Testimony Before Texas House Urban Affairs Committee regarding HB-2639
I spent the day in Austin waiting to testify before the Urban Affairs Committee. I was shocked at the process. Legislators for the most part are inundated by attorneys for one side or the other all day long. I watched all day long and my recollection is that only one other person spoke as a citizen representing themselves. I offered testimony regarding HB 2639 (for) and HB 3558 (opposed). You might not expect the Red Light Coalition and me to be on the same side in opposing HB-3558 but we were. My reasoning was different than theirs. I oppose the bill becasue because this is exactly the kind of expansion that I feared all along. Let’s get the money, let’s send them to re-education camp for 3 hours, let’s put a camera on every corner of the city. In general every thought exposed in this web page.
Bruce D. Glasscock outlines below the basis for the his opposition to HB-3558, you will notice that the theme here is protection of the revenue stream. But at the same time they want us to believe that it is a “safety” program. This is what happens with the government contracts with a profit driven company to control the citizens.
City of Plano, TX goes to Attorney General to block Red Light Camera Information.
If it is a “safety program” why is First Assistant City Attorney John D. Gilliam of Plano, TX attempting to block public information? Bruce D. Glasscock is the man behind a 62 city Pro Red Light Coalition and I asked for information related to his work as a public official. I will post an update when I receive word from the Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott. See the letter to the Texas AG
What do 57.38% of the respondents want? REMOVE THE CAMERAS – that was the result in a non-scientific poll posed by KBTX. See for yourself by clicking to the KBTX web-page. http://www.kbtx.com/polls?pollID=41302637 the truth is getting out about this program and the light of day is creeping into city hall.
HB-2639 on it’s way…
HB-2639 – Relating to the power of a local authority to enforce compliance with speed limits or a traffic-control signal on a highway or street under its jurisdiction by an automated traffic control system was today referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee. Thank you Rep. Carl Isett.
Support of Isett’s Bill
KBTX called me to see if I would do an interview regarding my support for Lubbock, TX Representative Carl Isett’s bill filed in Austin HB-2639. I agreed to do the interview, I was disappointed to see the report did not contain the real motivation behind my support for the bill; namely, the violation of the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments. The reasons are detailed on my home page and I will not retype the text here. But, getting that bit of motivation into the 20 seconds of tape they play is proving very difficult. See the story from KBTX and read the comments. http://www.kbtx.com/news/headlines/41296362.html Take a moment and supply your comments to the story. Good or bad I don’t care; some of my best ideas are generated by reading the responses from people that want cameras on every corner in the city.
College Station Red Light Camera Billing Problems
If you have been keeping track of this issue you know by now that College Station has had issued more than 13,000 civil violations under the color of law. SB-1119 statutorily prohibits local governments for issuing civil violations if that local government pays on a per violation basis. I found a clause in the current contract that College Station has with American Traffic Solutions of Scottsdale, AZ that calls for a $3.75 payment for each violation collected. Today I gained access to the monthly billing invoices for the services provided by American Traffic Solutions and found an invoice to College Station for $2,246.75 for 599 civil violations in Sept. of 2008. This is in direct violation of SB-1119. (b) A local authority that contracts for the administration and enforcement of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system may not agree to pay the contractor a specified percentage of, or dollar amount from, each civil penalty collected.
I know the City Attorney thinks “I am in over my head” on this but I believe that a reasonable person would conclude that the City of College Station Texas is paying a dollar amount from each civil penalty collected. By the way just in case you think that $2, 246.25 is a good price to pay for red light camera operations in the City please take a look at the other invoice that American Traffic Solutions sends College Station on a month basis. Please not that the fees are marked “fixed fee” respecting SB-1119 in the main invoice and the per fee collected invoice comes under the heading of “supplemental fee” on a totally different invoice.
College Station Looking To Add More Red Light Cameras!
If you have not seen the story take a moment and look at the KBTX report. I believe that the City had plans to expand the system without regard to the results. The City knows that crashes are up 11% and they think the answer is to add more Red Light Cameras. The decision to expand the system was made once the cash flow was verified. As far back at May of 2008 Mayor Ben White was laying plans to expand the system of revenue generating Red Light Cameras.
The reason for the push is that revenue from the original red light cameras in expected to drop and the only way to maintain the current flow of cash is to expand the system. This drop in revenue was predicted by American Traffic Solutions and the City is taking the advice and expanding the system.
I know the City will tell you that this project is about safety and not money. Please take a look at the records and I believe you will see a system with only one dominant goal: Money. Take for example this document from American Traffic Solutions dated December 6, 2007. Where we get a picture of the dangers of private for profit companies becoming involved in Law Enforcement. In the letter Justin McDole, ATS Project Manager explains that “As ATS assumes all of the financial risk…the approach that is most prudent is to…”
As you read the memo please note that the subject of the memo is College Station Intersection Safety Program, then the memo goes on to explain the how they are concerned with the financial impact of the cameras they want to install.
This is the way the system works, the City makes a request for a traffic study to be done by none other than American Traffic Solutions, once the numbers are in, ATS picks the intersections that will cost justify the system, the City then has a local traffic study done to support the requested intersections, and ATS adds them to the list of Camera Traps Operated by ATS in the City. I have reviewed more than 1500 pages of evidence and by far the number one subject is Money! How much, how it will be split up, what the projected revenues the City should plan on, how can the system be expanded to protect the cash flow?
When will we as citizens of College Station grow tired of politicians using safety and security to justify actions that undermine our constitutional rights to a fair trial?
Public Information shows College Station goes to Attorney General to withhold public information from Jim Ash.
What a headline: An e-mail that I reviewed via the Texas Public Information Act indicates that the City moved to exclude documents from my request.
Click the email below and read a little further and see that at least some in the City Attorney’s office think that I am “in over my head”. The haughtiness of that comment underscores the attitude of the City when it comes to a citizen questioning the process by which the City, acting under the color of law, has extracted more than $1 million dollars for nearly 14,000 individuals. In the coming days and weeks and or even months I will expose the systematic fleecing of the citizens of College Station.
I am shocked that the City of College Station would think that something in their records is so inspiring that they would go to the Attorney General to seek permission to suppress public information. As a citizen I believe we need to ask:
· What did the City ask for permission to suppress?
· Is this the kind of government that we want?
· What is the real motivation the City has for the Red Light Camera System?
· If the project is just about safety why would they try to hide that information?
I have news for you, it is not about safety! Stay tuned as I share the results of my research work! I will then ask you to decide for yourself and vote your beliefs.
I called the City Attorney’s office and they were sorry for not calling me back. I am still waiting for the City of College Station to provide me a date and time to review of the public information that I requested on January 9, 2009. Texas law requires that a governmental agency provide public information within ten working days or a request. After 11 days the City sent me a letter requiring a deposit before they would pull the records. I paid the deposit 7 days ago and I still have no information. I believe that the City is trying to delay the release of this information for some reason.
I called the City Attorney’s office and was told that they would call around and find out what was taking so long, then call me right back. No one called back.
I received two letters today from the College Station Assistant City Attorney responding to my request for public information regarding photo enforcement equipment. The letter outlines that College Station needs $300.00 to provide the information that I have requested and a $50.00 deposit before they will pull any documents out for my inspection, all the documents I requested are covered in by the Texas Open Records Act. I have asked for email, communications and working papers related to the photo enforcement equipment.
I have good news; I went right down and handed over $50.00 cash to the city and they will now provide the requested information. (I must say everyone at the City of College Station has treated my project with the greatest professionalism, I tell you I can see it in their eyes that they don’t like the RLC but they are not in position to say it out loud.) This is the kind of leg work that the City never expects a citizen to do, and the information that I will see is there for the world to see if you ask. I will say once more this is not about running a red light, or trying to make it okay for the citizens to break the law. This is about the return of our fundamental freedoms.