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Red Light camera issues in Washington continue

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July 12, 2011

BELLINGHAM, Washington: A red light camera measure was approved for the November 8 ballot in the city of Bellingham. Petitioners successfully submitted the needed 3,880 signatures to get the measure on to the ballot and the city council voted 7-1 to approve it for the November ballot. This marks a significant change from other Washington cities which have been faced with red light camera petitions, the Mayor of the city did not want lawsuits filed against the citizens by the traffic camera company and urged the company not to pursue such action. The Mayor noted that he thought residents would vote against the camera ban and preferred the measure was voted on without the problem of lawsuits to upset other residents. This measure will be binding and will remove red light cameras set up at intersections in the city as well as remove speed cameras in school zones, if approved. The measure would also make it so that if the city sought to implement red light cameras again there would need to be a city wide vote before they would be allowed.

This contrasts to the ongoing battle in Longview will opponents are still trying to make the vote against red light cameras a binding vote. At first they did not have the needed signatures to get the measure on the ballot but with the ten additional days given they secured all the required signatures. The judge presiding over the case gave the opinion that likely the city will win and the issue will be removed from the ballot, but this was not an official or final decision by the court. Opponents to the cameras had tried to file a suit against the city, stating that their suit was frivolous and a detriment to the petition process, but the judge threw it out. The final decision is still pending.

A Red light camera petition measure is still pending in the city of Monroe. In Wenatchee, a submitted petition against the cameras was thrown out by a judge stating that the cameras were not up for initiative petitions.

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