Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our friend, Hastighetslotteriet, or The Speed Camera Lottery: The fun theory works in Stockholm, but NOT in Joy Cooper's Hallandale Beach, Red-light Camera Central



Hastighetslotteriet - Rolighetsteorin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9wMoK0Gxcs

With Swedish subtitles

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The Speed Camera Lottery - The Fun Theory

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iynzHWwJXaA
In English


Today's blog post features one of the many interesting public policy ideas that I've had waiting in cold storage in Draft for a few weeks that's finally coming out to play, with more set to come out over the weekend as it gets warmer -until Tuesday's cold front, which may require me wearing some IU sweatshirts while out and about for the first time since February.

Ideas like transportation policy in an auto-centric region of the country like South Florida, where locally, I travel on F-rated roads; traffic synchronization as an overdue dream that never quite becomes a reality because of bureaucracy; South Florida cities using legitimate safety concerns as the raison d'être to install red-light cameras, and then completely ignoring the evidence that they aren't making the community any safer but are expanding the program nonetheless in order to male their individual city halls a tidy sum, or in Hallandale Beach's case, a windfall...



While the sort of positive reinforcement and appeal to the best in human behavior that this Volkswagen-sponsored video demonstrates could conceivably work as an experiment in democratic and orderly Stockholm, here in chaotic South Florida, the land of people who adamantly refuse to follow even the simple common sense rules at grocery stores in order to utilize the 'express line' -ten or less items- in my opinion, it's far too logical and optimistic to ever work in South Florida.

(Or, anywhere in the Sunshine State, where the
Florida Sec. of Transportation is Stephanie Kopelousos, a woman I've previously mentioned and taken to task here in this space many times before. While in office, she has largely managed to avoid ever having to actually speak to Florida's beleaguered citizen taxpayers to justify what passes for transportation policy, instead of hob-nobbing with govt. officials or transportation industry types who only want one thing: taxpayer money.
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Stephanie%20Kopelousos
http://www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/moreDOT/mission.shtm)


That's especially the case in the South Florida of 2010 where
FDOT and Broward County and Miami-Dade government and the MPOs have proven for years that they are constantly unable to predict the all-too-predictable consequences to their efforts on road projects or so-called 'experiments.'
http://www.95express.com/
http://republicans.transportation.house.gov/Media/file/TestimonyRailroads/2010-05-03-Kopelousos.pdf


That Broward County citizens reside in an area where there's a publicly-known level of pettiness, parochialism and maybe even unethical behavior, but which is ignored by local South Florida TV reporters, is just a reflection of how bad things are down here in terms of both civics and journalism: reporters, editors and producers too lazy to report on a story that is served up to them on a silver platter by the Broward Bulldog's Dan Christensen.
http://www.browardbulldog.org/2010/09/whistleblower-probes-expose-bad-blood-behind-county-mpo-split/


That particular crowd is constantly being surprised at things that almost anyone who knows public policy -or who has common sense about both transportation policy and human behavior- could have told them was absolutely going to happen.
But they never see it coming around the corner, do they?

Instead, embarrassing policy debacles are inevitably followed by pronouncements from PIO's minimizing the jaw-dropping stupidity, forgetting the negative reinforcement that is taking place among the larger South Florida community as yet another govt. effort comes a cropper.

For instance, here
in Hallandale Beach, at the Southeast end of Broward County nestled next to the Atlantic Ocean, with Hollywood to the north and Aventura and Miami-Dade county to our south, we have what is arguably one of the most infamous red light camera in the country, on northbound U.S.-1/Federal Highway as it approaches Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Though it was supposedly installed in the name of maximizing public safety on the roads of one of the most traffic-congested corners of all of South Florida, where all the main roads are ALREADY rated F by FDOT using national methodologies and analysis, the actual result was NOT a noticeable increase in public safety at that intersection, but rather a license to print MONEY: $1.3 million in just seven months!

From one camera!


As Channel 4 News correctly noted on their July 13th newscast, which on their website they labeled Hallandale Beach Red Light Cam Generates Big Bucks "The one red light camera there is giving out an average of 700 more tickets every month than all 10 of Miami Beach's cameras combined."
http://miami.cbslocal.com/local/red.light.cameras.2.1802814.html

Unfortunately for my purposes here, that video is now no longer available.


Hallandale Beach Comm.
Keith S. London
, a friend of mine as most of you know, had it exactly right back in 2007 when the city commission voted 3-2 to pass this:

"The issue didn't come up during a public safety workshop," London said. "It came up during a budget meeting. This is strictly about revenues."



Red light camera in Hallandale Beach has some seeing red 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wl8xGKzfTU

Just to give you a sense of the numbers involved, in Hallandale Beach, red
-light camera revenue for July 2010: $119,613.98;
violations = 263 right turn on reds and 40 straight through intersection. I remind you, that's from just one camera.

After-the-fact, it's hard
NOT to think that the whole public safety issue dialogue that took place here prior to the red-light camera installation was nothing but a shell-game, and the city dealt
themselves Aces while dealing the public nothing but Jokers, as
by their own numbers, 94% of all the tickets initially given were for right-turn violations, NOT dangerous red-light runners on U.S.-1.

The fact that the busiest intersection in the entire city, literally, the choke point, is rarely if ever given any permanent police presence, as is common in many other cities at certain times, is a message to residents that City Hall's talk about public safety is just a smokescreen.


Further proof of that is that you are MUCH MORE likely to see Aventura Police giving tickets for speeding in front of Gulfstream Park or the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex than you are to see them from HB Police, even though their own Police Dept. HQ is right across the street!
Trust me, I've got the photos to prove it, too.


The fact that HB City Hall was so wrong about the actual real world results doesn't cause them
to publicly question their earlier votes or even call for its removal.

Far from it!

HB and other South Florida cities that are making out like bandits, unlike has been the case recently in Oxfordhire, with few rare exceptions, has just stood pat and turned the legitimate safety concerns expressed by some citizens completely on their face, and exiled them to public policy Siberia, making their words difficult to hear with a straight face, even where it might be true.


In fact, just the other day, a good friend wrote me quite angrily in parts that he had watched the most recent HB City Commission via the web:

"I was surprised to hear during yesterday's HB City Commission meeting that two additional cameras are about to go into operation. It was the first time that I heard that the original agreement called for 3 cameras not one. So much for openness at City Hall."

In late July, I wrote an email to my usual crowd of friends, concerned civic activists, elected officials and some print and TV reporters alerting them to something that I had picked upon some three weeks earlier at a Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting that was discussing their infamous red-light camera, which I walk, bike or drive by a few times everyday, and which you may not know, I took photos of the day they installed it, because I knew what a lightning rod it would become.
And how!

Part of that was directly due to the city's lack of adequate publicity, compared to Aventura's, just down the road, with their huge sign and their warning period, which was discussed in newspapers and on local Miami TV newscasts for a few weeks before they started enforcing it.

That made for quite a contrast with Hallandale Beach's clumsiness, whose sign doesn't mention the city by name, only a drawing of a traffic light,
and which you don't even see until it is to your immediate right as you drive past it, obstructed as it is by a bus shelter, even though Broward County buses no longer use it. (Yeah, that's what passes for normal here.)


At this City Commission meeting, HB Police Chief Thomas A Magill -whom as most of you who come here frequently know, I loathe, to put it lightly- was going thru his paces in his verbal testimony from the dais to not only keep the status quo but expand upon it, echoing the usual BS about safety.


Then, rather amazingly, Magill said that there'd been an accident at that intersection recently, a fatality.

Well, this was news to me and everyone else in the Commission Chambers, so I leaned forward towards the seat in front of me to get a better listen, but nobody up on the dais commented on what
Magill said to get any more specifics, which seemed not only odd but counter-intuitive. 

But then this is Hallandale Beach, after all!


Finally, Comm. Keith London got his opportunity to speak on the subject and after some careful proddding, whether intentional or not, got Magill to admit that the accident he alluded to earlier with the fatality, actually happened elsewhere, at U.S.-1 and S.E. 3rd Street, right near the entrance to Gulfstream Park Race Track and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, and HB City Hall, one short block away.

It actually had nothing at all to do with the red-light camera issue -the subject at hand.


It was classic mendacious Thomas Magill!


http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Thomas%20A.%20Magill

http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Thomas%20Magill

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South Florida Sun-Sentinel


HALLANDALE TO MOUNT RED-LIGHT CAMERAS -
3-2 VOTE APPROVES NEGOTIATIONS WITH INSTALLATION FIRM
Thomas Monnay Staff Writer
September 2, 2007

Run a red light? Soon the city will know.


The city is negotiating with American Traffic Solutions, of St. Louis, Mo., to install red-light cameras at some intersections.


"I've been fighting for it for three years," Mayor Joy Cooper said. "It's for safety reasons."
The decision to negotiate, approved Wednesday by a 3-2 vote, comes as Pembroke Pines works on a similar initiative with American Traffic. Palm Beach County officials are considering it as well.

Although Orange County and Gulf Breeze near Pensacola already have the cameras, the state refuses to endorse them, saying they violate people's privacy.

Supporters, however, say the cameras are no different than those the state installed at tollbooths to catch drivers not paying mandated fees.


"I don't look at this as a right-to-privacy issue," Vice Mayor Bill Julian said. "When we go through the tollbooths, our pictures are taken anyway. In the interest of public safety, I can't wait to see them. The sooner, the better."


Commissioner
Keith London, who opposed the decision, said cameras would cause more rear-end accidents by drivers who prematurely slam on their brakes to avoid running red lights.

"The issue didn't come up during a public safety workshop," London said. "It came up during a budget meeting. This is strictly about revenues."

He said the city should instead concentrate on improving intersections and synchronizing lights to help move traffic smoothly.
London said after the city works out a contract with American Traffic, it would pass a law allowing the cameras and resulting fine collections.

Still being resolved are how many cameras there would be and where they would be installed. Cooper said two key locations are the intersections of Hallandale Beach Boulevard with Dixie Highway and 10th Avenue.


Cooper said the cameras would be installed on private property since the state won't allow them on its rights of way.


Instead of a traffic citation, violators would be notified by mail of a city code violation and told to pay a $100 fine, Cooper said. Drivers wouldn't lose points on their license because the citations would be issued against vehicles involved in the violation, not their drivers.


"This will teach people to be better drivers," Julian said.


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http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-07-10/news/fl-red-light-cameras-mayocol-b071110-20100709_1_red-light-cameras-dwayne-flournoy-easy-money

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Rolling right turn could cost you $158 

Red-light cameras are helping Hallandale Beach raise $1 million
Michael Mayo, News Columnist
July 10, 2010

In theory, red-light cameras are supposed to be about safety, curbing reckless drivers from blowing through intersections at high speeds.

But the reality at one South Florida intersection seems more like a game of "Gotcha," with an astounding 93 percent of violations going to unwitting drivers making rolling right turns on red.

"This feels like a money grab," said Phil Kodroff, one of almost 11,000 drivers to get snagged by Hallandale Beach's red-light camera since it started snapping away in January.

The city's take by mid-June: almost $1 million.

"Let's be honest about it, we're here to gouge you," said Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London, an opponent of red-light cameras. "To say it's about public safety is pretty disingenuous. It's all about the revenue."

Love them or hate them, the cameras soon will become fixtures of South Florida life. Now that the devices have gotten the green light from the Legislature and Gov. Charlie Crist, more cash-strapped cities will be turning to them for easy money.

In the past week, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Boynton Beach have moved forward with plans to install cameras.

They will join Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines and West Palm Beach, which already have cameras running. Royal Palm Beach installed cameras in November but has been issuing only warnings; fines likely will start by September.

Under the law that took effect July 1, fines for the first offense increased to $158 from $125, with the money now divided between the state and cities.

"The mentality of the South Florida driver is going to have to change," said Mark Antonio, interim city manager of Hallandale Beach.

Said Hallandale Beach Police Maj. Dwayne Flournoy: "It's the 'Halo effect.' If you get compliant at one intersection, your behavior will change at all the others."

Kodroff, of Hollywood, said his behavior has changed: He is avoiding Hallandale Beach's camera intersection at Federal Highway and Hallandale Beach Boulevard, along with the businesses on that corridor.

After a steak dinner at the Gulfstream Park casino complex May 22, Kodroff thought he had an uneventful drive home to his beachfront condo.

A month later, he opened his mail to find a $125 ticket.

His speed when he made the right on red onto Hallandale Beach Boulevard, according to the violation notice: "0."

"It's not sensible," Kodroff said. "I hit my brakes, I thought I came to a full stop."


Michael Mayo's follow-up blog post to this was:
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/columnists/mayo/blog/2010/07/with_redlight_cameras_does_yel.html
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BrowardPalmBeach New Times

Daily Pulp blog
Rolling Red-Light Camera Scourge Shames Miami-Dade
By Bob Norman,

July 24 2010 @ 6:05PM


Red-light cameras, when misused by idiotic and irresponsible public officials, can be one of the great scourges of America.
That much is fact. Even when they are used with some semblance of jurisprudence, they might be flat-out illegal. We'll just have to see how the court challenges turn out.

But in the wrong hands, they can be downright evil. Check out this Miami Herald story on the poor people of Aventura -- and all others who drive in that city -- who are getting shaken down by their own government for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. Their "crime": Rolling a red light on a right turn. You do it all the time even if you don't know it. You come up on an intersection, see there's no cars coming, and never quite come to a complete stop.


Read the rest of the post at:
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2010/07/rolling_red-light_camera_scour.php

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South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Mayo on the Side blog of Broward news columnist Michael Mayo
Red-light cameras: Big drop in Hallandale Beach with new state law
By Michael Mayo
August 16, 2010 10:29 AM

Hallandale Beach's lone red-light camera has generated more than $1.3 million in fines since starting in January, but the latest monthly figures show a big decrease in violations for slow-rolling right turns with a new state law in effect.

Starting July 1, cities were no longer supposed to cite offenders who made right turns "in a careful and prudent manner."
Before July 1, cities could fine anybody who didn't come to a complete stop before an intersection.


Read the rest of the post at:
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/columnists/mayo/blog/2010/08/redlight_cameras_big_drop_in_h.html
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http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/10/09/1866038/red-light-violations-take-detour.html

Miami Herald
Red-light violations take detour into court

By David Ovalle
October 9, 2010



The video-camera footage showed Dean Dadic's BMW running a red light. Guilty, the judge decided. Aventura slammed Dadic with a $125 fine -- even though he produced paperwork showing he wasn't behind the wheel that day.
"I had no recourse, even though I proved I wasn't driving,'' Dadic complained after a recent hearing at Aventura City Hall, where the video screen warns motorists: "You must stop for all red lights.''
Thanks to a new state law, however, drivers like Dadic who contest controversial red-light violations in city halls across South Florida will soon have relief: In coming weeks, the hearings will shift from municipal control to regular traffic court, where violations will be harder to prove.
South Florida judges and lawyers believe traffic court will dispense fairer and more independent decisions -- along with basic due process that critics said was lacking.
Miami-Dade, for instance, will dismiss citations for two of the most common and controversial infractions: rolling right-hand turns where the driver attempts a "careful and prudent'' stop, and tickets against vehicle owners who prove they weren't behind the wheel.
Red-light cameras have been a hot-button issue since cities across Florida began installing cameras at intersections and then mailing municipal code violations to surprised drivers.
The number of cases figure to grow as the camera programs have expanded throughout South Florida, including Pembroke Pines, Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, Hialeah, West Palm Beach and Miami Gardens. Coming soon: Hollywood and Davie.
Critics said the citations were heavy-handed cash grabs. A slew of lawsuits followed, and in February, a Miami-Dade judge ruled that Aventura's enforcement system -- the first in Miami-Dade -- circumvented state traffic laws. An appeal is pending.
But advocates, including Aventura officials, maintain that the red-light cameras are designed to reduce accidents rather than generate revenue, and say statistics back them up.
Since September 2008, when the cameras went up, crashes in Aventura dropped by 200, about 15 percent for the nearly two-year period ending Aug. 26.
"I think the results bear out the fact that the intent of the City Commission was always to put the [cameras] in for the safety of the motorists,'' City Manager Eric Soroka said.
In response to the uproar, the Florida Legislature passed a new law that made red-light camera infractions a state violation. The statute went into effect July 1, but cases are just now trickling into the state system.
In Miami-Dade, the court could receive about 50,000 new cases over the next year, according to County Court Judge Steve Leifman, head of the already taxed traffic division. Between five and 15 new hearing officers -- lawyers trained to preside over traffic citation cases -- will be hired at a combined salary of more than $70,000 for the first year.
Broward County, which so far has few operating red-light cameras, will devote one court session a week to its trickle of citations. No additional hearing officers will be hired unless cities operating cameras help defray the costs, said Broward County Judge Robert W. Lee, who oversees the traffic division.
The state law allows a police agency to issue citations to drivers who run red lights at intersections, using video cameras that capture the back of a vehicle. Citations are mailed to the registered owner of the car.
For 30 days, the $158 ticket remains just a fine. When it is paid, the money is split between the city that issued it and the state's general revenue fund. If a recipient fights or ignores it, the ticket morphs into a moving violation and has the potential to affect a motorist's driving record.
For now, cities are still holding hearings on citations that were issued before July 1. Held in government buildings, the hearings are lambasted by drivers as unfair and biased.
Arlene Segal, at the recent Aventura hearing, unsuccessfully argued against three violations for failing to stop while turning right on red.
"Officer, would you have stopped her if you had seen her?'' asked special master Raquel Rothman, a real estate and probate lawyer appointed by the city to preside over the cases.
"Yes, ma'am,'' replied a uniformed police officer, overlooking the conference room from behind a laptop-equipped podium.
Segal left with more than $600 in fines.
"The deck is definitely stacked against you,'' she said. ``It's intimidating for the average person.''
In the new setting at Miami-Dade's Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, 1351 NW 12th St., Judge Leifman hopes the process will be perceived as wholly independent. Hearing officers, who undergo 40 hours of special training, will preside from behind an elevated judicial bench.
A screen will be set up so that officers may present the video evidence. In Broward County, hearings will be held at Deerfield Beach courthouse, the only facility with space.
Leifman said fewer people will be found guilty of right-turn violations, because the new statute says a driver is in the clear as long as they ``turn in a careful and prudent'' manner.
And unlike the city hearings, Leifman said, defendants who can reasonably prove they were not behind the wheel won't be punished -- or pressured to identify the real driver.
"If someone didn't do it, my hearing officers are not likely to find them guilty if the state can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were the driver,'' Leifman said.
South Florida ticket attorneys, while happy the hearings are now in state court, still chafe at the camera concept. They say replacing the discretion of a live officer with a video camera will raise serious questions for appeal courts -- including how authorities notify alleged violators.
Drivers are not handed tickets by police officers, but are mailed citations. So if a mailing address is wrong, citizens could face a license suspension if the violation goes unpaid or uncontested.
Fort Lauderdale police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa, whose department operates red-light cameras at seven intersections, said citations are sent to the current registration address.
"At the end of the day, you assume responsibility for that car. People who are driving are not children -- they are responsible for making sure their registration, their licenses and their insurance is up to date,'' he said.
Regardless of the mechanics, traffic-ticket lawyers above all object to replacing a police officer with a video camera that only captures a vehicle's rear view.
Because no image of the driver is captured, the cameras unfairly force a vehicle owner to prove they weren't behind the wheel, said attorney Bret Lusskin, who successfully sued Aventura over its camera citations.
"The fact is, this turns American law on its head,'' he said. "A person who is accused of violating the law is presumed innocent until the state proves them guilty.''
Miami Herald staff writer Howard Cohen contributed to this report.

See also:

BBC

RAC Foundation report backs speed camera safety benefit
Speed camera Some councils have decided to get rid of their speed cameras because of a lack of funding

Some 800 more people a year could be killed or seriously injured on the UK's roads if all speed cameras were scrapped, a report has suggested.
Read the rest of the story at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11826295
See also:
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2010/07/rothstein_cops_pay_little_pric.php

http://redlightrevolt.com/


Keith London's official website: www.KeithLondon.com

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A story from KDVR-TV, Fox 31 in Denver




Photo Radar red light camera license plate spray

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_e2BC_kXis


See also: http://www.rolighetsteorin.se/
Other finalist submissions and past Fun Theory videos
http://www.rolighetsteorin.se/finalister

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