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L.A. council exempts red-light camera contract from Arizona boycott

Los Angeles' red-light camera program was temporarily exempted Wednesday from the city's contracting boycott of Arizona prompted by that state's new immigration-enforcement policy.

City Council members, noting that the Los Angeles Police Department backs the photo-enforcement program as a public safety matter, voted, 13-0, to extend a multimillion-dollar agreement with Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions.

The existing contract with ATS, which operates cameras at 32 intersections, would have expired next week, shutting down a traffic program that catches tens of thousands of red-light violators a year.

There was little appetite among lawmakers for disrupting the much-debated program, which most council members appear to support. The LAPD says red-light-related accidents declined about 9% at the photo-enforced intersections.

Councilman Tom LaBonge strongly backed the LAPD, citing a report that there have been no deaths from red-light-running accidents at affected intersections since cameras were installed. Councilman Richard Alarcon warned that if the cameras were shutdown and someone was killed at one of those intersections, "the media would have a field day."

Some members questioned the cost, legal footing and effectiveness of the cameras in light of plans to issue a new contract next year that would expand the system to more locations.

The LAPD's statistics show that about half of the 32 photo-enforced intersections have either had no change in accidents or an increase, said Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

"That's not a very good record," she said. And some of the city's worst intersections for traffic safety don’t have cameras, she said.

She and Councilman Paul Koretz also pointed to a report from the city's top budget advisor that says Los Angeles' revenue from tickets falls about $300,000 short of covering payments to ATS and the LAPD's costs to run the program.

"Is there any way for us not to lose money?" Koretz asked, citing the city’s fiscal crisis.

Bidding for the new contract, which is expected to be opened next spring, could become further entangled in the boycott. Both the existing camera vendor and a top competitor are headquartered in Arizona.

The council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last month agreed to halt most travel and contracting with Arizona after the state adopted a law requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect of being in the country illegally.

City officials say the law encourages racial profiling and violations of constitutional rights, a charge denied by Arizona's governor and supporters of the law.

-- Rich Connell at Los Angeles City Hall

Comments () | Archives (71)

So much for principles! But, then again, it is to be expected from this City Council.

Make a stand or don't. Clowns.

So it's KIND OF a Boycott, but only sort of--sometimes, but not really.

Got that?

What a bunch of bafoons!!!
I say keep your money, go the whole way as far as the boycott goes. We in Arizona can live without you. Get rid of the cameras and let your citizens down because the death toll goes up.
Hipocrytes of the highest degree.

Rich Connell, article stated it passed on a vote of 13-0, and we knew it would pass because it is about money. The red light cameras are about money, and not safety. If it was about safety the tickets would not cost so much, but these clowns are losing money on the deal. The camera company makes for than the city. We will always have exemptions where money is concerned because these clowns did not do their homework as always. There are 15 council districts, and only 13 members were present for the vote. Connell, did not say who the other 2 members were that did not vote, and his article left out these facts. As always, the Times' staff leaves out information. It is just being lazy, and getting a check.

Well, I guess it wasn't really a boycott, but rather more of a "feel good" moment for a bunch of pandering political opportunists. Score another victory for Arizona.

What a bunch of Hypocrites!!! Yeah.....we'll ban Arizona until it doesn't benefit us. Way to show your true colors LA City Council. Impeach the council and start over! At the very least, somebody ask Hahn to shut up. She has already proven that her words mean nothing. Just when you think you've heard it all......

That's funny because last year, when this program was investigated, the statistics showed that accidents had actually TRIPLED at intersection where the cameras are in place. The main cause: drivers approaching a yellow light see the camera and slam on their brakes, which causes the driver behind them to rear-end them.

At the time, Councilman Dennis Zine had this to say:

“If that’s the case, we need to re-evaluate this program if in fact we are having more collisions,” Councilman Zine said.

He says he will take the issue to the City Council because the contract for the cameras is up soon. And if they conclude, as we did, that accidents are up, the red light cameras may soon be coming down.

Where was Councilman Zine when the City Council debated this program? Obviously, he did not "take the issue to the City Council" as promised.

This is nothing more than a revenue stream for both the City and the contractor and this city is NOT about to give up ANY source of revenue. How hypocritical that only last week, they refused to send four police officers to a training program in Tuscon and this week, they have exempted a multi-million dollar contract. The difference: one cost money and the other generates it.

While I am totally against the boycott, I do have this to say: either you are boycotting or you are not boycotting, but you cannot pick and choose which items to boycott. This defeats the purpose of having a boycott in the first place.

That'll show em. Whew these guys mean business! Support Arizona. Do not spend money in Mexico.

I guess profits from red-light cameras now exceed bribes given by drug cartels and Mexican government (or is it the same thing?) for the boycott.

What a bunch of city council LOSERS!!! I guess we just get to pick and choose what we want to boycott. It's not public safety, it's about city revenue. Then the LAPD should of been allowed to go, aren't they about public safety??!! Your boycott is stupid anyway!!

Oh yeah, heard this contract LOSES money for the City of LA. Wow. I thought these red-light Nazi cameras were supposed to make money. And they vote to exempt it. Unbelievable.

This just in... The word "Arizona" is to be boycotted, unless it's used in a sentence. Our city council and mayor have exactly zero credibility.

"We stand with you, los paisanos valientes de Arizona! What's that? It will cost us money? Never mind."

The city of Los Angeles has no business boycotting Arizona's law in the first place. Los Angeles isn't in Arizona, although after reading this hypocritical article, I wish I was in Arizona.

What a bunch of pandering morons. I'd love to see these imbeciles in the private sector. Good God LA wake up & let's vote these clowns out of office already!

A rivulet of words spring forth by just glancing at the headline...

Like imbeciles and nincompoops.

Had enough yet?

Hahahaha! Nice - let's just boycott some things but the stuff we want or really need we won't boycott. Time to end the boycott I guess.


I did not think it was possible for the LA City Council to look even more idiotic than they did passing the AZ boycott originally, but that seems to be the only thing these useless fools can do well

This is laughable. Sounds like we have second grade school girls calling the shots for the city council. "We don't like Arizona cuz they're meanies!"

You "lowlifes" pick and choos as it suits your needs, while encouraging "illegals" to continue invading our country! I hope you all rot in hell!

A bit spineless of the leaders. They are ready to stand on their "principles" regarding the boycott, but when it comes right down to it, they cower because they know they really should never have tried to impose such nonsense on Arizona. They have only solidified everyone that is pro Arizona, which is the majority.

These council members just don't get it. The MAJORITY of America do with over 60% supporting Arizona. Arizona law is the same as the federal law on illegal immigration which the FEDS fail to enforce. Our California immigration law is much harsher then AZ so all the whining from these council morons is ridiculous. Everyone I know here in Los Angeles including Latinos also support Arizona but no one wants to hear that side. Our politicians have been getting blasted on blogs for their stupidity at boycotting Arizona. LAst week Air Support Officers lost a crucial training conference thanks to the morons on city council

Looks as though the council is as good at boycotting as it is at running a city.

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