Tag Archives: red light cameras
With city elections on the horizon for 2015, one local group is asking candidates for Chicago alderman to sign a pledge to vote for repealing the city’s red light and speed camera programs if they get elected.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras announced its new candidate pledge this week as part of their ongoing campaign to inform drivers about the cameras and voters about which aldermen voted for the city’s speed camera program.
“Red light cameras and speed cameras are unsafe, unfair and unconstitutional” said Mark Wallace, Director of the group. “As we continue our campaign to protest Aldermen who voted in favor of Chicago’s speed camera ordinance, we also want to recognize those elected officials who are championing our cause to ban the cams in Chicago,” said Wallace.
A federal judge last week sided with the former executive vice president of red light camera manufacturer Redflex Traffic Systems who is suing his former employer for wrongful termination. District Judge George H. Wu issued a tentative ruling last Thursday in favor of Aaron M. Rosenberg.
The Australian firm fired Rosenberg after he was caught bribing a top city official in Chicago, Illinois. The company then sued Rosenberg and his wife in an Arizona court. Rosenberg, who lives in Los Angeles, countersued in California Superior Court in February, arguing he was just following orders from the company.
For his suit, Rosenberg served court papers on the Arizona and the California offices of Redflex. Redflex rejected this service, calling the Arizona corporation Redflex Traffic Systems Inc a “sham defendant, which does not exist.” The company insisted on removing the lawsuit to federal court because Rosenberg never worked for a California-based company.
Manned with signs and fliers on all four corners of the intersection of Clark St. and Irving Park Rd., approximately 15 protestors opposed to red light and speed camera enforcement elicited loud and positive responses Saturday afternoon from supportive drivers.
Only one person riding a Divvy bike expressed opposition shouting at the protestors to “just obey the law.”
This was just the most recent stop on the citywide tour of a joint protests being held by Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras and Cook County Campaign for Liberty.
Cars and trucks stopped or passing through the Northside intersection near Wrigley Field honked and yelled out their support for the protestors.
That particular intersection is home to both a red light camera and a speed camera located a half block east on Irving Park.
Anti-red light/speed camera groups will be on the North Side Saturday to protest the city’s traffic camera policies–and in particular bring attention to a speed camera that protects dogs and not children.
Members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras and Cook County Campaign for Liberty will be protesting at the intersection of Clark St. and Irving Park Road between 11 AM and 2 PM.
This location has both a red light camera and a nearby speed camera just east on Irving Park Rd. which is situated between two cemeteries and near the entrance to a dog park.
The speed camera there is within 1/8th of a mile from the entrance to Challenger Park, but park is actually a dog run and is 3/8ths of a mile of parking lot from Irving Park Rd.
ABC 7 was on hand in Ottawa, IL to cover the oral arguments for Keating V. Chicago in front of the Illinois Supreme Court last Wednesday.
WGN News also did a piece on the hearing but, use video of speed cameras not red light cameras in their reporting.
The day before the hearing, NBC 5 sat down with Patrick Keating, the class action lawsuit’s lead attorney, to lay out his case.
County State’s Attorney Stops East St. Louis “Speed Camera” Program
Speed camera enforcement is only legal in one city in Illinois–and that’s Chicago.
But that didn’t stop East St. Louis.
The city hired a private company to help them start issuing $240 camera tickets to drivers allegedly speeding in construction zones.
But now, after many complaints the St. Clair State’s Attorney stepped in and told the East St. Louis Police Department to discontinue the practice according to KDSK TV.
The Police Chief claims they are legal, but was forced to non-suit a bunch of these tickets recently because the State’s Attorney says these tickets are not being adjudicated by a judge but by an administrative law officer.
H/T: Stephen Donaldson
Palos Hills To Install New Red Light Camera
OTTAWA — A class-action lawsuit that aims to end the city’s red-light camera program — and possibly lead to refunds to drivers for every ticket issued since it started in 2003 — was argued before the Illinois Supreme Court Wednesday, but justices gave no indication which way they might rule.
Attorney Mike Reagan told the court that the city did not have the legal authority to start using cameras in 2003 because the Illinois General Assembly had not passed a law specifically allowing this type of traffic enforcement.
Reagan also argued that the city, by using the cameras, actually violated Illinois laws requiring uniform traffic rules statewide, which applies to such things as the color of stop signs, traffic lights and other rules of the road.
“The city lacked the power to enact this ordinance,” Reagan said. The city law “destroys uniformity and uniform enforcement of traffic laws.”
State lawmakers did not OK automated red-light cameras until 2006, but then restricted their use to just eight of 102 counties, including Cook, the collar counties and counties near St. Louis.
Keating is the lead attorney on a class action lawsuit challenging the validity of Chicago’s behemoth of a red light camera enforcement program–a case which the Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday.
The lawsuit has been working its way up the legal food chain the past few years will get its proverbial day in court at the historical Ottawa Courthouse starting at 11 AM.
Depending on how they rule, the Supreme Court could open up Chicago to the possibility of having to refund tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars in red light camera fines collected over the years.
Chicago has bragging rights to having the nation’s and perhaps the world’s largest red light camera enforcement program. At its peak it had 384 cameras at 191 intersections and has generated over half a billion in revenue for the city over the past 11 years since it’s inception in 2003.
But Keating’s suit contends there are major legal flaws with Chicago’s red light camera enforcement–legal issues at odds with the Illinois constitution.
First it was Mayor Emanuel. Now it’s Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Two weeks ago, ABC 7 reporter Ben Bradley ran the license plates on the Mayor’s motorcade and found out those two vehicles had racked up 17 red light camera tickets and/or speed camera warnings.
Monday night, Bradley had Preckwinkle in his sights. Or at least the vehicle which drivers her around.
Even as Redflex Traffic Systems’ scandal-plagued 11-year tenure operating the nation’s largest red-light camera system was ending, it was a particularly lucrative year for the company.
The last Redlfex cameras — at the intersection of Grand, Kostner and North — were turned off in February, but in the year before that, the company raked in $24 million, city records show, the second most profitable year in the company’s Chicago history.
The money flowed in even after February 2013, the date the company was banned from bidding on new work with the city. Xerox Local Solutions now runs the city’s red-light camera system.
“Redflex is out of the picture and [everything is] under the control of Xerox,” Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Scales said Friday. “Their contract is over and we have no financial relationship with Redflex now.”
Redflex was unceremoniously banned from bidding to maintain control of the cameras after the Tribune revealed an alleged bribery scandal that found the CDOT Deputy Commissioner overseeing the program accepted tickets to sporting events, luxury hotel accommodations, meals and other gifts from company executives. Federal authorities are now investigating the allegations.