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Murrieta Voters to Decide Whether to Ban Red-Light Cameras

A yes vote on Measure N means the red-light cameras should be taken out of Murrieta; a no vote means they should stay.

Voters in Murrieta tomorrow will decide whether red-light camera systems in place at three intersections—which advocates say have saved lives but critics counter are ineffective and unfair—should stay or go.

Measure N asks Murrieta residents whether the existing red-light cameras should be removed and the city council barred from installing additional ones in the future. The systems were first deployed in 2006.

"The unfortunate truth is that red light ticketing cameras can't improve safety because they cannot prevent the serious collisions caused by motorists who are impaired, distracted or fatigued and enter the intersection long after the light has turned red," according to a campaign statement from Measure N proponents. "More tickets, less safety."

The initiative backers, who include conservative activist Diana Serafin and Safer Streets L.A. Executive Director Jay Beeber, say a comparison of collision data from the five years before the city's red light cameras were installed to the five years after shows collisions overall jumped 120 percent, while rear-end collisions spiked a whopping 285 percent higher.

"And while the cameras increased accidents, by the time of this election, Murrieta will have issued almost 12,000 tickets at almost $500 each, removing millions of dollars from our local economy and wasting thousands of valuable police man hours," initiative backers wrote. "The vast majority of these tickets go to drivers who miss the end of the yellow phase by a fraction of a second."

Initiative opponents, including Councilmen Rick Gibbs and Alan Long, argue that Measure N's authors are spinning data to suit their purposes. Opponents wrote in a ballot statement that red-light running at camera-enforced intersections plummeted from 5,100 to 121 incidents from 2005 to 2011 and that half the people ticketed were three car lengths away from the intersection when the light changed and they chose to continue through it.

"Seventy-two percent of the red light violations were written to drivers who do not live in Murrieta," opponents said. "It is people passing through our town who put your life in danger."

The city of Los Angeles deactivated its red-light camera system last year based on doubts about its effectiveness as a deterrent and the fact that local courts wouldn't uphold the citations.

From 2004 to 2010, the city of Los Angeles issued 183,000 tickets, valued at more than $80 million. An audit of the automated traffic enforcement program, however, found no corresponding increase in safety at the intersections generating citations.

James C. Walker November 07, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Diana Serafin deserves our congratulations, and she showed what one really dedicated person can do to rally the public and gather help from like minded groups to support a correct cause. Cameras also went down to defeat in Newport Beach and League City, Texas. One city and one state at a time, the cameras will be defeated and politicians will no longer have the the temptation to have their engineering departments engineer traffic lights for maximum ticket revenue. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association.
Keith Broaders November 07, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Congratulation to the voters of Murrieta for their ability to reject the use of the Red Cameras. This is a victory for liberty and Constitution. The residents of Murrieta have spoken and their voice is being heard across the land. Because of the efforts of Diana Serafin other cities will come to realize that the fundraisng cameras have no place in a land where individual liberty and responsibility is respected.
Tom Courbat November 07, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Yesterday I wrote, "I guess we'll find out today whether major corporations can buy their way to having their own way." The proof came out this morning, "No, they cant"! Just like other super-rich politicians failing to buy senate seats, the governorship and the presidency, the voters always become suspicious when huge sums of money are expended. I am always amazed when someone like Diana can be outspent by over $100 to $1 and still prevail in her cause. People just don't like having their picture show up in the mail with a $490 fine attached. Drivers should NOT go speeding through red lights risking life and limb (literally) but the "red in both directions" idea seems like it would significantly reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities without imposing on individual privacy. I know, cameras are everywhere, at stores, malls, gas stations, etc. But they don't pick-pocket $490 from people's wallets every time they see them. And yes, it's supposedly only those who, after video review, "violated the law" that receive the high-priced ticket (I'm told they used to be about $275 before the great recession), let's make the intersections safer by design first. I understand that ballot measures to ban red light cameras are almost ALWAYS successful, probably because of the 'big brother' aspect they seem to invoke in people's minds. I received THREE very large, slick double-sided card-stock mailers in my mail box in just ONE day before the election. ATS spent big & lost.
Cyclist November 07, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Republican, you are not anti-Random, you are on a mission to slander him anywhere you can, and that is illegal. You are a piece of scum because you have spread lies about his family before. Go away troll.
Laura November 08, 2012 at 08:00 PM
The ticket fee is $500.00 not including the $50.00 if you request traffic school. I know I ALWAYS stop at a red prior to turning right, however, in viewing the video it looks chopped up and put back together, it looks as though I did not stop, which indicates someone has manipulated the video. I work with digital media and I know what it looks like when someone has messed around with the graphics. These cameras are a joke, and the companies in Arizona are manipulating them so people are forced to pay. I hope they do an investigation on this, and refund everybody they ripped off. They out to be ashamed of themselves.

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