(November 23, 2004) -- Without discussing accident statistics (reported by LBReport.com) that showed red light crashes increased by five times at 7th St/Redondo, went from none to one at Artesia/Cherry and stayed at zero at Bellflower/Willow in the first year of "red light camera" enforcement, the LB City Council voted 8-1 (Baker dissenting) to restore 10 of 16 "red light cams" under a new flat fee contract and refer the issue to the Public Safety Committee for a report before the contract is renewed for another year.
In a November 23, 2004 memo, city staff said total accidents at the three intersections above decreased 35.3% from 2001 to 2002. The memo didn't mention that red light accidents at the three intersections had either increased or stayed the same during the same time period.
LBReport.com obtained the accident data from LBPD on Nov. 23 and reported it prior to the Council meeting.
During Council discussion of the item, it became clear that management had also provided Councilmembers with the 2003 data on November 23. Councilwoman Reyes Uranga was openly displeased at receiving the stale data (over a year and a half old) only hours before a Council vote. She agreed to support for the vendor contract only if red light cam issues were simultaneously referred to the Council's Public Safety Committee for a report before the contract is renewed for another year. The Council agreed to this.
City managament did not release, and the Council did not publicly request, any LB red light cam accident data from February 2003 through August 2004 (when the vendor contract expired).
2d district Councilman Dan Baker, who opposed the red light cams at their inception in LB three years ago, continued to oppose them. After noting that the system had not produced the roughly $1 million annually that city staff originally indicated, Councilman Baker said the overriding factor for him was on constitutional and privacy grounds.
"I agree with the Majority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates on this issue...Virginia [legislators] debated this issue last week and they voted to not move forward with the red light cameras in Virginia. And to quote Majority Leader Griffith...'Slowly over time, you give away too much liberty,' a statement with which I agree completely."
Redlight Accidents Went Up or Stayed Same In First Year Operation at Three Major LB Intersections w/ "Red Light Cams," LBPD Data Show
LB "Red Light Cams" Off Following Law By Ass'ywoman Oropeza Preventing Vendor Arrangements Based On Number Of Tickets; City Mgt. Wants Council To OK New Flat Fee Contract To Turn About Half The Cams Back On