5/10/2015Arlington, Texas Voters Dump Cameras And Pro-Camera Mayor
Voter referendum bans red light cameras and ousts pro-camera mayor in Arlington, Texas.
Voters in Arlington, Texas took matters in their own hands Saturday and outlawed the use of red light cameras. The ballot proposition terminating the city's photo ticketing program was adopted with 60 percent of the vote. By nearly the same margin, voters also ejected pro-camera Mayor Robert Cluck in favor of Jeff Williams, a staunch opponent of automated ticketing machines.
A total of 26,693 votes were cast on the issue in what turned out to be record turnout for a municipal election. American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the private company in charge of the photo ticketing program, had done everything in its power in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to sway the public into accepting cameras. Through a series of front groups, the firm hired outsiders at $18 an hour to give the appearance of grassroots support for photo ticketing. The firm also paid for flyers to be mailed to residents describing the recent death of a woman killed by a red light runner.
"An Arlington mother got the knock on the door that every parent dreads," the flyer said. "Her daughter was killed by a red light runner on Green Oaks. There was no safety camera."
Ballot proposition proponents were outraged, pointing out that the woman who had died actually signed the anti-camera petition. The victim's mother condemned the exploitation of her daughter's death, pointing out that had a camera been there it would not have brought her daughter back.
Texas Campaign for Liberty's Byron Schirmbeck, who led the successful referendum against cameras in Baytown, says state lawmakers need to pay attention to Saturday's result -- especially Mayor Cluck's loss.
"We have proven for the seventh time at the polls that Texas voters overwhelmingly reject photo enforcement cameras," Schirmbeck told TheNewspaper. "I hope the politicians in Austin like Representative Joe Pickett, the House Transportation Committee chair, realize trying to save the cameras is political suicide. If Pickett or the legislature fails to pass a ban this session the camera issue will continue to retire bad politicians."
To date, photo enforcement has been defeated in 32 of 35 election contests nationwide (view complete list).