Trial balloon deflating: Second red-light-camera election losing favor

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We’re pleased to see local Democratic thinking on what to do about the red-light cameras coming around to blogHOUSTON’s perspective.

Just a few days ago, Dem consultant Marc Campos was floating the notion that perhaps a second election should be held to see if voters really want to turn off the cameras:

According to the City Attorney, the City has three options. One: we can cancel the contract with the red light camera folks but that will cost us a few mil that we don’t have right now. Two: we can turn the red light cameras on but that will just p__s off over half the voters that don’t want them. It would be an F-you move that I don’t think they should risk. The Mayor and incumbent members of Council with just token opposition this November might see that token opposition turn into serious opposition. Three: we can call for an election where the voters get to pick one of the first two options.

Commentary is thinking that option three might be the best course to take.

And here’s Dem blogger Charles Kuffner a few days ago:

Putting the question of reinstating the cameras or paying off ATS up for another vote strikes me as the least messy way forward at this point.

Banana republics are typically the sorts of regimes that schedule “do-over” elections when leaders don’t like the outcome, so this never struck us as a viable option.

And apparently after a few days of reflection, it no longer strikes blogging Dems as a particularly good idea. Here’s Campos now:

There is no easy way out on this deal. What you can’t do is to put further stress on the voter. A lot of them like Commentary are seeing their water bills go up. The roll out of the Rebuild Houston fee wasn’t pretty. They are seeing some city services reduced. Now you want to tell them that their vote didn’t count last November.

We have to do better than that so stay tuned!

That’s moving in the right direction. And Kuffner’s position has moved further:

I hate to say it, because I’d rather keep the cameras, but the best solution is likely to be a negotiated settlement with ATS.

Honoring the will of the voters is the best solution. Unfortunately, there will be some cost to do so (thanks to some too-clever pol getting rid of a reasonable opt-out provision in the contract with ATS).


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Kevin Whited
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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX