from the: Arizona Daily Star
The proposed red-light camera ban is one step closer to making it on the November ballot, after the Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez confirmed enough valid signatures on petitions.
Two weeks ago, Tucson Traffic Justice, a local group that’s been trying to ban the cameras for more than two years, submitted petitions with more than 40,000 signatures.
After the Secretary of State drew a sample of 2,018 signatures to confirm their validity, the County Recorder determined Monday that 1,258 or 67% were valid.
Based on that number, the Recorder projects that 27,000 signatures are valid. That’s more than double the required number of 12,730.
“The numbers are phenomenal considering we have no paid staff or circulators,” said Tucson Traffic Justice’s petition coordinator, John Kromko.
Initially, the group collected 53,000 signatures at five street fairs, 15 Second Saturday events, parades, sporting events and the swamp meet, said volunteer coordinator Lee Strubbe. After removing about 13,000 out-of-towners, the group submitted the 40,000 local signatures.
“At this point we’re just worried that the city will try to get around it by signing a long-term contract with the camera company,” Kromko said.
Two years ago, the measure was set to go to the City Council to decide if it would be put on the ballot when the Department of Procurement signed a two-year contract with American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the cameras, he said.
That contract is up next month, leading Kromko and the group to wonder if the same thing will happen again.
The privately contracted American Traffic Solutions operates eight cameras around the city that detect when a vehicle has run a red light. Tucson Police Department then reviews the citations before issuing them to drivers.
The majority of the funds collected through the fines goes to American Traffic Solutions and not the city, as many people believe, Kromko said.
After paying almost $300 in fines and $100 for traffic school after receiving a ticket, Kromko took up the cause of getting the cameras banned, saying that if the tickets were a reasonable price, he wouldn’t be bothering with it.
Thirty of 32 cities that have voted on the cameras rejected them, leading Kromko to believe that the outlook for Tucson is good should the measure be brought to a vote.
Last year, Sierra Vista voters rejected the cameras by nearly a nearly 8-to-2 margin, he added.