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The Suburbanite
  • Mercifully, traffic cameras are DOA

  • The issue: Traffic cameras in Canton

    Our view: Why would city favor questionable vendor, make violations civil offenses?

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  • The issue: Traffic cameras in Canton
    Our view: Why would city favor questionable vendor, make violations civil offenses?
    As Canton City Councilman Thomas West has progressively weakened his proposals for traffic cameras, the reasons for not supporting the idea have grown stronger.
    Fortunately, West has withdrawn plans to put traffic cameras around the city and on Canton City school buses. It was obvious he didn’t have the votes, and no wonder.
    West, a Democrat who represents Ward 2, has insisted that the city do business with Redflex Traffic Systems, which was just implicated in a $2 million bribery scandal involving a contract with the city of Chicago. Last week, when West’s colleagues raised this issue, he complained that every time critics of traffic cameras “have an issue and we address it, they bring up something else.”
    This is a big “something else,” and it can’t be satisfactorily addressed by local champions of traffic cameras.
    Even if Redflex weren’t in serious legal trouble, and even if traffic cameras had strong support on council, why on earth wouldn’t the city take bids and see what Redflex’s competitors can offer?
    West gave up the fight for the two ordinances Monday but said he hasn’t completely given up the idea of putting cameras on school buses. But in our view, his diluting his original idea of putting cameras at dangerous intersections in favor of cameras on school buses points up a second flaw in the plan even more clearly.
    It’s true that drivers who pass stopped school buses would pay a pretty penny — $120 — if they’re caught on camera. (And the city would reap a pretty penny, too.) But drivers would not be charged with criminal offenses, they would not have to go to court, and they would not lose points on their license. That is not the way the city should want to deal with people who think nothing of putting children at risk.
    City and school district officials should have a serious conversation about enforcing traffic laws in school zones. But cameras are DOA in City Council, and let’s keep it that way.