Tag Archives: corruption

The Time for Action – Ending Red Light Camera Scams in Texas

The folks over at Trash Your Ticket on Facebook have posted the following call to action:

The time for the statewide camera ban bill is getting close. Please call EVERYONE on the transportation committee and tell them to vote to pass the bill out of committee. It is SB340 that you should ask them to pass.http://www.senate.state.tx.us/7…/Senate/commit/c640/c640.htm

We’ve been quietly awaiting this legislation – a statewide ban is the most efficient solution to end the corporate greed that has infiltrated our local law enforcement and communities. If this fails, we’ll have no choice but to petition in each and every community across Texas. Red Light corporations and local governments have been showing resistance through legal action and denying legal petitions so they can hang on to their ill-gotten gains, but if it comes to that, we’ll be there. If this law passes however, we’ll have cut the problem off at the source.

For all of you that have contacted Free Denton and asked how you can help – this is your moment.

Interested in SB340? Read about it here. The bill does not harm or injure any local, home rule authority. The ONLY thing this bill does is change the wording of the EXISTING state law which allowed this scam to proliferate in the first place.

List of the members of the Transportation Committee and their contact info at the capitol:

The Honorable Robert Nichols
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0103
1-800-959-8633 (toll-free)

The Honorable Don Huffines
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0116

The Honorable Rodney G. Ellis
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0113
(512) 463-0006 (fax)

The Honorable Sylvia R. Garcia
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0106

The Honorable Troy Fraser
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0124

The Honorable Bob Hall
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0102
(512) 463-7202 (fax)

The Honorable Kelly Hancock
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0109

The Honorable Lois Kolkhorst
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0118

The Honorable Van Taylor
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0108

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History of Corruption in Texas

Still waiting on clarification from the city on their rules for filing a petition. Until then, how about a bit of clarity on this issue?

The red light camera scam in Texas has a long and sordid history. Texas legislators actually fought for years to keep these types of laws off the books. In 2003, the house voted 103 to 34 against letting red light cameras into the state. Then Representative Harper Brown and her friends at Paradigm Traffic Systems arrived in a shiny new SUV.

Using an amendment supplied by the camera companies, she quietly inserted it into an unrelated transportation bill and in the typical chaos that is our government, it was not discovered until after the legislative session.

House leadership was presumably furious and they tried several times, unsuccessfully, to remove the law and alter, to sunset the use of red light cameras in the state altogether. Their challenges always seemed to die in the senate.

In 2010, the Texas Values in Action Coalition filed a complaint which indicated that both Harper’s 2004 Chevy Tahoe and a 2010 Mercedes SUV were provided by Durable Enterprises Equipment which sold red light camera equipment through Paradigm Traffic Systems. She received a slap on the wrist from the ethics committee and the law remained on the books.

Remember how these efforts kept dying in the Senate?

With the way paved for for-profit surveillance of Texas residents, Senator John Carona sealed the deal in 2007 by adding a law to divert camera funds to a State Trauma fund, thus creating a vested interest for the state to support the program. So far, the $46 million dollars has been used not for trauma centers but for questionable accounting tricks. Carona then went on to thwart further efforts to ban the cameras in 2009. It has been revealed that Senator Carona accepted significant campaign donations from a photo ticketing collection firm over the years.

These laws aren’t about safety. They are paving a way for a private, for-profit corporation to reach in your pocket and share the ill-gotten gains with corrupt politicians.

Please join me in reclaiming our rights. Follow our blog. Join the fight.

Sources:

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2013-07-19/red-light-firm-red-in-the-face/

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20100705-Red-light-camera-companies-a-lobbying-9768.ece

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20100617-Questions-raised-about-Rep-Linda-4114.ece

http://watchdogwire.com/texas/2014/03/25/scandal-ridden-red-light-cameras-offer-potential-corruption/

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/43/4353.asp