All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bellingham ends photo ticketing plans

Legitimate government draws power only from the ongoing consent of the governed. For this to happened, those people in government have to be listening in intimate contact with the people they govern.

Red light cameras disturb me because they put an automatic, mechanical element between the people and law enforcement. The cameras appeal to government because they are cheap, easy to operate, and efficient law-enforcement. But they isolate government from those they govern.

The Bellingham city council made the right decision.

From The Newspaper.com, March 27, 2012

The city council in Bellingham voted 6-1 Monday night to respect the wishes of voters and pull out of a red light camera and speed camera contract. The city entered an agreement with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) in May 2011 to install the devices, ignoring local activists who had been collecting signatures for a ballot measure opposing camera use.

After a long and drawn out legal battle, the camera ban was placed on the ballot as an advisory measure in November and earned 68 percent of the vote. The same election replaced then-Mayor Dan Pike, the man responsible for the camera contract, with Mayor Kelli Linville who said during the campaign that the cameras were a mistake.

"I think that the mayor and the city council need to pay a lot of attention about what the public thinks about this," Linville said during an October 21 debate. "I personally don't think that it's a good way to generate revenue. The studies show it's not necessarily a good way to make them safer."

Linville and the council approved a settlement that gives ATS $100,000 to break the contract.

From the Bellingham Herald.com March 27, 2012

The money paid to ATS will come from the general fund reserves, but staffing changes she instituted in the mayor's office will save more than that amount each year, Linville said. The dollar amount was a product of negotiations, she said, with the city starting with a lower number and ATS starting with a higher number.

Bellingham would have paid ATS more than $450,000 per year for the cameras. Linville said ATS was willing to approve the new deal because several communities in Washington state have had problems installing and keeping the cameras, and the company knew she didn't support the program. ... "I believe the approach we have crafted together is fair to both parties and, most importantly, supports our citizens' wishes," Linville said in the release. "In working through this matter, American Traffic Solutions has acted as a responsive, respectful vendor and I appreciate the company's willingness to work with us."

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“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
-- Joseph Stalin