12/8/2008Redflex Lobbyist to Hire Staff for Arizona Governor
Top lobbyist for speed camera maker lands position handing out jobs in office of new Arizona governor.
A key employee of photo enforcement vendor Redflex Traffic Systems on Friday was appointed deputy director of the transition team for incoming Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R). Brewer will replace current Governor Janet Napolitano (D) who has been tapped to lead the US Department of Homeland Security. In his new position, Redflex Director of Government Affairs Jay Heiler, 48, will be responsible for selecting personnel to fill appointed positions throughout the state government.
Heiler is no stranger to the governor's mansion, having served as chief of staff to Fife Symington until the then-governor was convicted of bank fraud and forced to step down in 1997. In the announcement of Heiler's new position, Brewer's transition team only referred to the top Redflex lobbyist as "an educator and a consultant," concealing his connections to the controversial Australian firm.
Although Heiler will have the authority to replace Napolitano loyalists in key positions with new hires equally committed to saturating the state's freeways with Redflex products, the leaders of a grassroots revolt movement do not believe it will make a difference.
"The cameras are coming down," boasts the group camerafraud.com.
CameraFraud has been organizing the army of volunteers needed to gather 225,000 signatures required to ensure an initiative banning photo enforcement is certified for the 2010 ballot. No speed camera program has ever survived this type of public vote. In 1991, Peoria, Arizona residents by a 2-1 margin chose to dump the photo radar program championed by the police chief. Voters then ousted the chief. More recently, 76 percent of voters in Steubenville, Ohio voted to outlaw speed cameras in a 2006 referendum. Last month, Cincinnati voters outlawed red light cameras before the program even had a chance to issue a single ticket.
Redflex has tools of influence beyond government to help fight the initiative. The Arizona Republic newspaper recently re-hired Michael Ferraresi, the former associate marketing manager for the Australian firm. The Republic has been generous in its coverage of a rival ballot initiative from two unknown partners in a company that sells environmentally friendly golf balls. This alternative to the forthcoming CameraFraud measure would merely change the speed threshold for photo ticketing instead of actually banning speed cameras.