violation is the Uniform Traffic Citation rather than the Notice of Violation from the city, as the Notice of Violation has been mailed to the rental company and not the driver.
There are many issues that significantly distinguish the red light camera Notice of Violations from the usual Uniform Traffic Citations, such as the following:
- 1.The driver does not receive the citation at the time of the incident.
- 2.The driver does not have to acknowledge driving the vehicle at time of the incident.
- 3.The fine on the Notice of Violation is $158. If not paid within 30 days of the date of the violation, the city no longer accepts the payment.
- 4.If the driver does not pay within 30 days, the violation is in limbo. After the 30th day up until the time of issuance of the Uniform Traffic Citation (usually 60 days) there is no method for the driver to pay the fine. This creates a good amount of consternation on the part of the driver.
- 5.Once the fine becomes a Uniform Traffic Citation, it jumps from $158 to $264.
- 6.The driver cannot challenge the red light violation through the court system at the $158 fine level. The driver must wait until a Uniform Traffic Citation is issued at the fine rate of $264 before scheduling a court appearance.
- 7.There is language included on the Notice of Violation sent out by the cities instructing the alleged violator: “To contest this violation: If you choose to appear before an official of the county court or plead not guilty, do not respond to this Notice of Violation. You will receive a Uniform Traffic Citation within 60 days of the violation date via certified mail. Instructions will be provided to you by the county clerk’s office as to how you should proceed.” No where included in this language is it mentioned that the fine will be $264 instead of $158. Also, it is illegal for the Clerk’s office to render legal advice. The role of Clerk’s office is to facilitate a person who wishes to contest a matter by scheduling a court date-not to “give instructions on how to proceed.”
- 8.The registered owner of the vehicle receives the notice of violation, regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense. The owner has the option to complete an affidavit transferring liability to the driver. The driver will not receive a notice of violation with a fine amount of $158. The driver instead will receive a uniform traffic citation, which is a $264 fine.
After a red light camera violation becomes a Uniform Traffic Citation:
- 9.If the person receiving the Uniform Traffic Citation claims they were not the driver, and contact with the Clerk’s office is within 30 days of the issuance date, the Clerk’s office supplies the person with an affidavit form which they mail to the city. The issuing city voids the citation, notifies the Clerk’s office, and may reissue the citation to the violator named in the affidavit.
- 10.When the contact with the Clerk’s office is 30 days after the issuance of the Uniform Traffic Citation and the person indicates that they were not the driver, the Clerk’s office can set up a court appearance at the request of the person who was issued the citation.
- 11.No points are issued against a person’s driver’s record in the case of a Uniform Traffic Citation being issued for a red light camera violation. As this is different from other traffic moving violations, citizens do inquire about the need to take a driver’s safety course.
The above items demonstrate how flawed the statute authorizing the Red Light Camera Violation program is. Citizens are resentful because of this. The red light camera violations represent a minority of the traffic related citations received by the Clerk’s office from law enforcement agencies across the county. The time spent with citizens, however, dealing with the issues due to the problems with the statute represents a disproportional amount. There is a basic unfairness.
A residual effect of the Red Light Camera Violation program is the ill will people have for our area. A citizen visiting from Delray Beach communicated to me that he was in St. Petersburg for a photo shoot for an advertising spread for a department store. He is a self-employed photographer and has the say so on the location of the shoot. He relayed to me that he will no longer pick Pinellas County to bring his business. He estimated that he dropped $4,000 in the local economy for his day’s work. He had a rental car and resented the fact that he was never given the opportunity to pay the fine of $158 instead of $264. He was correct since there was initially no direct communication to him as driver, as it was the rental car company who received the violation. Once the rental company completed the affidavit, he as the driver of the car no longer had the opportunity to pay the $158.
It is up to us in government to represent the interests of our citizens. When a statute which is discretionary to implement is so flawed, it should not be implemented.
The purpose of my letter is to request the City of St. Petersburg impose a moratorium on the issuance of red light camera violations and for the city to work with the League of Cities to correct the unfairness in the statute. The original statute was heavily supported by the League of Cities when it was passed. There should be an effort by the League to now correct the flaws in the bill. I will be glad to work with the city to educate legislators on the needed corrective action.
Please know that I am reaching out to each city within the county that has implemented this voluntary program to make the same request and to offer my help with the solution.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Very truly yours,
Honorable Charlie Gerdes, Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Honorable Jim Kennedy, Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Honorable Bill Dudley, Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Honorable Leslie Curran, Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Honorable Steve Kornell, Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Honorable Karl Nurse, Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Honorable Wengay Newton, Sr., Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Honorable Jeff Danner, Councilmember, City of St. Petersburg
Does Wandall work for ATS front group NCSR??? NYT says she is NCSR "president".
Melissa Wandall who brought Floridians the Wandall Scamera Act who based on past reports denies being paid to promote RLC, seems to be working for ATS Front Group NCSR.
"When asked about efforts to strike down a Florida law permitting traffic cameras, Melissa Wandall, president of the National Coalition for Safer Roads,"
(Ban the Cams has a PDF of this article in case it "disappears". The quote on here is on page 2 about half way).
NCSR is a known ATS Front Group http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/35/3585.asp
Quote: Last month, a group calling itself the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) obtained a great deal of exposure for red light cameras through the "National Stop on Red Week" publicity campaign. Several police departments around the country participated, with most news reports treating the issue as a public service announcement. Documents show the group coordinating this effort, NCSR, is controlled exclusively by the photo ticketing firm American Traffic Solutions (ATS).
As previously reported, NCSR is the creation of David Kelly, the head of the public relations firm Storm King Strategies, and ATS is just one of Kelly's many clients. According to congressional records, Kelly has received at least $580,000 since 2009 to lobby in favor of ticketing for the National Safety Council; for legislation mandating ignition interlocks on behalf of interlock manufacturers; and for reduced CAFE standards on behalf of Jaguar-Land Rover.
Documents incorporating NCSR Inc as a nonprofit entity in the state of Missouri confirm that NCSR is anything but the independent campaign of "victims, parents, medical professionals and first responders" as the group's publicity material suggests. NCSR's board of directors instead consists of three individuals: James D. Tuton, ATS president; George J. Hittner, ATS General Counsel; and Charles Territo, ATS spokesman.
Heck even former FL rep Ron Reagan who brought the RLC to FL works for them now.
Quote II: ",,,Ron Reagan, the former state representative responsible for legalizing cameras in Florida, both are now part of NCSR-ATS."
If what the NYT says is now true. It looks like Wandall works for a known Camera Vendor Front Group.
There has been speculation in the past that Wandall might be receiving financial support from those who financially benefit from RLC to lobby for them. This Newspaper.com article had the following quote:
Wandall's Coalition website lists insurance companies and photo enforcement firms as "supporters" (PDF File view list, 350k PDF). She has also confirmed receiving financial support from Manatee and Sarasota counties -- both of which stand to profit significantly from passage of this legislation. Despite receiving compensation for her lobbying activities, Wandall has not registered with the state as a lobbyist. County governments may not provide such payments to non-registered lobbyists.
"No person shall provide compensation for lobbying to any individual or business entity that is not a lobbying firm," Florida Statutes section 11.045 states. "'Lobbying' means influencing or attempting to influence legislative action or nonaction through oral or written communication or an attempt to obtain the goodwill of a member or employee of the legislature."
The Stop Red Light Running Coalition of Florida appears to match key criteria for a lobbying firm under state law.
"'Lobbying firm' means any business entity, including an individual contract lobbyist, that receives or becomes entitled to receive any compensation for the purpose of lobbying, where any partner, owner, officer, or employee of the business entity is a lobbyist," Florida Statutes section 11.045 states.
Is it true Melissa Wandall works for NCSR as the NYT article indicates??????
We don't know. All we know is that the NYT has a quote indicating she is NCSR president. Which was previoiusly held by ATS president James D. Tuton.
Note we will be happy to update this if we see corrections from the the NYT on this subject.
|Wandall NCSR 4.2.2013.pdf|
SIGNATURES REACHED in IOWA CITY, IA! RLC BAN PETITION FILED WITH CITY!
Petition Filed to Ban Traffic Cameras in Iowa City
By Gregg Hennigan, Reporter
Story Created: Apr 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM CDT
(Story Updated: Apr 1, 2013 at 4:54 PM CDT )
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa City residents opposed to red-light and speed cameras hope they can go where no other community in the state or the Legislature has gone by banning the devices.
They moved closer to that Monday by submitting a petition they hope forces the City Council to either adopt an ordinance outlawing traffic-enforcement cameras and other automated surveillance technology, like drones, or to send the matter to voters to decide.
But even if the petition is valid, there remains the major unresolved question of whether it was brought in a timely manner and therefore whether the City Council even has to act.
The petition effort was led by Iowa City residents Aleksey Gurtovoy and Martha Hampel, with the aid of the unusual pairing of the Johnson County Republicans and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.
Gurtovoy said they filed signatures from 3,322 registered Iowa City voters with the City Clerk’s Office Monday. They needed 2,500.
Gurtovoy said the cameras do not improve public safety, raise privacy concerns and are a money grab by cities.
“There are so many downsides,” he said. “If it wasn’t for revenue, this wouldn’t even be on table.”
Although the City Council voted 4-3 a year ago to allow traffic-enforcement cameras, none are up yet and are unlikely to be for at least a year as the Iowa Department of Transportation develops rules for their use on state routes.
The ordinance proposed in the petition would ban not only traffic-enforcement cameras but also drones and automatic license-plate recognition systems. The City Council has only considered red-light cameras.
The city now has 20 days to verify the signatures on the petition, which it will do by comparing them with voter rolls, City Clerk Marian Karr said. If it is deemed insufficient, the petitioners could ask for 15 more days to collect signatures.
A sufficient petition could set up an interesting legal dispute.
Gurtovoy and Hampel, backed by ACLU of Iowa attorneys, maintain that what they are seeking is what the City Charter classifies as an initiative. Last year they filed three affidavits to start an initiative, but City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes said it was a referendum.
An initiative proposes a measure for the council’s consideration. A referendum requires the City Council to reconsider an existing measure, and a referendum petition must be filed within 60 days of the adoption of the measure in question or not until two years after an adoption.
The City Council adopted the red-light camera ordinance in February 2012, meaning a referendum would not be timely.
In both an initiative and a referendum, if the council does not take the requested action, the proposal goes to the public for a vote.
City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes said Monday that she would research the matter further and hopes to come to a determination soon.
“I have not spent any time on the ACLU’s review, and my plan is to take a look at that in more detail and see what I think,” she said.
The City Council would have the city's final say on whether it is a referendum or initiative. That opinion could be appealed to District Court.
While some state lawmakers have proposed bans or restrictions on traffic-enforcement cameras in recent years, those bills have gone nowhere. Alan Kemp, executive director of the Iowa League of Cities, said he was unaware of any city that had outlawed cameras either by a vote of a city council or the public.
Kemp and the ACLU of Iowa said they did not know of of any other Iowa town that allows citizens to petition for reconsideration of a law or put it up for a public vote.
Ban the Cams note: The one thing the scamera side is afraid of are public voters deciding the issue in general. The scamera side tends to do all sort of tricks to try to prevent any referendums in places they feel they will lose. This has occured in places like Texas, Washington State, and California.
Park Hill NY Neighbors want the tree replaced and the camera installation removed!
Decades-old tree cut down to accommodate red-light camera in Park Hill
Published: April 1, 2013 1:31 PM
Neighbors want the tree replaced and the camera installation removed. (April 1, 2013 1:32 PM)
Controversy is growing over a red-light camera in one Yonkers neighborhood.
Residents in Park Hill say they're unhappy that a decades-old cherry tree was cut down to accommodate the camera.
The city permitted American Traffic Solutions to install a red-light camera at the intersection of Rumsey Road and Spruce Street, but the company also cut down half the tree because it was blocking the camera.
Now, neighbors want the tree replaced and the camera installation removed.
City officials say a subcontractor never had permission to cut down the tree. They say they're working on possible solutions that include replacing the tree and re-thinking the camera's location.
NYC Speed SCAMERA part two. Bronx Senate head trying to push speed scamera again.
One interesting claim by speed scamera promotorers.
They insinuate that "30"% of all crashes are caused by "speeding".
But what is interesing is that in 25 other states the number is under 2%.
Quote: “Out of 2.7 million traffic accidents recorded in twenty-five states over the course of a year, only 1.6 percent were caused by drivers who exceeded the posted speed limit. The figures come from an analysis by TheNewspaper of annual reports typically compiled by state for use in applying for grant money from the National Highway Transportation Agency (NHTSA).”
What we have here is 25 states indicating that EXCEEDING the speed limit was the cause in under 2% of crashes, yet NYC claiming "speeding was a factor in nearly 30%" of traffic fatalites.
NOTICE HOW THE CITY DOESN'T BRING UP CAUSED BY.
That is on purpose.
There is no doubt the NYC numbers are counting accidents that were NEVER CAUSED by exceeding the speed limit. Might have been there but not the underlying cause. (NYC is notorious for underset speed limits).
- It is like claiming a accident is caused by speeding because a drunk crossed the center lane going under the speed limit hitting someone going 5 over.
The cause was obviously the drunk. But because one driver was exceeding the speed limit it is logged in as speeding related
Makes you wonder why the city can't give numbers of HOW MANY CRASHES WERE PRIMARILY CAUSED BY GOING TOO FAST FOR CONDITIONS AND OVER THE SPEED LIMIT.
NOT LOGGED in just because the speeding was there but not really a cause.
Don't you just like how the scamera side plays with smoke and mirrors.
Heck the speed camera promoters attempted just last month to use two terrible crashes in NYC that a speed camera would have NEVER likely stopped. http://www.banthecams.org/Speed-Camera-News/crashes-used-on-nyc-article-on-speed-scameras-would-likely-never-have-been-stopped-by-speed-scamera.html
Make no mistake this is about money. THE committee hearing it in Albany, NY was the BUDGET based on earlier reports.
Iowa Traffic Surveillance and Drones forum
Part 1 of clips from the Traffic Surveillance and Drones forum. An excellent panel of concerned experts covered many aspects of the impact of increasing surveillance.
Posted on Ban Traffic Cameras and Drones in Iowa City. https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/BanTrafficCamerasAndDronesInIowaCity/503527319704811/?notif_t=group_activity
page 31 of 94
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