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11/6/2008
Second Ohio City Votes to Ban Red Light Cameras
Cincinnati joins Steubenville as the second Ohio city to ban photo enforcement by referendum.

Josh WeitzmanThe residents of Cincinnati, Ohio made it clear Tuesday that photo enforcement is not welcome in the city. A majority of voters approved an amendment to the city charter prohibiting local officials from ever installing either red light cameras or speed cameras (view text). Referendum co-sponsor Josh Weitzman hopes his coalition's victory inspires other cities.

"We worked long an hard to win," Weitzman told TheNewspaper. "This election is further proof that people do not want to have traffic cameras. Politicians in cities across the country need to take note of this if they plan on getting re-elected."

Cincinnati city council members had been trying for the past four years to install the devices that promised to generate between $2 million and $12 million in annual revenue. Advocates were stopped in 2005 when former Mayor Charlie Luken vetoed a camera ordinance saying, "Let's be honest with the public -- we didn't think about this until we came up with a budget problem."

The push for red light cameras resumed at the end of that year when Mayor Mark Mallory was sworn in. A diverse group of political activists from all ends of the political spectrum banded together to form the "We Demand a Vote" coalition to stop the idea. Members include regional chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Republican Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and others. The group received more than 10,000 signatures on a petition to put the subject of cameras on the ballot before the devices even had a chance to issue a single ticket. Political leaders quickly backed off their support of cameras after seeing public opinion on the matter.

In 2006, three out of every four voters in Steubenville chose to kick out speed cameras after the devices had issued $600,000 in citations. Over the past twelve years, voters in Anchorage, Alaska; Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois have also banned cameras.




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