Council Postpones Decision on Red-Light Cameras Motion | NBC Southern California

Council Postpones Decision on Red-Light Cameras Motion

The motion would allow the program to continue on a month-to-month basis

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The LA City Council was set to vote on the future of the city's red light camera program. The council voted, but the system's future remains out of focus. Toni Guinyard explains why. (Published Friday, June 17, 2011)

    A decision regarding a motion to extend LA's red-light camera program was postponed Friday.

    Motion Presented: Red-Light Camera Program Extension

    Councilmen Tony Cardenas, one of two LA officials who presented the motion, asked that council debate be postponed until Tuesday. The public comment portion of the process was conducted Friday.

    Cardenas said he wanted more colleagues present before the council discussed the issue.

    Cardenas and Councilman Bernard Parks proposed asking the Police Commission to keep American Traffic Solutions Inc. on a month-to-month contract. The Arizona-based company operates cameras at 32 LA intersections.

    The current contract expires July 31.

    The police commission, a civilian board, concluded last week the program was not cost effective. The board recommended the contract be allowed to expire.

    If a majority of the council rejects Parks' and Cardenas' proposal, the cameras will stop operating at the end of July.

    Parks and Cardenas said they want time to study the public safety risk of removing the cameras. They also want to consider the collection rate of citations.

    State law does not mandate that courts impose penalties on violators who fail to pay their tickets, and so the majority of citations go uncollected. An audit last year found that paying ATS to operate the cameras and officers to review the violations, coupled with the lack of revenue, cost the city $2.5 million over a two-year period.

    Parks was the city's police chief when the cameras were introduced. He said the intent of the program is to save lives, not collect revenue.

    "We don't let people die because it's too expensive," Parks said.