Criminal Conspiracy: Redflex, ATS, and Anytown USA

May 4, 2011

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

OPINION  – You own a car. One evening, while enjoying your private property, a series of sensors and cameras detect your movement and computationally decide that you are exceeding the speed limit. A for-profit corporation receives high-resolution images of the alleged “violation,” which then forwards the allegations to another series of for-profit corporations.

Municipal corporations have a budget and, lets face it, payroll is a bitch for any corporation. Instead of a co-op where residents are viewed as equal shareholders in their community, they are instead viewed as revenue machines ready for milking. The true shareholders in these muni corporations are the usual suspects: investment banks like Goldman Sachs (which also owns American Traffic Solutions and Geico) and Macquarie which just gobbled up Redflex.

Yes, big banks, the photo firms, and Anytown U.S.A. have a lot of things in common: They care about money, power, and control. 

Lets not forget that a “traffic ticket” in any form goes well beyond the scope of a tax. It is a lawsuit directed at you on behalf of a carefully-vested collective of public and private entities that survive only on their ability to take by force the property of others. This collective includes the very elected officials that are supposed to represent the people and protect their private property: city and town judges, the town prosecutor, police officers etc.

In grade school, this is called stealing. In muni law, it’s considered “revenue enhancement” and your immediate, unquestioning compliance is not requested but demanded. The endgame to this bastardization of law is obvious: corpgov sanctioned theft:

If you’ve got one of the 15,000 traffic camera tickets the city says remain unpaid, you might want to keep an eye on your car. Police will begin seizing or putting boots on vehicles whose owners have unpaid tickets from the five Redflex Traffic Systems cameras around town, the Las Cruces Police Department announced Tuesday. LCPD Police Chief Richard Williams wasn’t available to comment on the new enforcement action, but LCPD spokesman Dan Trujillo pointed out that nothing about the ordinance itself was new.

“Fighting” photo enforcement by trying to change out the politicians who allowed it to happen is like voting for a new board of directors at McDonalds because of a lousy drive-thru cheeseburger. A better solution is to immediately stop patronizing the corporations (City of Scottsdale, City of Mesa, City of Phoenix) and their hired thugs (corrupt police officers, judges, prosecutors).

In Arizona, the advice used to be “careful driving down to Mexico, the corrupt police there will seize your car on a whim.”

In 2011, we can revise the sentiment: “careful driving across town, the corrupt police will seize your car at the command of a private corporation.

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Editor’s Note: Received via email, 5/4/2011.


New Jersey Township Says NO to Red Light Cameras

May 2, 2011

Morris Township Council was willing to listen to what their constituents had to say about American Traffic Solutions. They were told about the increases in accidents and lawsuits that follow ATS wherever they go.

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Nationwide Red Light Camera Backlash Featured on The Today Show

April 19, 2011

Red light cameras are all about the money, but some cities are finding that they cut really terrible deals with Redflex or ATS. So terrible that, in fact, they are losing money on the schemes.

An attorney in Broward County Florida has made a business of challenging the tickets, and according to the video, has won every case. Quoted, “They didn’t anticipate that people like myself would be coming to court, fighting the cases and winning.”

There are many other great thoughts from citizens, activists and city officials in this piece.

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EXCLUSIVE: Apple May Not Pull Trapster, Phantom

March 24, 2011

***ACTION ALERT – Call Apple VP of iOS development, Mr. Scott Forstall @ (800) 275-2273 – Ask him to resist government censorship regarding apps***
 

 

Apple VP of iOS development Scott Forstall (Photo: Wikipedia)

Unlike smartphone rival RIM, CameraFRAUD has learned that Apple may reject the call of four U.S. Senators to pull the Trapster and PhantomAlert apps from their App Store. According to online reports, four US Senators (not worth our digital ink to type their names) are trying to coerce the Mac-maker to send these valuable tools down the Orweillian 1984 “rabbit hole.”

While Apple does have the right to reject or discontinue apps without reason, government censorship or interference into this process is a serious breach of due process. Trapster and PhantomAlert are applications which provide additional warning to motorists who may be approaching a photo radar/enforcement zone, school zone, checkpoint zone, etc. The enforcement location information is community-sourced from the application users.

The political pressure point at Apple is Scott Forstall, VP of iOS software and recent recipient of a government takedown notice. Yes, you read right: the “land of the free” has so-called elected officials who think they can use the position of their office to directly silence free speech and interfere with interstate commerce, egregious violations of swaths of legal precedent and established constitutional law. (Please see top of article for an Action Alert: your phone calls are needed).

Opinion: It’s easy to assume that somewhere up the line Redflex, ATS, and their zombie-army of lawyers and political stooges had something to do with the recent attack on the sale of these apps. We shall see if time proves this connection to be correct; the desperate gasping breath of the profoundly beleaguered and corrupt automated ticketing industry.

Apple: Show us why “2011” won’t “be like 1984:”


State senator Linda Gray’s district is invaded by the RINO Patrol

March 15, 2011

The Arizona Republican Party’s platform clearly states that it is against the use of photo radar, yet Linda Gray continues to vote in favor of it. She voted no to both SB 1352 and SCR 1029, which would abolish the use of photo radar.

SCR 1029 would require a citizens’ vote to enact the ban and it passed the AZ Senate last week. Will the AZ House Republicans do the right thing and vote to ban the dangerous money making scam run by ATS and Redflex of Australia?

The volunteers who put fliers up in District 10, which is in Glendale, sent in a copy of the flyer and a little video.

Enjoy!

Also, here’s a little challenge to our democrat supporters: Not one of your reps in the Senate voted in favor of SB 1352 and only Kyrsten Sinema voted for SCR 1029. Please contact democrat members of the House and let them know you want ALL the cameras to come down and deserve to vote on it.

Yes on SCR 1029!


SB1352 Fails in Senate 15-15

March 2, 2011

The early returns are in on SB1352 and it’s not what we were hoping for. The worst part about this vote is how many republicans violated their own party platform and voted with the democrats to continue the shredding of your constitutional rights. Every single Democrat voted no if you’re scoring at home.

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AZ Senate to vote on SB1352 Wednesday

March 1, 2011

The Arizona Senate has just released their floor calendar for tomorrow and SB1352, the “Photo Radar Prohibition” bill will go to a full vote on the floor. If it passes, the House will have to vote on it before it can go to the governor.

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Arizona’s Most Toxic Assets: Redflex and ATS

February 25, 2011

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

To: Arizona State Senators and Representatives
From: CameraFRAUD
2/25/2011

Two of the largest automated ticketing vendors on the planet have substantial roots within the State of Arizona. Combined, these corporations employ many Arizonans and generate tens of thousands of dollars in revenue each day.

And there’s never been a better time to finally say goodbye.

Photo ticketing schemes extract enormous amounts of cash from the local economies in which they pretend to serve. Instead of this money staying within our community, Redflex and American Traffic Solutions virtually launder these stolen funds through pseudo-local offices… and back to their respective faceless investment banks.

In one corner, American Traffic Solutions sounds downright patriotic in name. Their surveillance cameras even boast a sticker as being “Made in the USA.” Don’t let the smoke and mirrors fool you though: ATS is a pawn of the massively-corrupt investment firm and former bailout recipient Goldman Sachs.

In the other corner, Redflex is being purchased by Macquarie Ltd and the Carlyle Group, two firms which are equally disinterested in the well-being of Arizonans. These faceless monsters only care about profits, and how every last dime can be extracted from their voiceless victims.

Just like the large, faceless investment banks which helped contribute to our current national recession, ticketing vendors Redflex and ATS also create local booms and busts within local municipalities. Unfortunately, the local elected “leaders” are asleep at the wheel, and aren’t paying attention to this modern game of “Three Cup Shuffle.”

Cities and towns are lured in by the prospect of “free money,” usually to the chipper reminder that such ticketing programs are “violator funded.” Contracts are haphazardly entered into, cameras go up, and the money starts to pour in. But as with any scam, there’s always a catch. Programs which start out profitable usually end up in the red, as is the case with the City of Mesa’s beleaguered relationship with ATS.

Citizens revolt, avoid areas with overzealous enforcement, or simply grow savvy to methods to avoid detection. Unintended consequences include a population that has become savvy to avoiding process service, making a mockery of the supposed “rule of law.” Increases in yellow light timing can and have destroyed these profitable schemes, sometimes incurring the wrath of these money-sucking vampire vendors.

Attempts to cancel contracts administratively are met with threats of lawsuits. Cities actually forced to end their contracts due to citizen’s ballot initiatives have been sued by these vendors, proving that there truly is no honor among thieves once the honey pot runs dry.

When Goldman Sachs dumped $70 million worth of mismanaged assets in 2006-2007, they were called “toxic.” Then Goldman conned its way into receiving $12.9 billion in TARP funds through AIG, while turning around and handing out $14 billion in executive bonuses.

Now, it’s Arizona’s turn to drop two toxic “assets” once and for all: the physical presence of American Traffic Solutions and Redflex within the Grand Canyon State.


AZ Firefighter: Red Light Camera Program a Sham

February 19, 2011

A CameraFRAUD member, who is a local Fireman, sent us the text of a letter he has sent to several Arizona state legislators.

This member also commented that he collected dozens of signatures to ban photo ticketing in Arizona from Police Officers who felt the same way he did, but are bound by rules for public employees not to speak out.

We’ve kept this info confidential in order to comply with unfair rules that city and state employees are bound by in public statements about their jobs.

Letter:

For your research into voting on SB1352, “Photo Radar Prohibition”, I would like to provide you with my personal experiences as a firefighter of 25 years in how photo traffic enforcement has negatively effected the publics safety. Then, I would like to illustrate how the photo traffic enforcement industry and their supporters have consistently altered the raw data into their favor for financial gain.

I was assigned at an East Valley fire station in the 1990’s when one of the first red-light cameras were installed there. Within a few weeks, I realized that we were responding to those monitored intersections for vehicle accidents more than ever before. Initially, we were told that the increase in accidents was only temporary and then that the rear-end collisions were a trade-off for more severe accidents. Regardless, we heard often from drivers who blamed the cameras for their unfortunate actions. Months later, the entire crew laughed around the kitchen table when press releases erroneously stated that accidents were down and the cameras were working. Since that time, I have continued to see a higher rate of accidents where cameras are located no matter what my fire station assignment has been.

In 2001, it was found that violations had suddenly decreased 73% overnight at 5 of the 17 cameras of the city that I worked for. It turned out that a city worker had increased the yellow light timing at these intersections from slightly below the federal minimum to approximately one second above. The police department wasted no time in celebrating the reduction in the press, but the camera vendor took legal action against the city for breech of contract. The change was apparently costing them and the city $300,000 a month in potential revenue. Subsequently, the cameras at those five originally identified as “deadly intersections” were removed. At this point, I realized beyond any doubt that photo enforcement was all about money.

Over the years, I have followed this issue closely and have seen an unwavering trend in the reports given to the media. Simply put, studies that favor photo enforcement can be traced back to the camera companies, insurance industry, or others who gain to make money from the technology, as they are very skilled in how they work the statistics to their favor. The most recent national study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an example of this, as they deemed a suburb of Phoenix as the poster child for red-light cameras with a 79 percent decrease in fatal accidents. When one looks past the numbers, it is revealed that the study is scientifically flawed, fails to account for a multitude of roadway infrastructure upgrades that hold many driver safety benefits of their own, a continuous decline of the nationwide fatal accident rates, and so much more.

Reports that find neutral or negative findings with the camera technology are from organizations that have no financial stake in the matter. The Virginia Transportation Research Council and Texas Transportation Institute are two of the most respected organizations that each completed their own exhaustive studies finding that photo enforcement increased accidents and caused taxpayers more money in the long run. These reports both recommended that a more efficient route to safety would be in intersection re-engineering, more visible traffic lights, proper yellow light timing, and more.

As a politician, I am sure that you have seen when one statistic can be used to argue either side of the debate. However, when all of the details are revealed and the trickery is exposed, only one side is left standing. I urge you to look past all of the numbers that you are presented with for the unbiased truth.

In closing, all 15 of the past elections across the USA where voters got a chance to speak their mind on photo enforcement, they gave walking papers to the camera companies in all 15 elections. Ironically, just before most of those elections, commissioned polls by the camera companies themselves stated that photo enforcement was overwhelmingly favored. Now, add in the (failed by a slim margin) petition to put such a vote to Arizonians that resulted in just shy of 150000 signatures and approximately 70% of the drivers who refused to pay their citations from the 18 month freeway camera program, well, that should speak volumes to any elected servant of the people.

I hope that you will endorse this bill with your vote and put Arizona down as the 15th state of the Union that ban photo traffic enforcement. Thank you for your time in reading this letter and your public service in office.

End letter.

The cameras are coming down.


Photo Radar/Red Light Camera Ban Call to Action

February 14, 2011

Last week, an email was sent out to the CameraFRAUD meetup group about SB1352 being heard in the Government Reform Committee on Wednesday February 16th, starting at 9 am.

Quoting from the letter:

If you are a big supporter of our cause or haven’t been involved in a while, we absolutely need your help! We’ve maneuvered SB1352 into the Government Affairs committee, where 4 of the members actually cosponsored it. If the committee approves it, the bill can be moved to the Senate floor for a debate.
Bill Discussion:
Wednesday February 16th, 9 am.
Arizona State Senate – Gov’t Reform Committee
Capitol Complex
1700 W Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
You will be able to find the group out front around 0830.
Come ready to speak, even if it’s just for a minute or two. We need as many people as possible. Be positive and remember that we are winning this argument now.
Let’s all get down to the capitol complex and speak out in favor of this ban on photo ticketing! We’ve put up with this long enough and it’s time to put a stop to the shortened yellow lights, increased collisions, Constitution shredding and unwarranted surveillance-tracking.

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