I filed a citizens report last night and stood before the Mayor and Council Members to put them on notice that their money-making scam needed to stop. As a result, several members requested a copy, but since this was a citizens report, due to meeting regulations, they were not allowed to discuss or open the floor to public discussion on the matter.
Will they act? Doubtful. On such short notice, I was only able to gather a handful of concerned citizens. They will only act when they see that the greater community is indeed against these for-profit surveillance companies levying “fines” and issuing “citations” without regard for our Constitutional rights.
Video can be found here.
The text of my speech follows:
Mayor, Council Members, Citizens,
I received this in the mail yesterday. Our Annual Citizen Update. According to our demographics, we had a population of 117,000 in 2013. That same year, we handed out over 16 THOUSAND red light camera tickets with NINE cameras.
That seem odd to you?
At first, this was sold as a safety enhancer. Even the city contract, right here in my hand, says “it is a mutual objective of both Redflex and the Customer to reduce the incidence of vehicle collisions…”
Yet, of the two cameras that we have reliable pre-installation data for, accidents at one intersection have doubled according to the TxDoT website. We went from 9 a year prior to the camera install at Fort Worth Drive and I35 to 17 last year. Mayhill and 380 went from 7 accidents to 11.
Since that explanation didn’t pan out, now we’re being sold that this program is about reducing violations or changing driver behavior.
But at a meeting of the Traffic Safety Commission, Captain Scott Fletcher had this to say:
“Over the years, because of the nature of this city, violations do not decrease as they might in other communities. New students arrive and those violations continue.”
As if our students didn’t have enough debt to worry about.
Well, if the red light cameras aren’t about safety or the violations, what are they about? Do we really have to ask?
Last February our camera vendor, Redflex, fired and sued their VP of Sales, Aaron Rosenberg for violating company policy. They alleged he had used bribery and fraud to secure his contracts over his eleven years with the company.
Aaron Rosenberg countersued. He said under the table deals were company policy. Since then, he went on to admit that “policy” extended to thirteen states, Texas included. He’s now co-operating in a federal investigation.
Not only that, his signature is right here in our contract.
Despite this highly public scandal, YOU, the city, decided to extend the contract and even expand the camera program.
A program which violates our rights in the name of profit.
The red light camera program is made possible by city ordinance that circumvents constitutional rights. 5th, 6th and 14th amendment rights are cast aside to discourage citizens from seeking justice. Presumption of your guilt is written into the law. Your true accuser can elect not to face you and instead testify via affidavit.
But to kick off the trampling of our rights, this for profit company gets to play cop.
A Redflex technician makes the first determination whether what is recorded is a violation. Next, another technician pulls your private vehicle registration information and finally, a manager approves what to forward to the police. Only then do our police review this evidence and apply their electronic signature.
That chain of custody alone for the so-called evidence should make it inadmissible.
If the accused does opt to fight, they face the judgment of a Redflex trained “Administration Officer” before being allowed to appeal and seek justice in front of an actual judge.
This foreign, for-profit, corporation with a penchant for scandal is in control of every step of this perversion of justice.
Across the country, these programs are being dismantled. By voters, by embattled legislators and by local politicians facing the ire of their constituents on the eve of elections.
I’m here today to say enough is enough. Stop hiding the purpose of this program. Stop trampling our rights as U.S. citizens and citizens of the Republic of Texas. End your business relationship with the corrupt, overseas company named Redflex and repeal all city ordinances which support such an unjust and invasive program.
I would like everyone here that wants to see their rights restored, and the greedy hands of lobbyists and foreign corporations out of our pockets, to please stand.