By Rick Orlov Staff Writer | Posted: 07/25/2011 06:39:41 PM PDT | Source: DailyBreeze.com
With widespread public refusal to pay the traffic fines, a Los Angeles city panel on Monday recommended phasing out the red-light cameras at 32 Los Angeles intersections.
The City Council's Budget and Finance Committee asked for a report on how the city can end the long-disputed program and how citations issued under the program should be handled.
Newly elected Councilman Mitch Englander proposed that no new tickets be written to motorists photographed running red lights, although the 65,000 outstanding citations would be processed.
Once that work is completed, the city would end its relationship with Affiliated Traffic Systems, an Arizona company that has been operating the program for a monthly fee of $8,000 per intersection.
The proposal is scheduled to go before the full City Council on Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Police Department has estimated that only 54 percent of the motorists cited under the red-light camera program actually pay the fine.
Part of the problem is that court rulings have held that payments for the tickets is voluntary, with no legal repercussions for failing to pay. Failure to pay other types of traffic citations can affect a motorist's credit rating; the DMV also can put a hold on renewing a driver's license if a motorist has outstanding tickets.
Councilman Jose Huizar said he was opposed to continuing the contract because the firm is based in Arizona. The City Council has imposed an economic boycott against Arizona-based firms because of that state's stringent laws against illegal immigration.
Councilmen Bill Rosendahl and Paul Koretz, who have long opposed the cameras, urged the city Department of Transportation to study what other cities have done to make intersections safer.