Tag Archives: texas

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

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

Next Step?

While several Council Members requested “staff to comment on my speech” this very likely amounts to politics as usual. They are on track to steal well over a million dollars from our local community this year, so it’s extremely doubtful they will choose to do the right thing.

Lobbyists have bought and sold this country ten times over. It may seem hopeless, and I know many people have simply accepted this as a reality, but if we mobilize against them, we will be unstoppable.

The next step is to start a petition. I’m exploring the process right now. According to city ordinances we need five “electors” to form the committee of petitioners. I have some ideas, but I want to hear from YOU.

An elector would need to be able to devote time to fighting to restore our rights. Collecting signatures from not only their own social circles but at public events.

The folks over at http://www.frackfreedenton.com have gone the extra mile and founded a non-profit organization to raise funds for their cause.

I’m looking for any local Denton residents to come join the fight. One voice at a council meeting won’t be enough, I need ALL of you. We need to reclaim our democracy from lobbyists and corporate interests. Who’s ready to fight?

Please comment or contact me by email at russ.linton at gmail.com.

Contacted Mayor and Council Members

At the very end of last night’s Council Meeting, Council Member Engelbrecht, followed by Mayor Burroughs and Council Member Roden all motioned to have staff respond to my speech. I sent an email to the Mayor and Council Members earlier today providing them with my sources, all publicly available or through Freedom of Information Act requests, and asked that any response from “staff” be made available to myself and the public. At the very least, I should be able to get a hold of it later via a FOIA request.

Please don’t forget to sign up with your email and follow the blog! I will keep all of this information private and only use it to inform you of events related to dismantling Denton’s Red Light Camera program.

Thanks!