Anti-Camera Sentiment Hits Silver Screen

September 9, 2010

The Problem

Growing frustration over the intrusion of automated ticketing machines is showing up more often in the arena of entertainment.

A big-screen remake of 1930s superhero “The Green Hornet” is set for release in January of 2011, and the producers of the film are using the violent destruction of a “red light camera” as the ending action sequence (video) in a 2 minute 30 second trailer available on YouTube.

The Reaction

The “superheros” find themselves snapped by what appears to be a Hollywood adaption of the infamous “Redflex scamera head.”

Response to the “cash flash” is swift, as a missile is launched from the vehicle which subsequently dispatches the scamera to a fiery, explosive demise.

The Solution

The highly-rated BBC program “Top Gear” recently used a similar, real-life sequence to terminate the existence of a Gatso lookalike.

The tables were turned in the 2008 action-thriller “Eagle Eye,” in which a rogue central computer named “ARIAA” used red light cameras and license plate recognition to locate and scramble missiles against a driver and passenger who were attempting to shut the system down.

Actual removal of the ticketing devices around Arizona is proving to be much less entertaining. Observers report that the Redflex – DPS cameras on the US-60 have started to come down, with cameras in the highway median being removed first.

Redflex’s piezo in-ground sensors will remain in place, becoming the property of Arizona Department of Transportation. They will likely remain unused as ADOT has their own network of sensors to anonymously monitor freeway traffic speeds.


Photo Unit Cop Caught Forging Documents

September 6, 2010

Geoffrey Jacobs (Photo: New Times)

A former officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s now-defunct Redflex “photo enforcement unit” was allegedly caught forging documents and using “state” resources — a DPS airplane — to stalk an ex girlfriend.

According to AZCentral, “[Geoffrey] Jacobs wrote a fake obituary regarding another ex-girlfriend and sent it to Hawaiian Airlines, along with a letter detailing how Jacobs was trying to cope with the “huge loss” of his fiancee. The letter was sent so Jacobs could transfer his ex-girlfriend’s ticket to another woman…”

If this officer was corrupt enough to forge documents for an airline ticket change, did any of the members of the public stand a chance when their citations were in his hands?

But wait, there’s more… This one’s for the “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about” crowd:

He also was found to have abused DPS resources when he flew a state-owned plane over the neighborhood where he believed an ex-girlfriend lived in an attempt to locate her new home.
And who better to help run the accident-increasing photo enforcement scheme than an officer who had great first-hand experience causing accidents:
Jacobs joined DPS in late 2002. Less than one year later, he was served with his first letter of reprimand for an October 2003 wreck in Tucson. The next year, Jacobs was in another wreck and lost eight hours of vacation pay.

Jacobs, according to the New Times, “was the trooper who arrested Republican Party Executive Director Brett Mecum in May 2009 for criminal speeding. “

Now Jacobs is redefining irony, by suing the state over his dismissal. His claim? “…Defamation and violation of privacy and constitutional rights. “

Perhaps one would be more compassionate for the troubled cop if he didn’t work in a police unit that defamed and violated privacy and constitutional rights on an automated level.

With forgery, stalker-like surveillance, and dangerous driving supposedly under his belt, he would fit in well with the corporate criminal culture at Redflex Group.

(Should a full investigation into this officer’s role in the photo enforcement unit be conducted by AZDPS? Sound off in the comments section)

“Photo Enforcement” Becomes Toxic

August 24, 2010

What do you do when your industry approaches market saturation and increased public opposition?

This is the question the peddlers of automated ticketing will have to start asking themselves in the immediate future if they hope to survive in any form whatsoever.

Almost all large United States cities have been approached by either Redflex or American Traffic Solutions pitching the tired, debunked claims of improved traffic safety.

Unfortunately for these companies, voters and drivers have awakened to the scheme and are opposing new and existing systems worldwide over a variety of reasons, from civil liberties concerns to the proper role of government.

Smaller and smaller communities are being being swindled into signing contracts with these corporations, resulting in millions of dollars being extracted from local economies and sent directly to the profiteering vendors.

The blowback to such installations has ranged from expected opposition to cold-blooded murder. Last week, the confessed shooter of a Redflex photo radar van driver in Arizona was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Unclear is the liability the State of Arizona will face for their “romp in the bed” with corporatism in the form of photo enforcement. Redflex was contractually obligated to provide “public service announcements” to explain automated ticketing to the public when the statewide ticketing contract was signed with the Department of Public Safety.

DPS is now being sued by the surviving family, and rightfully so. It doesn’t take an overpaid government beancounter to figure out that placing an unarmed civilian in a vehicle falsely marked as law enforcement is a bad idea.

With an onslaught of bad publicity, automated ticketing vendors may remember 2010 as the year their business model went sour. Lawsuits demanding refunds plague Redflex in Minnesota to the tune of millions of dollars while increased legal challenges in Florida and California threaten the very existence of red light cameras and so-called speed enforcement.

The Cameras are Coming Down… but in the end it may be due to the fatally flawed business model based on greed and inconclusive results that ATS and Redflex have depended on for over a decade.


Redflex Sales Hucksters are Commission-Based

August 19, 2010

Hi, Vince here from Redflex! Get ready to "snapshot" your way out of wreckless, drunken government spending with our new ScamWow! It's so easy!

Lobbyists who visit local city councils for Redflex are compensated on a commission-based scheme, and in one instance the cash was promised to be split with the wife of a local judge:

[Redflex] which also operates Victorian red light cameras – is at the centre of several court actions in Louisiana after a local council outside New Orleans turned off the cameras last January amid concerns company lobbyists were earning a share from camera fines…

Redflex Holdings allegedly agreed to pay 3.2 per cent of its share of camera revenue to the former United States councillor, who subsequently arranged to split the cash with the wife of a local judge.

Okay, camera apologi$t$: tell u$ again how it’$ not all about the money?


Paradise Regained

August 5, 2010

Dear Redflex,

We’re coming.

Sincerely,

CameraFRAUD


ATS Accuses Woman, 84 of Motorcycle Speeding

August 3, 2010

American Traffic Solutions scameras in Bluff City, TN accused an 84-year old woman from Lexington of speeding at midnight on a motorcycle late last month:

“I thought maybe I ought to send them the money and not worry about it, and that’s the last thing you should do.“

The victim thought upon receipt of the “notice of violation” that the ticket was a scam (and rightfully so) and got the matter resolved only after involving the local media.

Other ATS and Redflex FAILs this week include:

Changes bring DeLand red-light cameras to rolling stop
Officials will have to re-evaluate whether to pursue the use of red-light cameras now that… a new state law would take a big chunk of local ticket revenue.

Firm doubles Palm Coast’s fees
Here’s something to make Palm Coast officials see red: The company that runs its traffic light camera system is asking to more than double what it currently charges the city.

Seeing red over camera contract
A CITIZENS’ revolt against red light cameras in New Orleans has led to claims a Victorian company agreed to pay a share of the fines to a former city councillor if it won a contract.

Red light photo enforcement is no longer active in Yucaipa
“The program was not very productive in terms of paying for itself,” Hemsley said. The city anticipated a revenue of approximately $140,000, but has only collected $27,500. Since it is the court collection system that has resulted in lack of revenue, Hemsley said the Redflex and the city could not find a good solution or alternative to canceling the contract. “After negotiations with Redflex, we agreed to pay the balance due of $198,000 and terminate the agreement.”

Town’s Automated Traffic Enforcement Approaches One Ticket Per Citizen
Tennessee town of 17,000 has issued over 7,300 traffic tickets in half year since adopting system


FINISHED: Redflex Cams “Coming Down”

July 12, 2010

Less than two years after the first freeway flash, almost a hundred fixed and mobile Redflex speed cameras will cease operation this week in a bittersweet outcome for both opponents and supporters of automated ticketing.

The disastrous program, which was met with significant resistance and became a political hot potato, was the only statewide program in operation within the United States.

Let us not forget or allow any politician from this day forward in any city, in any state, to ignore what even Redflex’s own investors referred to as “an expensive failure.”

Even more important to recognize is that not all losses can be accounted for on a balance sheet. The Arizona Department of Public Safety and Redflex allowed private citizens to drive and operate photo radar vans bearing the department’s emblems and likeness.

In April of 2009, Douglas Georgianni was shot and killed as he sat inside of one of the DPS-marked Ford Escapes, with not even a remote chance to defend himself from the attack.

DPS Lieutenant James Warriner then attempted to use the tragedy for shameful political gain by blaming anti-camera opponents, casting fault away from where it belonged: the shooter, and those who put Mr. Georgianni in harm’s way. (In one of the most underreported Arizona news stories of 2010, DPS is now facing a significant survivor’s lawsuit from the family of the victim.)

Business at Redflex continues as usual, with the company encouraging clueless municipal police and sheriff departments nationwide to lend them their insignia for the profitable mobile radar units.

With a ballot initiative to ban automated ticketing statewide failing to gather the required signatures, the return of the statewide freeway program is possible. While state officials cited increased public opposition and the possibility of a ban in their decision to not renew the contract with Redflex, the thought that public officials will do the right thing and avoid entangling alliances with dubious foreign-owned corporations is a pipe-dream.

Don’t let up now. Monitor the news for mentions of Redflex and ATS sneaking into new communities and email the city / town councils a link to this or other CameraFRAUD articles. Make them vividly aware that a vote for photo enforcement is a gamble against their political future, and that the backlash of the “cash flash” can be… fast.

While we celebrate some of the cameras coming down this week, CameraFRAUD won’t be going anywhere until all of… “The Cameras are Coming Down!”

Are you in? Join CameraFRAUD on Facebook today.


Will Governor Brewer Do The Right Thing?

April 30, 2010

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has a lot on her plate these days. Let’s make sure she doesn’t ignore the photo radar expansion bill that was just passed at the Eleventh Hour after furious lobbying by Redflex Traffic Systems and more complicity with Photo Radar fraud by our State Legislature. SB1018 passed with only two members of the AZ House voting against it.

Here is a summary of what SB 1018 does to expand photo radar:

1. Expands the time allowed for process serving

2. It allows for the serving of a ticket before a charge is even filed. This is the equivalent of being handed an extortion letter and in fact, the would be the first law in written history to allow for this.

3. Allows off duty cops to serve tickets , which was covered last week.

4. And if that weren’t enough, it retroactively protects to the Board of Supervisors for illegally charging more fees

Governor Brewer, we know that mathematical equations and reading the State and Federal Constitutions is really difficult for our elected officials, but this one should be easy.

To our supporters, lets make sure we know how she feels:

Send this by Fax or Email to Governor Brewer’s Office:

Please live up to your previous stance that you do not like Photo Traffic Enforcement. If you do not like it, please veto SB1018 which expands it.

Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Telephone (602) 542-4331
Toll Free 1-(800) 253-0883
Fax (602) 542-1381

Facebook – Jan Brewer

Twitter – Team Brewer


Lip Service and Lobbyists

March 17, 2010

As promised, the action is starting to heat up. Over the weekend, The Arizona Republic(Gannett Co.), a famed pro camera publication, ran a story about newly appointed DPS Director Robert Halliday’s assessment that DPS patrolmen needed to be more visible on AZ roads. Channel 12, also owned by Gannett Co., aired an accompanying story that night.

The gist of both stories is that Halliday favored more “Cops Not Cameras,” which is a change in tune from the DPS during the term of Roger Vanderpool. That tag line should sound familiar if you’ve been paying attention to this blog since its inception in August of 2008.

Courtesy of The Arizona Republic, Nick Oza

A CameraFRAUD volunteer called DPS Director Halliday’s office on Monday to ask for a clarification on Halliday’s position regarding photo enforcement and a message was left with his assistant. It’s been 48 hours and the phone call was not returned, so we can only assume that Halliday is not willing to denounce photo radar or come out in favor of banning it.

***UPDATE*** DPS responded to CameraFRAUD and they are considering our offer to bring Director Halliday in for an interview. Stay tuned.

He and Governor Jan Brewer, who recently appointed him, seem to march to the same beat in that regard. If you remember, she mentioned on the record and on the air with Jay Lawrence’s KTAR Radio Show that she did not like the system. When given the chance to terminate the state contract with Redflex, she shrunk from her position, using the excuse that it would be too expensive due to penalties for ending the program early.

Halliday is now pushing for an increase of 280 DPS officers from the current level and Brewer is pushing for an 18% (one cent on every dollar) increase in the state sales tax. While their interests could go hand-in-hand, that connection has not been made yet. What’s clear is that neither is willing to do the right thing and admit that the state of Arizona was lied to by Redflex Traffic Systems about the safety record and the nature of the program during the term of former Governor Napolitano and end the dangerous practice of photo enforcement.

As if that weren’t enough to pontificate on, a story on TheNewspaper.com on Monday described our friend Jay Heiler’s latest game of media and public manipulation. Heiler has now contrived some type of road safety association by registering it through a lobbyist firm. The main goal of this group is clearly damage control after countless public relations disasters for the photo radar industry and namely his current company, Redflex.

A volunteer called the Arizona wing of APCO Worldwide, the lobbyist firm which registered the web address for for The Partnership For Advancing Road Safety (PARS), there was no answer and the voicemail belonged that that of one Jay Heiler. It’s not too difficult to connect the dots on that association, but what’s unclear, is what Heiler plans to do with PARS and if it will have a presence in Arizona.

The contract for the freeway camera system between Redflex and the state of Arizona expires on July 1st. Governor Brewer has indicated that she will not renew it. Signatures for the Ban Photo Radar in Arizona initiative are due at the same time and a public vote would happen in November.


Redflex Investors Call AZ Program “Failure”

October 18, 2009

postitRedflex’s statewide “photo enforcement” program in Arizona is being called an expensive failure by the beleaguered firm’s own investors.

Apparently, these photographic pirates are upset that the “take” from their heist wasn’t what they were expecting:

“Hunter Hall has concluded that, so far, the ‘Arizona statewide’ program has been an expensive failure. We attribute responsibility for this outcome to a board that we believe is ill-equipped to handle contracts of such significance.”

The backlash against automated ticketing in Arizona, including a proposed statewide ballot initiative outlawing the cameras, now threatens the Australian firm’s 11 other lucrative contracts with municipalities throughout Arizona.


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