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Red-light cameras may be banned in two Orange County cities

July 27, 2011 |  2:46 pm

Red light
Red-light camera bans aren't just making news in Los Angeles. At least two cities in Orange County are considering preemptive bans that would block the use of the cameras.

The Orange City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday night banning the use of red-light enforcement cameras. A second and final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for the Aug. 9 meeting.

Orange does not have red-light cameras in place, but the preemptive ban would prohibit any installation and use of the cameras.

Officials cited concerns that the cameras were simply a means to generate money and did little to increase safety, complaints that are common among those opposed to the cameras.

"The companies that operate the cameras say they help save lives," Orange Councilman Denis Bilodeau, who introduced the proposal, said at an October council meeting. "The real reason is to produce revenue for the city."

Bilodeau told the Orange County Register that despite the presumed enactment of the ban, he's considering asking the council to put the issue on the 2012 ballot. This, he said, would prevent future councils from overturning the ban.

The Westminster City Council voted last week to put a red-light camera issue on its November ballot, allowing voters to decide whether or not they want to enact a similar ban. Westminster does not currently have the cameras either.

The long-standing controversy surrounding the cameras rocketed into the spotlight again this week, after Los Angeles officials revealed that the city's red-light program was ineffective and difficult to enforce –- so difficult, in fact, that officials admitted recipients wouldn't have to pay the fines. The city council unanimously decided Wednesday to terminate the program at the end of the month.


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-- Kate Mather

Photo: Robert Zirgulis protests red-light cameras at Overland Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City in February. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times