WJHG-TV/Panama City, FL video: Red Light Camera Changes Shot Down
Posted: Thu 5:24 PM, Mar 21, 2013A A
Updated: Thu 9:26 PM, Mar 21, 2013Back to News
The following blog post combines certain portions of an email I sent out early Friday morning after spotting various versions of stories on my blog's Google Reader about how Florida state Sen. Joe Abruzzo's SB 1342 proposal fared in the Senate Transportation Committee Thursday morning in Tallahassee.
It also incorporates information from earlier news stories I'd kept under wraps on attempts in various states to set minimum lengths of time for yellow traffic lights to display before a red light appears, per the continuing controversy in Chicago previously mentioned here on the blog on November 24, 2012, one of my most-popular posts:
More Red-Light Camera shenanigans: National Journal's Mike Magner has warning for U.S. drivers about unscrupulous cities' amber-colored money trap: Yellow means Green & $$$ - "Dreaded Yellow Light May Be Trap for Traffic Violations" -on purpose. And Rahm Emanuel's Chicago, with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., is the most brazen of allhttp://hallandalebeachblog.
Just to reiterate, the FHWA's "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices," i.e. Federal regs require that a yellow light be at least 3-6 seconds in length.
Despite lots of lip service, Florida cities, especially those located in South Florida, like Hallandale Beach where I live, do NOT want longer yellow/amber times on their traffic signals because this would necessarily result in giving motorists more time to continue thru the intersection or to come to a complete stop, which would mean less speeding and red-light running ticket fees for their hurting bottom line.
Plain and simple, the cities have become addicts for those fines and will do anything to keep getting their fix, and that's nowhere more true than in Hallandale Beach. Especially cities that take their marching orders from the taxpayer-subsidized Florida League of Cities, which Mayor Cooper was recently the head of.
Tampa Bay Times Buzz politics blog
Red light camera fines survive in Senate
By Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
March 21, 2013 1:05pm
Red light runners would have paid less for getting violations and had more time to pay them under SB 1342 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, but the lobbying muscle of the agencies and governments that produce revenue from the fines overturned it.
If approved, the bill would have reduced fines from $158 to $100 and given violators 90 days to respond rather than the current 30 days.Read the rest of the post at: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/red-light-camera-fines-survive-in-senate/2110424
Given her past track record and ardently pro-government/anti-citizen sensibility, it's no surprise that Northeast Miami-Dade's very own Sen. Gwen Margolis supported the unhelpful Clemens amendment to keep cities rolling in the dough and not create a longer yellow light to actually do something about safety.
As has been mentioned here on the blog more than a few times, Margolis once famously suggested that it might be necessary to make the William Lehman Causeway/Bridge in Aventura -a bridge connecting the beach area of Sunny Isles to the mainland (and hospitals) that was needed decades before it was finally built- a pay/toll bridge.
For many years, Margolis has been doing the bidding of the City of Aventura -the city just south of Hallandale Beach- on behalf of their red-light camera operation, which unlike Hallandale Beach's money-grab, at least has the benefit of having large signs that mention that it's the handiwork of Aventura, so there's no confusion on who'd doing it.
Here are the two scenarios that the folks at American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona-based vendor who's been fervently pushing them across South Florida, and even tried to co-opt Broward County into sharing their physical resources so they could piggyback at still more locations, along with their army of lobbyists and cronies at the Florida League of Cities are most afraid of:
a,) passage of the bill for complete repeal, CS/HB 4087
or, b.) the Florida Supreme Court ruling them illegal:
Sunshine State News
Florida Supreme Court to Hear Red Light Camera Cases, Could Refund Millions of Dollars
By Eric Giunta, November 14, 2012 3:55 AM
Freedom fighter Richard Masone takes on red-light cameras in South Florida
By Gus Garcia-Roberts, June 24 2010
After watching the videos and the articles above, some of you might want to consider contacting the city attorney and police chief in your own city and ask what the minimum yellow light-change interval time is and when it was last verified.
And while you are at it, ask what the city's official standard is for legal right turns on red.
Uploaded July 8, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wl8xGKzfTU
That goes double for taxpayers and residents here in Hallandale Beach, with two red-light cameras, at Hallandale Beach Blvd. & U.S.-1 and the one near Hallandale Beach Blvd. & N.W. 9th Court, and whether they have been adjusted properly since initial installation to meet the standard cited in this bill.
Given that the city and HBPD would NOT publicly release their own statistics about tickets for speeding and red-light running in this city at the locations where the devices were eventually placed -which should have been where the highest incidents were, right?- prior to the adoption of tehm, you have very good reason to cast more than a little doubt on what you'd hear.
But contact them anyway and see what they say and let me know at hallandalebeachblog-at-gmail-dot-com
I ask this because everyone who has been paying attention here knows that it took FDOT well over a year AFTER a HB-controlled red-light camera was installed on west-bound Hallandale Beach Blvd. & N.W. 9th Court, near the IHOP, to actually place legible warning signs where they could be seen by drivers, instead of being hidden behind trees -on a block lacking any street lights- per my many complaints.
Here's the bill that was proposed but then gutted by Sen. Jeff Clemens
The action described in the articles/posts above can be seen at the hearing's video
starting at the 85:47 mark thru 109:49
Thinking about this causes me to wonder why HBPD STILL insists on placing police officers conducting old-fashioned speed-traps on relatively little-traveled W. Dixie Highway and First Avenue and NOT where the speeding cars in this town actually are -on Federal Highway?
IF public safety is really the number-one concern, why does it seem that most of the actual speeders ever caught, usually in front of Gulfstream ParkRace Track & Casino's S.E. 3rd Street entrance, are caught almost always by Aventura Police, not HBPD?
In a related news, DO try this at home:
Go to http://www.crimemapping.com/map/fl/hollywood
Then place your cursor on the + part of the zoom-in/zoom-out function on the right until its as close as possible.
Now place the cursor on the - sign and click it five times.
Focus the map so that Aventura is not shown.
And there in front of you will be the evidence of what constitutes the most-common link of most crime in HB and Hollywood: Federal Highway/U.S.-1.
Okay, so book 'em and read 'em their Miranda Rights...
By the way, not that this will surprise you, but almost five months later, nobody from either upper management or on the Editorial Board of at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel ever responded to my direct questions last year about why they asked HB Mayor Joy Cooper, the former head of the Florida League of Cities, to write an essay re Red-Light Cameras for their Op-Ed section, given her 2012 campaign contributions from American Traffic Solutions.
That email was posted here as
When are Broward County residents FINALLY going to get the "whole truth" from the Tribune Company's South Florida Sun-Sentinel and some public explanation for their continued reluctance to report it and useful context in Broward County news? Their problems with facts & bias are getting worse by the month; Joy Cooper's red-light camera friends and supporters; Sun-Sentinel's pro-Debbie Wasserman-Schultz bias is a continuing insult to readers; @MayorCooper
My own guess is that a large part of the Sun-Sentinel's refusal to respond to me and address those reasonable concerns stems from the fact that they were embarrassed to have me publicly point out that they were NOT smart enough to ask Mayor Cooper BEFORE they agreed to publish her red-light propaganda, whether or not she'd already received or anticipated receiving any campaign contributions from ATS, or whether the Florida League of Cities has received any money from them.
The news paper didn't mention those obvious questions or ethical concerns in or near what she wrote, even though they are the very sort of obvious questions that should've been asked, with answers shared with readers.
Bit they didn't do that.
For more on the topic of Red-Light Cameras in Hallandale Beach, and photo examples of where the warning signs were placed -out-of-sight- see:
Section 316 of the Florida Statutes, the State Uniform Traffic Control Law: