March 13—24, 2014
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part of this secret electronic surveillance to spy on Chicago citizens. Chicago’s surveillance camera system has been called the most “extensive and integrated” in the country. The ACLU of Illinois believes it is critical that measures be put in place to protect against unwarranted violations of privacy. Financially, “Chicago is an operator of predatory ticket cameras for the sole purpose of collecting revenue that comes almost entirely from safe drivers. Chicago uses deliberately improper traffic light timing and underposted speed limits so that thousands of very safe drivers who are not causing traffic hazards for anyone will get tickets for the "crime" of safely operating their vehicles said James Walker, a concerned citizen. The Chicago Sun-Times reported findings of an audit that found no evidence to substantiate the city’s claim that red light cameras have either reduced accidents or are installed at the most dangerous intersections. Wallace wanted to rid the city of red light cameras, and have signed petitions to put the question on the 2014 election ballot. In doing so Wallace help organized Citizens to Abolish Red -Light Cameras C.A.R.L.C., a group committed to the removal of red and speed light cameras throughout all communities in Chicago and has staged protests calling for the immediate removal throughout the city of Chicago. However, C.A.R.L.C points out, Chicago is a major operator of predatory ticket cameras for the sole purpose of collecting revenue that comes almost entirely from safe drivers. Adding that it is be
tial amount of the money from the fine, the bulk of money from red light cameras go to the company that operates them. Redflex Holdings Ltd., the red light camera Australian parent company contracted with Chicago, revealed recently that an internal investigation uncovered evidence that its 10 year old Chicago program appears to have been connected to a
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is balancing his 2014 budget with $120 million in red-light camera/speed camera fines.
in opposition to for public officials to support a red-light camera program just because these cameras have the potential to generate vast revenues for their cities. Mayor Rahm Emanuel 2014 budget is geared to $120 million in red-light camera/speed camera fines. Public officials have a sworn obligation to protect the public by promoting public safety. As U.S. PIRG asserts, public officials, when considering red-light camera programs, should “put public safety first in decisions regarding enforcement of traffic laws and this includes evaluating privatized law enforcement camera systems against alternative safety options without regard to potential revenues.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel is balancing his 2014 budget with $120 million in red-light camera/speed camera fines. Despite Emanuel, many public officials have become aware of the cost-ineffectiveness of redlight cameras. Fines for violations are $35 for vehicles traveling 6-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit while in a safety zone, and $100 for vehicles traveling 11 or more miles over the posted speed limit. CARLC said the camera at 99th and Halsted, which has brought in $9 million since it was installed. And unlike a moving violation ticket written by an officer from a municipality, where the city would get a substan-
Chicago Street Journal
$2 million bribery scheme involving a past Chicago city official. Other red light camera companies' tactics have been questioned for years. Senator Dan Duffy (RBarrington) tried to ban red light cameras in 2010, but his legislation was shut down by political insiders. Then as early as February 2009, Illinois Review reported on the Red Speed camera company and their
“I appreciate Mayor Emanuel’s effort to ban this corrupt company from future contracts, however that does not solve the problem. People, who have received a Red Light Camera (RLC) ticket from this company since the criminal activity started in 2003, need to be reimbursed. Chicago/suburbs made over 300 Million dollars from illegally installed cameras. I will be advancing legislation in the Illinois Senate this week addressing this issue—RLC lobbyists and Mayor Emanuel’s office have been trying to stop me every step of the way.”
lobbyists setting up a lucrative contract in suburban Schaumburg, which has since been eliminated. The company's business was pushed by influential state lobbyists who contributed thousands to lawmakers' campaign coffers: The US Attorney's office is launching a federal investigation of financial connections between Chicago insiders and red light camera lobbyists. Duffy says the $300 million obtained through "illegallyinstalled" cameras should be reimbursed to ticketed drivers. Senator Duffy said he's preparing to introduce legislation that would push for reimbursement of red light camera tickets. Wallace said the numbers counted into the 30,000 as of yet. Wallace and Newman believe the cameras are illegal and the city lied to citizens about their intent.
C.A.R.L.C. feel that the city’s red and speed light camera program is a violation of its citizen’s constitutional rights and is designed solely to increase the city’s financial coffers. In line with C.A.R.L.C., ACLU believes that Chicago does not need a camera on every sidewalk, on every block, in every neighborhood. Rather, our City needs to change course, before we awake to find that we cannot walk into a book store or a doctor’s office free from the government’s watchful eye. “We urge the City to order a moratorium on the expansion of the camera system. Then the City should initiate a thorough and open review of this surveillance system, including whether to reduce the number of cameras. Finally, for those cameras that remain, the City should implement new rules to safeguard individual privacy. After calls to several city officials for comment, Chicago has made it available for drivers to view video
of their red light violation on drivers who are unable to pay their red light ticket will have “an arrest warrant issued” and their “license will be suspended.” This can result in an inability to renew your license and/or vehicle registration until the fine has been paid. You will need to enter your license plate information to retrieve your red light violation video. CARCL objective is for 100,000 signatures to put it the voters to send a clear message to the city’s aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The law requires 47,000 signatures or 8 percent of the total number of voters in the last municipal election, which were 585,628. Wallace said the difficult part is not in getting the signatures to the Board of Elections 90 days before the election, but there must be a city alderman willing to sponsor the referendum. He said they have a few people in mind but he admitted it will have to be an alderman that is willing to go against the mayor with a lot of political fortitude. CARLC meets on Fridays at Logos Baptist Assembly, 10805 S. Halsted St. For more information contact Courtney Scott (773)4011675.