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.


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