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.
To: Arizona State Senators and Representatives
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.
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.
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.
The cameras are coming down.
The photo radar prohibition bill has jumped over its first hurdle in Arizona State Legislature. It was passed out of the Government Reform Committee. This is the first step to kicking Redflex and ATS off your streets.
After much anticipation, the Photo Radar Prohibition bill (SB1352) is now available online for viewing. Introduced by AZ State Senator Frank Antenori, it is an all out ban on the photo ticketing scam in Arizona.
In the past few days, many cosponsors have stepped forward to sign SB1352, giving it widespread support.
Call, e-mail and fax your legislators to let them know you’re fully in favor of banning the scameras in AZ.
Lookup for your own State Rep here.
Great example letter you can cut and paste or reword here