Entries Tagged 'red light cameras' ↓

Smart City or Big Brother?

I get a little nervous when government, especially local governments start suggesting video monitoring in public spaces outdoors;

It’s a reoccurring crime in Sioux Falls, vandals damaging art on the Sioux Falls SculptureWalk.

That’s why Sioux Falls’ IT manager says the city is looking at monitoring the area through video cameras.

“So if somebody is starting to climb onto a sculpture, that video technology can alert a staff member. Then somebody can go check it out,” IT Manager Jon Klemme said.

Trust me, not a fan of art vandals, but when you put expensive bronzes in public spaces, things can happen, that is why they are insured. Besides, I think the expense to taxpayers to protect art that is insured with video monitoring isn’t worth it. I also find it ironic that the city would consider video monitoring art when they said it is too expensive to store data for police to have body cameras? Let’s talk about priorities.

The city has also added several traffic signals that move cars more safely and quickly using artificial intelligence.

As I have told people, I haven’t noticed a difference on Minnesota Avenue with traffic flow, so not sure how well it is working. What they do need to fix is the light at 26th and Cliff that is timed goofy all the time, and while they are at it fix the roller coaster ride over the RR tracks in front of Avera on Cliff. Quite possibly one of the worst street repair jobs I have seen in the city.

How can we also forget the UNCONSITUTIONAL red light cameras that had to be taken down?

Think about all of the street lights in Sioux Falls. To save money and electricity, those lights could be turned off at night until technology senses movement nearby.

Now that is a good idea, I much prefer movement detectors over video monitoring.

Culbertson says people are often concerned when a city starts collecting more data, so city officials should make sure citizens are comfortable with the technology before it’s rolled out.

In reality, this should really be dictated by city ordinance and voted on by the citizens through the Charter Revision Commission and a city election. We must take government monitoring seriously. They already snoop in our yards and Bruce has even caught them digging around his junk pile during Project NICE. We pay city employees to SERVICE us, NOT SNOOP on us. If you are concerned about the well being of your private property that is the responsibility of the individual, NOT the city.

*You know what would be really fun, live web feed cameras installed in the City Center Admin building so we can watch city employees work 🙂

Red Light Cameras, trouble all over the country

These things need to be taken out;

If you happen to drive too fast through Elmwood Place, Ohio, the cards are stacked against you, according to a judge who calls the village’s automated speeding camera “a scam that motorists can’t win.”

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman on Thursday ruled that the village’s ordinance violated due process. He issued an injunction barring its enforcement.

There have been numerous legal challenges across the U.S. to red-light camera laws but observers said this is the first ruling they know of striking down a municipality’s speeding-camera law.

“Speed-camera cases have been litigated but we have not come across one where a judge has said, ‘Stop this,'” attorney Mike Allen, whose firm brought the case, told MSN News on Friday. “I think it’s going to touch off a firestorm around the country. I really do.”

What have I been saying about those Red Light cameras . . . (H/T-Helga)

. . . and an officer being present to witness a crime? It seems California is onto something;

The appellate decision, moreover, provides legal weight for a class-action lawsuit that’s been filed against Redflex and the city of Victorville, alleging that red light cameras violate the long-standing rule that an officer must witness a traffic infraction to issue a ticket.

Duh. Duh. And Duh.

Looks likes the red light cameras may be toast

Correct me if I am wrong, but according to Item #19 on this coming week’s council agenda, looks like the red light cameras are finally toast, that is if the council approves the ordinance change; redlight

Wonder if Argue Endorser publisher Beck will show up crying about how red light cameras save lives. Being a cautious and defensive driver and/or pedestrian saves lives, unconstitutional ordinances complicate and burden those lives.

L.A. City Council shuts down red-light cameras (H/T – Helga)

Imagine that, paying red-light camera tickets is voluntary? Who knew? Of course it is voluntary, if you are not being charged with a criminal offense because an officer is NOT present, how can you expect to pay a fine for something isn’t a criminal offense? I have a feeling the cameras will never come back on in Sioux Falls.

July 28, 2011

After months of intense debate over the fate and effectiveness of red-light cameras, the L.A. City Council on Wednesday delivered a final blow to the controversial program, voting unanimously to shut it down July 31.

The 13-0 vote came in the wake of a backlash over disclosures that paying hefty fines for camera-issued tickets is considered “voluntary” by many city officials and because the Los Angeles County Superior Court has opted not to aggressively enforce collections against those who simply ignore the citations.

“Let it die, enough already,” Councilman Paul Krekorian begged his colleagues. “Let’s just be done with this and move on.”

Since the Police Commission decided in early June to kill the program, the issue has ricocheted through a series of City Hall committee hearings and council debates.

Some council members, like Bernard C. Parks, insisted the program helps save lives and pays for itself in intangible safety improvements. Others said it should be terminated immediately.

Critics noted that most of the more than 180,000 photo tickets issued since the program began in 2004 were for illegal right turns, which many experts consider less dangerous than speeding through intersections against red lights.

But recent news that motorists in L.A. County can decline to pay or appear in court on camera-issued tickets without facing criminal charges, problems with the Department of Motor Vehicles or negative reports on credit scores, appeared to unite the council on Wednesday.

Parks, who joined the unanimous decision, said he was “not supportive of eliminating the system” and hopes to eventually bring back the cameras. He urged colleagues to concentrate on an orderly phase-out of the full program after the photo enforcement equipment is turned off.

City staff was directed to negotiate a contract extension with American Traffic Solutions, the private firm that operates the cameras. The extra time is needed, officials say, to deal with outstanding issues, including removing equipment and allowing the city to access the vendor’s records, including some 65,000 unpaid tickets.

Terms of the contract extension must be negotiated, but many council members said it should be “cost-neutral” and could last six to 18 months.

Much of Wednesday’s debate focused on the city’s inability to pursue those who simply ignore tickets. There has been an uproar in recent days from drivers who diligently paid their fines. Some drivers have unsuccessfully demanded refunds and contemplated the possibility of a class-action lawsuit to recover fines and fees that can top $500.

Court officials have chosen not to aggressively enforce penalties for camera tickets when the recipient fails to respond. They note the tickets are mailed to a vehicle’s registered owner, who may not be the person who committed the violation. The only potential problem for those who do not respond to the tickets, officials said, would be the appearance of a delinquent traffic violation on a background search of court files.

Councilman Mitchell Englander warned that could lead to “severe” consequences from current or future employers who take issue with alleged or outstanding traffic violations.

Jim McCluskey, a spokesman for FedEx, said the company prides itself on safety and has its own set of disciplinary procedures to deal with alleged moving violations involving future or current drivers and prospective employees.

“Any driving violation is something that we’re aware of,” he said. “Whether they’re enforced or not, we’re always encouraging safe drivers.”


Who says our legislature wastes time?

I applaud them today for recognizing the US Constitution:

A legislative committee recommended passage of a statewide ban on red light traffic cameras this morning.

That is pretty strong committee support. I predict it will pass on a full vote, and it should. Fining people without an appeals process or REAL proof of guilt (fining the license plate instead of the driver) is unjustified. It’s also unconstitutional. The guilty should always get their day in court.

Finally! The SD Supreme court may get to decide on the unconstitutional city charter

Image; Austin Chronicle

A snowball chance in Hell;

Sioux Falls, on the other hand, wants to see the Supreme Court uphold the administrative appeals process it uses to deal with the small percentage of people who contest tickets for red light running at 10th and Minnesota and for a wide variety of city ordinance violations.

LMAO! I don’t see that happening.

“We knew it was a case for the Supreme Court. It was just a matter of who was going to file the appeal,” Eiseland said.

That ruling will be a good day for SF residents and a very bad day for the city’s attorney’s office.

About F’ing time! Justice prevails!

The cameras have been shut down and now if we can dismantle our unconstitutional code enforcement system things my start getting better;

At 2:30 p.m., Police Chief Doug Barthel announced that the automated system would be shut down indefinitely while the city awaits a final ruling in a 2006 lawsuit filed by Sioux Falls businessman I.L. Wiedermann.

This is a MASSIVE constitutional victory for the citizens of SF. Remember, this isn’t about running red lights and safety, this is about due process and your rights. You should be able to face your accuser in a court of law.

While I.L. Wiedermann is a little rough around the edges, I have defended him before, a week after he almost got thrown out of a council meeting, I showed up to the meeting and chastised the mayor about first amendment rights and told him and the council if they can’t take criticism they should resign. When I sat down, a plain clothes PO hovered over me, I turned around and gave him a dirty look, and he walked off. I.L. and Dan Daily have sacrificed a lot for our rights, and they deserve a big ‘Thank You’. Whether you agree or not, the US Constitution is there to protect you from big brother.

Welcome to Sioux ‘Unconstitutional’ Falls

What is it with this city and their ignorance of the constitution and state law? This of course comes as no surprise;

Caldwell found that the city cannot legally write tickets for red-light running as it does now, treating the offense as a civil matter instead of a criminal matter.

This has been my main argument all along. Running red lights should be ILLEGAL but as Caldwell points out, it is a criminal matter. Why? Because some people get killed when they run red lights. If I had a loved one ran over by a red light runner, what would I prefer? They go to jail or that you wreck their credit?

Caldwell also ruled that the administrative appeals process is unconstitutional – a decision that mirrors one she made in a lawsuit over code violations brought against the city by Dan Daily.

Due Process. Due Process. Due Process. What part of that doesn’t the city freaking understand? Fascist regimes have been taken out of commission over history for a reason, while it may be good to be king it doesn’t work out so well for the subjects.

That process violates a citizen’s due process rights, Caldwell ruled. She did not, however, order the city to stop issuing red-light tickets or to dismantle the administrative appeals system.

Huh? So you are saying what the city is doing is unconstitutional but you did not advise them to dismantle the system? Nice. Caldwell is also part of the problem.

The city and Redflex were handed victories, as well. The city did not err by forbidding right turns at the intersection, did not place the lights improperly and Caldwell ruled that there is a legitimate public safety interest in operating the cameras.

There is legitimate public safety interests all over this city. Are we gonna put a camera in every intersection? We cannot trample the constitutional rights of all people because a few don’t know how to apply a brake pedal in their car.

As of today, the red-light cameras are still functional,” Barthel said.

Ignorance is bliss.

And that ignorance continues with this silly story by Stormland TV News on the issue;

In a written ruling a Sioux Falls judge dismissed most of the lawsuit,

WTF are you talking about? Violating state law and the constitution is a pretty major thing. When is Stormland TV going to remove their heads from their asses and stop being the propaganda wing for City Hall. Report the frickin’ news as it is – without the spin.

The SF city council agrees with Staggers, but it isn’t even a blip on the radar screen

Want to make your home or business safer? The city wants to charge you for that.

The Gargoyle Leader is featuring two stories today about how the city council is at odds with Dr. Staggers (again) yet no mention of how they had a change of heart over one of Kermit’s suggestions. Last week Kermit suggested that a 23 page proposed city ordinance on alarm systems should go through committee first, because the ordinance is too far-reaching (it includes a licensing and registration fee to have a security system – that’s right kiddies, only in Sioux Falls would they find a way to charge you for making your business safer). At the time, most of the city council disagreed with Kermit and the PD proclaimed that they have spent “two years” writing the ordinance (like that makes it better). They felt that we should just ‘trust’ the PD. Well, big surprise in the informational meeting on Monday! After fielding many ‘concerns’ from constituents on the matter, the rest of the council decided it was a good idea to go to committee.

Once again, Kermit was with the citizens and right on the issue and the rest of the council was wrong. Is anyone detecting a trend here?

Now to the stories in the Gargoyle. The first one is a blatant attempt to smear Kermit a week before the election. It is clear that there is nothing wrong with Kermit wanting to exempt non-profits that help the homeless, but the rest of the council just can’t resist shooting him down, it was CLEARLY POLITICAL. Even Munson gets in the fight and tries to stifle Kermit (in between the babblings of Quen Be De Knudson).

Councilor Kermit Staggers introduced an amendment that would have added the proposed County Permanent Supportive Housing, St. Francis House and the Union Gospel Mission. “I think what we want to do with this amendment is to send a message that we are concerned about homeless people. I think that’s a very good message for us to send,” he said. Councilor Bob Litz, who proposed adding fire inspection fees to the exemption list, said Staggers’ amendment is veering away from the original intention of the ordinance. Since 1996, the exemptions have been applied toward projects involving volunteer labor and materials that promote affordable housing, city planning director Mike Cooper said. Cooper said the city would lose more money with multifamily projects such as homeless housing and estimated the city would lose a minimum $300 per unit for an apartment complex.

Cooper is concerned about the city losing a couple of grand while flushing $5 million down the toilet called the ‘River Greenway Project.’ Give me a f’ing break! This was clearly political.

And once again, Kermit has proven that he is on the right side of another issue;

Mayoral candidate and current City Councilor Kermit Staggers hopes that doesn’t happen. “I hope he wins,” Staggers said of Wiedermann. As a city councilor, Staggers has spoken against the cameras, often casting the lone vote for their removal. Countdown-number systems that show pedestrians and motorists how many seconds remain until the light turns yellow have been installed at some downtown crosswalks. Those systems are the proper way to deal with intersections that see a lot of foot traffic, Staggers said.

But Vernon can’t resist the urge to claim all drivers that go thru that intersection, “Guilty until proven innocent.”

Vernon Brown cited the death of Argus Leader employee Edie Adams, who was killed at the intersection of 10th and Minnesota as she crossed the street in 2003, as a reason that location needs the camera system.

That has always been my concern with the cameras. I assume the person who killed Adams was prosecuted and handed a punishment. So why do the rest of us have to pay for the crime? It is clear what kind of mayor Brown would make. He would probably ramp up code enforcement to an even higher level of ridiculousness. We need a mayor who trusts us as citizens to do the right thing, not presume we are all guilty.

HERE is Kermit’s TV spot