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Anaheim wants ban on red-light cameras in the city

April 14, 2010 | 10:30 am

At a time when some cities have found red-light cameras to be a source of revenue, one city is vowing never to allow the cameras. Ever.

The Anaheim City Council on Tuesday night expressed support for an city charter amendment that would ban the systems that photograph and ticket motorists for allegedly running red lights from being installed in the city.

Under the proposal, the ban on red-light cameras would require the approval of Anaheim voters, which could come as early as November.

Red-light camera programs are highly controversial. Backers argue they improve safety and allow authorities to punish those who run red lights. Critics say the cameras can be inaccurate and worry cities are installing them to generate more revenue.

In Los Angeles, a recent report found the city's photo enforcement program, which catches tens of thousands of violators annually, appears to be generating about $3.8 million a year in traffic-ticket revenue. That is millions less than some previous police department estimates and roughly what the program costs, mostly for fees paid to a private contractor that supplies and operates the camera systems.

Anaheim officials said they have no plans to follow other neighboring cities such as Santa Ana, which has red-light cameras.

"It's very discouraging when government thinks its sole purpose is ... to use public safety as a revenue-raising tool," Mayor Curt Pringle told the Orange County Register.

-- Shelby Grad