MONROE'S CONTROVERSIAL RUN WITH RED LIGHT CAMERAS TO END
April 04, 2013
(MONROE, WA) -- From the outset the city of Monroe's decision to hook up and go steady with a red light camera company, without having locals involved in the decision, was fraught with controversy.
Monroe's red light camera deal soon to go bye-bye.
Angry residents, with the help of aniti-tax guru Tim Eyman rose up to fight the camera deal tooth and nail. As a counter-punch to the steamroller opposition to the cameras that developed, the city spent $83,000 in attorney's fees to sue local voters (with their own money) who were opposed to the cameras, rather than let Monroe Initiative No. 1 be voted on by the public.
Wherever in Washington State people have had a chance to vote on the cameras being used in their communities, they vote no.
For many people, there is a heavy handed aura of Orwell's "Big Brother" government attached to the cameras that they just cannot abide. For others, it is a due process thing.
And still for others, there's the belief the cameras represent a new way for local governments to slip under the wire and essentially levy a new tax on the great unwashed, without ever using the word tax or voting to increase taxes. The cameras have been called the "crack cocaine" of local governments.
Then there was the jewel of a camera company the city of Monroe decided to partner up with to put the cameras on the streets.
It turned out that Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., an Arizona based (parent company in Australia) red-light camera company had a few ethical challenges here and there around the country and more than once was caught red faced and back tracking.
Then in February came word that Redflex had fired its executive Vice President and had accused him of misconduct involving the company's "scandal-plagued Chicago contract," according the Chicago Tribune.
The city of Chicago grew to hold Redflex in such low regard that it voted to bar Redflex from doing any more business with the city.
Now Monroe looks to be giving Redflex the boot as well.
The contract with the company expires in the fall and Monroe city council members voted 4-2 Tuesday night in favor of the city sending Redflex a letter to notify the company that the city does not intend to renew the contract for the controversial cameras.
And there's two interesting things about this, among others.
One is that many people will probably be pleased, relatively speaking, to be pulled over on a Monroe street by a real flesh and blood Monroe cop and handed a speeding ticket, considering the Redflex alternative.
At least you know you had due process, that you weren't nabbed by a nanny Big Brother contraption of wires and diodes that is not a part of your community and does not care about due process and its an extra bonus if the cop is hot looking.
And secondly, it may not have dawned yet on Tim Eyman or the Monroe group Seeds of Liberty and many other Monroe people who stood up and fought against these cameras, but you guys won in the end.
The odds makers would say the rough and tumble fight you put up and all the artillery you brought to the field - including costing the city $83,000 to fight you all - literally, in the end, drove the city of Monroe out of the red light camera business.
As to whether the powers that be will ever admit that is another story.