Chicago Speed Camera Ordinance Passes 33-14
After a series of strong floor speeches from many alderman in support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speed camera ordinance, the ordinance passed with a 33-14 vote at this morning’s Chicago City Council meeting.
Many of the alderman voicing their support admitted they were getting strong constituent opposition to the ordinance, but felt the speed cameras around schools and parks would improve safety and save lives.
Alderman James Balcer, who had been hit by a car as a child, gave a strong, passionate speech in support of the cameras.
“The speed cameras are good and good for Chicago, and they will save lives” said Balcer. “I’ll say this to my colleagues, if you don’t want them I will take them in my ward. I vote yes.”
Alderman Joe Moore (49th) who was initially opposed to the idea, explained that he changed his mind when, while visiting family in Washington D.C., he received two of his very own speed camera tickets in Montgomery County and learned his lesson.
My first reaction was to be opposed to it,” said Moore. “But the camera does not play favorites. Whether you are an alderman or judge or off duty police officer if you’re speeding you will get a ticket. you cannot clout your way out of this ticket.”
The only alderman who spoke out against the ordinance was Ald. Leslie Hairston (4th), who wasn’t buying what the majority of her colleagues were saying.
“Where I am from, we look at it a little different,” said Hairston pointing out 90% of her ward is covered by safety zones. “I don’t stand here and support anyone breaking the law. My concern is about what happens when they are not used for speed. That is my concern.”
Hairston was also worried about aldermanic input on where the cameras would go in the ward.
“My other concern is we are giving up our authority,” explained Hairston. “We don’t have a say where these go. We (aldermen) should have a say so. Last time I checked we were a democracy. Little by little are are giving up our authority.”
The 14 aldermen who voted no on the speed cam bill includes Aldermen Arena (45th), Cappleman (46th), Ameya Pawar (47th), Osterman (48th), Robert Fioretti (2nd), Pat Dowell (3rd), Will Burns (3th), Leslie Hairston (5th), Roderick Sawyer (6th),
Sandy Jackson (7th), Michael Chandler (24th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nicholas Sposato (36th), and Reilly (42nd).
Aldermen Roberto Maldonado (26th), Ariel Reboyras (30th), and Deborah Graham (29th) were all absent for the vote.
UPDATE 4/19/12: Correction to preliminary vote count and addition of no votes on the ordinance.