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Police Commission Rejects City's Plan to Keep Red Light Camera Program Running

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The Los Angeles Police Commission has had it with the City of Los Angeles' current red light camera program, and today they said "no" to proposal to keep them up and running. At this point, the only way the city can keep them running is if "the City Council opts to strip the commission of its authority on the issue," explains L.A. Now.

In April, the Police Commission gave the okay to a temporary extension of the contract with the company that provides the controversial cameras--a Arizona-based company that almost lost their contract with Los Angeles in 2010 when we were so busy "boycotting" businesses from our neighbor-state because of their headline-grabbing new illegal immigration law. That company, American Traffic Solutions, has been operating L.A's more than 30 cameras for years now.

The Police Commission has long heard arguments for and against the cameras, and recently there has been concern over whether they actually reduce safety, and whether they generate the kind of revenue they are expected to.

A negative report called "Safer Streets in Los Angeles" prepared and issued in April by Safer Streets L.A., an advocacy group says that the best course of action is to dump the cameras in favor of other methods that could help improve intersection safety. However, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, and the camera vendor disagree with that report's findings.

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Furthermore, the cameras have led to tickets being issued that simply go unpaid, and because "local courts do not pursue people who refuse to pay the tickets, which typically run more than $400," Commissioner Alan Skobin says the red light cameras were basically a "voluntary citation program." (And you know how we all volunteer constantly to pay traffic tickets, right?)

The unanimous vote today solidified the Commission's skepticism about the effectiveness of the cameras.

The City Council has 10 days to act, otherwise, the plug will finally be pulled on the current red light camera program.ill be shut down.