Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg: Red light cameras survive council members' efforts to remove them

ST. PETERSBURG — It seems red-light cameras are here to stay.

After a spirited debate Thursday, the City Council voted 5-3 to keep the 22 cameras hanging in St. Petersburg intersections to catch red-light runners.

Council members Wengay Newton, Leslie Curran and Steve Kornell voted to end the program with the Arizona-based camera vendor.

The debate came after Mayor Bill Foster explained the changes he made to the camera program last week in response to criticism about the state's red-light camera law.

Newton then made a motion to kill the city's contract with ATS, the council's only option. The group doesn't have the power to administer any part of the program.

"I think it's time for the council to invoke the only power we have," he said.

Curran supported his motion and lambasted the program as a money machine for the camera vendor, American Traffic Solutions.

If the program was about safety, the city should hire the firm for code enforcements and filming drivers near school buses, Curran said.

"This company is not in the business of promoting safety," she said. "They're concerned for the number of dollars they put in their wallets."

Other council members disagreed.

Jeff Danner offered a simple solution to critics: "Don't run red lights and you'll never have to deal with these problems."

Bill Dudley said he is tired of talking about the camera program. The retired teacher and former driving instructor said he thinks they make streets safer and many residents support the cameras.

"I'm tired of beating the same drum," he said.

Foster last week exempted drivers of rental and borrowed cars from the law because they don't have time to pay the $158 fine before it jumps to $264. Foster's action came after Pinellas Clerk of Circuit Court Ken Burke asked six Pinellas cities to stop issuing tickets until state legislators fix flaws in the camera program.

Council member Charlie Gerdes applauded Foster for issuing the moratorium but asked him to halt all tickets until state legislators can fix all flaws.

That idea died.

This was Newton's second attempt to kill the program. He made a similar motion late last year, but none of his colleagues supported him.

After the vote Thursday, Curran said the program keeps coming up for a reason: "If there wasn't a problem, it wouldn't be brought up to council."

St. Petersburg: Red light cameras survive council members' efforts to remove them 03/07/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.