Tag Archives: Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras
Members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras have held dozens of protests over the years but until now, have never faced a counter-protest before.
Polls show, almost universally, save for the uninformed or anti-data/anti-safety crowd, red light and speed camera are loathed by Chicagoans.
But at this past Saturday’s protest against the cameras at 63rd & Pulaski along with
Jason Gonzales, a political challenger to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’a seat, faced a large contingent of counter protesters.
The anti-Gonzales demonstrators were full-throated in their support of the cameras and Madigan, who has been blocking a vote on a bill in Springfield to ban automated traffic cameras statewide.
Perhaps not coincidentally, John Bills, a foot soldier for Madigan, was recently convicted on 20 counts of bribery when he ran the city’s red light camera program starting from its inception in 2003.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras and Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin demanded a floor vote on his bill for a statewide ban on red light and speed cameras at a press conference on the South Side on Sunday.
Their demand comes in the wake of a recent guilty verdict given to John Bills, the former manager of the city’s red light cameras for accepting nearly $2 million in cash and gifts for helping Redflex Traffic Systems obtain and hold onto the lucrative contract to operate Chicago’s red light camera system. The company raked in over $150 million over the 11 years they held the contract for the nation’s largest RLC program.
Dunkin introduced the bill (HB 141) in Springfield nearly 13 months ago, where it’s sat in the rules committee since.
Turn them off and take them down.
That’s the essence of what Illinois State Representative LaShawn Ford wants to do to all red light and speed cameras operating in Illinois.
Ford recently introduced legislation in Springfield–legislation that could come up before the Illinois General Assembly as soon as next month according to NBC 5.
In fact, a protest spearheaded by Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, took place Monday to vent the frustration of locals–including Ald. George Cardenas.
Cardenas and his constituents point out the location selected by the Chicago Department of Transportation is not protecting any children due to the lack of said juveniles in this heavily industrial stretch of Archer Avenue. Sure, there’s a playlot nearby, but well out of view and far from the camera.
On Saturday August 22nd, the group plans a demonstration at the intersection of 87th & Lafayette from 11 AM to 2 PM.
“This intersection was mentioned in several media reports this week as one of the top revenue generating cameras in the City of Chicago pulling in $5.8 million in infractions since May 2011,” states the group’s press release. “Red Light Cameras were also in the news this week as embattled RedFlex CEO Karen Finley changed her plea to guilty in the $2 million dollar bribery scheme she allegedly engineered with a Chicago transportation official.”
The lawsuit, Kata v. City of Chicago, was filed in 2012, but Thursday’s hearing addressed the city’s motion to have the case dismissed.
But after 2 1/2 hours of sparring between attorneys for the city and those that brought the suit, Judge Rita M. Novak sided with the plaintiffs on several points but continued the city’s motion until Oct. 6 to hear arguments on several other issues.
“We feel good, we feel optimistic,” Patrick Keating, one of the lead attorneys for those seeking to get rid of the cameras, said outside the courtroom. “I think the court gave very careful consideration of the arguments. We’re pleased the case continues and look forward to discussing the merits of the other issues.”
Chicago’s red-light camera program, which began in 2003, is the nation’s largest with 302 cameras at 147 intersections. It has generated over $500 million in revenue for the city — money opponents believe should be refunded to the drivers who paid the fines.
A local group dedicated to eradicating red light and speed cameras from Chicago streets, was able to put a few notches in their political belt during the most recent municipal elections.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras sent their pledge to abolish red light and speed cameras to all city aldermanic and mayoral candidates prior to the election. Eight of those candidates who signed the group’s pledge, won city council seats for the next four years.
Nearly 50 candidates representing races in 30 wards, and four mayoral candidates signed the group’s pledge.
“We want to congratulate newly elected on their impressive victories and express our gratitude to these champions of reform on their election to the City Council” said Mark Wallace, Director of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.
The list includes three new aldermen–Susan Sadlowski-Garza, Derrick Curtis and David Moore as well as Toni Foulkes, an incumbent who was redistricted out of her current ward but won in the newly drawn 16th ward.
Next to pensions, the cameras are a close second in the top tier of issues being discussed by the candidates. Even USA Today says so.
One group who’s done an effective job of making the automated traffic enforcement cameras a hot topic is the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras. They’ve been holding protests around the city for the better part of two years and asked candidates to sign a pledge to dismantle both programs if elected.
Spring weather will bring the crew from the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras out this weekend for their first protest of 2015.
The group will meet and protest at the intersection of 55th & Western Saturday morning at 11 AM.
This particular location has both red light camera enforcement and speed camera enforcement at nearby Gage Park.
But a little rain won’t be enough to deter the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras from protesting Saturday afternoon on the city’s South Side.
The group, which has held quite a number of protests against both red light and speed cameras at locations across the city the past year and a half.
Saturday they’ll be holding signs and handing out fliers at the intersection of 63rd and Martin Luther King Drive from 11 AM until 2 PM.
The group wants area drivers to know Willie Cochran, the alderman for the 20th ward where the cameras are located. As a member of the Chicago City Council, Cochran voted for the speed cameras two years ago.
Their hope is they can convince the alderman to sign their pledge to repeal the city’s lucrative red light and speed camera programs.