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Red-light cameras installed downtown (Houston)
Houston Chronicle ^ | 11/21/2005 | by MATT STILES

Posted on 11/21/2005 10:48:32 AM PST by ol painless

Take notice, Houston motorists: There's a clear picture of the future downtown.

It's where the Police Department this morning began testing camera systems designed to catch red-light runners at four intersections.

The 30-day pilot program is part of an effort to pick the best private vendor to install the systems at up to 50 city intersections over time.

Mayor Bill White and other city officials say the cameras serve two key purposes: reducing serious wrecks at intersections and freeing up an understaffed police force from traffic enforcement.

"This is about increasing safety, making people more alert and using the technology that is out there," said Executive Assistant Police Chief Martha Montalvo, who is helping oversee the vendor-selection process.

Critics say the systems don't work properly or lead to increases in minor accidents, as motorists abruptly stop before intersections out of fear of triggering the camera.

Some also say camera enforcement has as much to do with raising ticket revenue as with public safety.

During the testing period, the cameras, which are supposed to automatically detect vehicles that move through intersections illegally and photograph their license plates, will only lead to warning letters.

Eventually owners of cars photographed running red lights will be mailed $75 civil citations. Red-light tickets issued by police officers will remain Class C misdemeanors, with higher fines.

The intersections with test cameras have warning signs. The systems are installed at Milam at Jefferson; Milam at McGowen; Texas at Travis, and Texas at San Jacinto.

The plan is for the winning contractor to install cameras at 10 intersections, and gradually increase to 50, Montalvo said.

"I'm trying to do my very, very best to make this as fair and as operationally sound as possible," she said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: cameras; houston; redlight

1 posted on 11/21/2005 10:48:33 AM PST by ol painless
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To: ol painless

If they really wanted to stop people from running red lights, then they should force offenders to attend Texans games.


2 posted on 11/21/2005 10:49:54 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: ol painless
"This is about increasing safety, making people more alert and using the technology that is out there,"

He should not lie and have said "This is at least 90% revenue-collection driven".

3 posted on 11/21/2005 10:50:44 AM PST by Fierce Allegiance (Flibbertygibbit.)
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To: Fierce Allegiance


The Constitution says you have a right to face your accuser.

But I guess that all depends on how you define the words: Constitution, Right, face, accuser, your, the...


4 posted on 11/21/2005 10:52:23 AM PST by Tzimisce
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To: Fierce Allegiance

95% easy. It is all about getting more money for the city of Houston.


5 posted on 11/21/2005 10:52:27 AM PST by TXBSAFH ("I would rather be a free man in my grave then living as a puppet or a slave." - Jimmy Cliff)
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To: ol painless

Hang on for your first speeding ticket where you are caught by a radar installation and a photo of your license plate is taken...


6 posted on 11/21/2005 10:52:48 AM PST by deport
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To: ol painless
I've begun to think that towns that allow this to happen without extensive vandalism of the cameras take what they get.

This big brother revenue collection has got to be stopped.
7 posted on 11/21/2005 10:53:12 AM PST by mysterio
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To: Fierce Allegiance
He should not lie and have said "This is at least 90% revenue-collection driven".

And just wait for the rash of rear end accidents from people slamming on their brakes at a yellow light in fear on getting a ticket.

8 posted on 11/21/2005 10:54:24 AM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: ol painless
"This is about increasing safety, making people more alert and using the technology that is out there to increase our revenue,"

Bold text is my addition. Sometimes, you need to read between the lines. :-)

We got the Cameras turned off, at least temporarily, here in a couple of towns in NC. Occasionally, the good guys win one.

9 posted on 11/21/2005 10:56:21 AM PST by wbill
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To: ol painless
i wonder how long they will last.

our city had some installed too. about the time they
were paid for and the city was actually seeing a profit
the state said they were a no go...

yeesh!
10 posted on 11/21/2005 10:59:35 AM PST by leda (patton's brown eyed (and now very skinny) wife)
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To: mysterio
I've begun to think that towns that allow this to happen without extensive vandalism of the cameras take what they get.

Hear, hear.

Not that I would advocate vandalizing the cameras by shooting them with deer slugs or a wrist rocket firing ball bearings or glass marbles or something. That would be a bad thing to do.

11 posted on 11/21/2005 11:00:47 AM PST by IronJack
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To: dfwgator

We may suck but the games are awsome to go to. Tons of smok'n hot chicks, plenty of beer and the tailgating is 1st class. Plus, all the pressure is off of us cause we know we will lose so we can concentrate on parying.


12 posted on 11/21/2005 11:00:58 AM PST by mlbford2 (I love my Semis, but for me they are for the range. My life is protected by my S&W revolver.)
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To: ol painless

Janklow ping


13 posted on 11/21/2005 11:00:59 AM PST by Rakkasan1 (Peace de Resistance! Viva la Paper towels!)
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To: ol painless



Instead of this BS, COH (city of houston) should put up Cameras all over Southwest Houston...since 2 to 3 people are killed in that area each week...would do more public good.

But, as many have posted within this forum, it's all about the money.


14 posted on 11/21/2005 11:04:30 AM PST by in hoc signo vinces ("Houston, TX...a waiting quagmire for jihadis.")
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To: ol painless

More revenue-generating activities by local gooberments.


15 posted on 11/21/2005 11:05:23 AM PST by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: mlbford2


Toyota center is the same why...every game, it's like both the Men's Club and Treasure's A-Team show up. It's a good time.


16 posted on 11/21/2005 11:05:55 AM PST by in hoc signo vinces ("Houston, TX...a waiting quagmire for jihadis.")
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To: ol painless

Get ready for a lot of rear-end fender benders, Houston. It's the only thing to actually come out of these cameras.


17 posted on 11/21/2005 11:07:33 AM PST by Hoodlum91
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To: Tzimisce

where does it say on these tickets you cannot challenge it in court? if it's like any other citation, you have that right and most people choose not to because they'd lose less money by not missing work.

I wish people would get as upset about IRS intrusion into our lives as they do about a lousy ticket.Care to guess how many days of work you'll miss with an audit? ( you're guilty till you prove you're innocent and BTW, they're going to hit you with interest penalties if/when you come out the loser)

just my thoughts...


18 posted on 11/21/2005 11:10:58 AM PST by Rakkasan1 (Peace de Resistance! Viva la Paper towels!)
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To: ol painless

If this is set up the way it is in other towns, you do not need to be caught rolling across the stop line.

Stopping with your front bumper over the line is sufficient for a "ran the red light" photo ticket.

Sounds like the civil crime is imposed against the car, not the driver- this is a key in civil forfeiture laws, the $5000 taken away from you is "charged" with being involved in a crime.


19 posted on 11/21/2005 11:11:48 AM PST by DBrow
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To: ol painless

This might make sense for a jackal revenooer in a one light town in the middle of a major state road. This makes NO long term sense for a city like Houston.

Many downtowns have trouble attracting people. This is one more disincentive to GO downtown. Way to drive people out to suburban strip malls!


20 posted on 11/21/2005 11:13:14 AM PST by sittnick (There's no salvation in politics.)
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To: ol painless

A little spray paint on some lens should do the trick.


21 posted on 11/21/2005 11:15:45 AM PST by 38special (Orwell was ahead of his time.)
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To: Tzimisce

As someone else hasd said before. If they send me a summons with a picture of my car, I'll send them a picture of a check.


22 posted on 11/21/2005 11:16:08 AM PST by Master of Orion
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To: mysterio
I've begun to think that towns that allow this to happen without extensive vandalism of the cameras take what they get.

Not much different from plinking cans. :)

23 posted on 11/21/2005 11:16:41 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: TXBSAFH
95% easy. It is all about getting more money for the city of Houston.>>

In Anne Arundel County, Md., they deactivated all the cameras after paying zillions to have them installed.

Would you care to guess why???

Yup...because they weren't generating enough MONEY

The reason that they were generating less money is that they were causing people to think twice before they ran red lights.

Is that rich..or what!!

24 posted on 11/21/2005 11:18:58 AM PST by evad ( Politicians are devious scum, right after newspaper editors)
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To: ol painless

An easy way to get rid of the cameras is to stop going to the businesses which surround the cameras. It will be a short time until they are pulled.

Well, I just don't like to go downtown, that area ( with the cameras) in particular, because it's risky. I might accidentally get a ticket.


25 posted on 11/21/2005 11:19:08 AM PST by TexanToTheCore (Rock the pews, Baby)
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To: IronJack
Not that I would advocate vandalizing the cameras by shooting them with deer slugs or a wrist rocket firing ball bearings or glass marbles or something. That would be a bad thing to do.

You're right, that could cause permanent damage to expensive equipment. What I would not advocate would be using something like this:


26 posted on 11/21/2005 11:19:58 AM PST by P-Marlowe
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To: Master of Orion
If they send me a summons with a picture of my car, I'll send them a picture of a check.

heh...and that will work just fine...until you try to renew your tags;-)

27 posted on 11/21/2005 11:20:28 AM PST by evad ( Politicians are devious scum, right after newspaper editors)
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To: ol painless
Some intrepid FReeper better check the Yellow/Red timing versus OTHER non-camera'd intersections....also compare the results versus Texas DMV code requirements.

See, a LOT of these Camera's intersections have shortened yellow/red periods...that's a "revenue enhancer"!

If you find a discrepancy, document it by video and pictures, and find a GOOD lawyer to do a RICO/Class Action lawsuit based on tickets given out using these fraudulent methods!

Oh, and make LOTS of copies of the evidence, and maybe a website for it too....never trust the Gub'Mint!

28 posted on 11/21/2005 11:32:19 AM PST by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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To: Itzlzha

Union City CA had to return $1 million in fines that were generated by rigged yellow cycles designed to entrap motorists.


29 posted on 11/21/2005 11:36:59 AM PST by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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To: ol painless

When will the cameras be rigged to nab those making illegal turns? Or catch cars that are following too closely? Or turn on whenever you exceed the speed limit? Or catch cars that fail to signal before lane changes? Seems like all of those things would add to overall traffic safety too.


30 posted on 11/21/2005 11:39:24 AM PST by Lou L
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To: mysterio

I read on a UK site that the populace has been necklacing red light and speed cameras... Unbellyfeelingingsoc!


31 posted on 11/21/2005 11:46:04 AM PST by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: P-Marlowe
I have several semi-automatic paintball markers that I guarantee you will shoot faster than 3-4 balls a second! And I would never ever consider using any of them to vandalize important government equipment being used to track my every move and invalidate my rights under the Constitution.

Cuz that would be a bad thing to do.

32 posted on 11/21/2005 12:50:11 PM PST by IronJack
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To: mysterio

I can say from experience that they do STOP red light runners ... red light runners kill people.


33 posted on 11/21/2005 12:52:30 PM PST by BunnySlippers
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To: Tzimisce
The Constitution says you have a right to face your accuser. But I guess that all depends on how you define the words: Constitution, Right, face, accuser, your, the...

...as well as the definition of "you".

They ticket the car's *owner*, no matter who was actually driving. If a friend borrows your car and runs a red light with it, *you* get fined for sitting at home surfing the web while the offense occurred.

34 posted on 11/21/2005 3:06:42 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: BunnySlippers
The problem created by a big brother government watching our every move through cameras strategically placed everywhere is greater than the one solved by the cameras.

Here's a for instance. We could probably prevent most crimes by placing cameras in all public places and in every home and using a computer surveillance network to track everyones' movements. If we could prevent all crime by doing this, would you be willing to accept a total lack of freedom? Or is freedom worth enough to you to accept that some guilty people are going to get away with crimes? That's the real question.
35 posted on 11/21/2005 3:20:37 PM PST by mysterio
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To: mysterio

I don't agree.


36 posted on 11/21/2005 3:34:23 PM PST by BunnySlippers
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To: TXBSAFH

a traffic cop is only a tax collector.I've never needed one,ever!Twice I was cited,but luckily I had my tape recorder w/me(they don't like those things!)and 1 deputy sheriff was fired for lying and extorting money from the public(galveston,cty)they were afraid of bad publicity so they dropped the ticket,BINGO!!!The other incident,brazoria cty.When he saw that tape recorder on my dash,he backed off like it was a snake-too late though.ticket dropped!!--CURSES FOULED AGAIN!!


37 posted on 12/10/2005 1:18:22 PM PST by bobwilgo
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To: TXBSAFH

a traffic cop is only a tax collector.I've never needed one,ever!Twice I was cited,but luckily I had my tape recorder w/me(they don't like those things!)and 1 deputy sheriff was fired for lying and extorting money from the public(galveston,cty)they were afraid of bad publicity so they dropped the ticket,BINGO!!!The other incident,brazoria cty.When he saw that tape recorder on my dash,he backed off like it was a snake-too late though.ticket dropped!!--CURSES FOULED AGAIN!!


38 posted on 12/10/2005 1:20:29 PM PST by bobwilgo
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To: bobwilgo

I have a carry permit and keep my gun in the glove compartment next to my insurance card. I tell them this and ask if they want to see it. They always decline for soem reason. I get a warning and they let me go.


39 posted on 12/10/2005 2:13:57 PM PST by TXBSAFH ("I would rather be a free man in my grave then living as a puppet or a slave." - Jimmy Cliff)
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To: dfwgator
If they really wanted to stop people from running red lights, then they should force offenders to attend Texans games.

LOL, as a Lions fan, I can relate.

40 posted on 12/10/2005 2:16:03 PM PST by mark502inf
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To: deport
Hang on for your first speeding ticket where you are caught by a radar installation and a photo of your license plate is taken...

They've been doing this in Germany for decades and the photo shows the whole front of the car, to include the driver. And you don't even know about it until you receive the ticket in the mail, complete with photo. In the early 80s one of my soldiers got one and showed it to me--he was clearly identifiable behind the wheel--LOL, no recourse!

41 posted on 12/10/2005 2:20:26 PM PST by mark502inf
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To: TXBSAFH

I don't have a permit,but i do travel alot.I use to carry a pistol behind my seat where the butt of it could be seen and I could get to it,mostly for convenience,and I've been stopped by THP for one thing or another and been asked if I knew the laws on handguns,answered yes and never had a problem.But,now there's a new generation of law enforcement and handgun permits came to birth and I wonder if I shouldn't go ahead and get a permit so it may not cause me delays in the future.I don't like the idea,being I have the right to carry one in the first place.But, it might save me some trouble down the line someday.


42 posted on 12/10/2005 8:57:38 PM PST by bobwilgo
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