Councilmembers Parks and Cardenas introduce motion to keep controversial red light traffic cameras
Assess public safety value
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Councilmembers Tony Cardenas and Bernard Parks said they want to keep the city’s controversial red light traffic camera program alive for another year in order to assess its public safety value and consider how to make it work financially.
The councilmembers introduced a motion asking the Police Commission to keep the program’s operator, American Traffic Solutions, on a month-to-month contract for up to one year.
The commission voted last week to end the program, citing concerns that it is running a deficit, in part because state law does not mandate that judges actively enforce traffic tickets generated by the cameras.
“What we really have here is a voluntary citation program, and it’s voluntary because there are no teeth in it. There’s no enforcement mechanism,” commission vice president Alan Skobin said last week. “So it relies, in large part, on the goodwill of people who receive these citations in the mail.”
In its 5-0 vote, the Police Commission also questioned the program’s safety value.
But Cardenas said a recent LAPD study found that collisions at the 32 city intersections with cameras decreased by 64 percent from 2004 and 2009.
He called for the Police Department to study the public safety risk of turning the cameras off. The motion also asks the City Administrative Officer and Chief Legislative Analyst to jointly look at the holes in the program’s fee structure and to meet with the Los Angeles Superior Court regarding refusal to impose penalties for red light camera violations.
Police Commission executive director Richard Tefank said he expects to discuss the issue in council on Friday. He said it was premature to discuss what the commissioners would have to hear in order to change the vote.
“There are a variety of things that have to be vetted with the council,” Tefrank said, including how it defines a cost-neutral program.
The Police Commission has until July 31, when the program is set to expire, to extend photo red light program.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The City Council voted unanimously today to pull the plug on its automated photo red light program, which issues tickets as high as $480 to drivers snapped running red lights.
After more than an hour of debate, all 13 council members present agreed to stop issuing tickets generated by the cameras, as of midnight Sunday.
The council did not decide when its contract with American Traffic Solutions, which manages the tickets generated by the cameras, would finally be terminated.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A Los Angeles City Council stalemate over extending the city’s contract for red light cameras today effectively ended the program, in which drivers caught running red lights got tickets carrying fines of $446 each.
After more than an hour of debate, the 15-member council was unable to muster enough votes to overturn the Police Commission decision to let the contract with American Traffic Solution expire, effective July 31.
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles City Council agreed today to boost the amount that Los Angeles residents are billed when police officers respond to a false alarm call.
The ordinance, which still needs to be signed by the mayor, would up the city's False Alarm Fee to $149 from the current $136.
The increase was planned months ago, when the council was crafting the budget for this fiscal year and looking for ways to shrink the deficit.
The City Council confirmed the appointment of a nine-year Police Commission veteran to the Fire Commission, a move the mayor said will help bolster confidence in the fire department.
"I am confident that Alan Skobin will provide valuable public safety insight to the Board of Fire Commissioners,'' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement in response to the council's action.
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday gave final approval to changes in the truancy law that, pending approval by the mayor, would delay fines until a third offense and dramatically reduce the base fine for skipping school from $250 to $20.
The plan, introduced by Councilman Tony Cardenas and supported by Councilman Bernard Parks, contains new penalty options for a first or second violation. Offenders would be able to either propose a plan for how to improve their attendance, perform community service, tutoring or mentoring, or attend an after-school program.