9/13/2010Washington Supreme Court: Anti-Traffic Camera Vote Will Happen
Washington state Supreme Court refuses traffic camera company request to block Mukilteo referendum.
The Washington state Supreme Court on Friday rejected the motion filed on behalf of a traffic camera company to block a public vote on the use of automated ticketing machines. In a two-sentence order, the court refused to intervene in the scheduled November 2 election in the city of Mukilteo where residents had signed a petition forcing a red light camera and speed camera ban onto the ballot. The denial of a motion for an emergency injunction came a month after the Snohomish County Superior Court also declined to stand between the voters and the ballot box (view decision).
"I think even judges are getting sick and tired of out-of-state camera companies like ATS suing to block the voters from voting," initiative co-sponsor Tim Eyman told TheNewspaper. "The courts are there to interpret the law after the election, not to stop voters from voting."
A front group funded by American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the company that had the contract to issue photo tickets in Mukilteo, had filed the lawsuit and the appeal to the high court seeking expedited review. The order signed by Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen stated that a majority of justices agreed to hear the case "in due course." Because the ballots must go to print now, the hearing on the case will not occur until after the election.
"The reason we've cleared every hurdle put before us in our attempt to let the voters decide on those obnoxious red-light cameras and speed cameras is because the people are totally on our side," Eyman said. "We have no doubt that the sleazeballs at ATS will pour big money, as they did for this front-group lawsuit, but it's not gonna do any good."
Eyman believes the supreme court agreed to hear the case because it wants to lay down a clear precedent allowing voters to have the final say to decide issues on statewide and local initiatives. Since this would be the first time any jurisdiction has voted on banning cameras in the state, Eyman thinks it could have a snowball effect, inspiring other cities to follow with the Washington chapter of the Campaign for Liberty and BanCams organizing the effort.
"What I'm most excited about is the pressure this local vote will have on Olympia -- it's now obvious that unless the legislature reins in this Big Brother, taxation-through-citation scam, the people are gonna do it for them," Eyman said.
A copy of the order is available in a 30k PDF at the source link below.