Red Light Cameras Are Here to Stay - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/26/07

Red Light Cameras Are Here to Stay

Red light cameras get the "green light" from the City Council again, and will continue to operate in Lubbock.

In a 5-to-2 vote Tuesday afternoon, Councilman John Leonard's resolution to remove red light cameras from Lubbock intersections failed.

Leonard wrote the resolution because he says the state has substantially changed red light camera enforcement by capping fines, cutting revenue and mandating how cities use what's left. Under the current contract, Lubbock can cancel their agreement for all of those reasons.

In an online poll that started Monday night, NewsChannel 11 asked: With some red light cameras already in place, do you think the city council should vote to take them down? Of the more than 277 people who voted, 77 percent of our viewers said yes the city should take them down, while 23 percent said the red light cameras should remain in place.

NewsChannel 11 wants to point out that the poll only reflects the opinions of those who voted. And while that poll was heavily referenced in Tuesday morning's meeting, the results didn't reflect the final council vote.

"Let's vote for what our citizens want. Let's not vote for what we here on the council want...a few more revenue dollars," says Leonard.

It's a request that Leonard says fell on deaf ears at Tuesday's meeting. Emotions ran high as city leaders laid out their personal feelings regarding whether or not red light cameras should remain.

"One constituent wrote me and he could not understand why some councilmen and state representatives were so against the law abiding citizens and so in favor of the lawbreakers," says Councilwoman Phyllis Jones.

"Phyllis would you read the next sentence that same individual wrote in that E-mail," says Leonard.

"He went on and said if you don't want to get your due process violated then don't run the red light," says Jones.

"If you don't want to violate your due process," says Leonard.

"I have the floor don't I? I don't want to argue," replied Jones.

Up only a few weeks, the red light cameras are already catching violators in Lubbock. But a new state law is putting the brakes on the city's estimated revenue. The state will now receive half of the $1.8 million the city expected to make off of red light tickets. But some council members still claim safety has always been the number one issue.

"Since this is about safety, I would encourage us to put up more cameras," says Jones.

"No one's arguing we shouldn't prosecute red light runners, we're all on the same team in that regard. The question is what is the most prudent and appropriate way to do it?" says Councilman Todd Klein.

"I've got mixed emotions about what we should do," says Councilman Jim Gilbreath.

Video taken during the two week trial period brought the discussion to a screeching halt, showing there is a problem.

"The motion fails 5 to 2," says Mayor David Miller.

It's a problem with no easy solution.

"I hope we can work together to make this work because we are going to have red light cameras in Lubbock. The question is how can we properly evaluate their use and save lives and property damage as we use them," says Mayor David Miller.

Three cameras are already in operation. Nine more cameras are being installed and enforcement should start by July 1st. There will be no warning period at those intersections.

Violators will also be able to view the actual images through a Web site (click here) provided by the vendor, American Traffic Solutions (click here). 

For more information on Lubbock's Red For A Reason public safety campaign, (click here).

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Red Light Camera Locations
Find out what intersections red light cameras will be going up in Lubbock.

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