Johnny Weaver of Transportation Safety Coalition is leading the petition drive in Bellingham, to let the people decide on Red Light Cameras! Yesterday Johnny sent a letter to the Bellingham city council to inform them.
The Bellingham Herald wrote an article about the details here:
BELLINGHAM – Opponents of red-light and school-zone enforcement cameras will fight City Hall’s plan to install the cameras through a voter initiative.
But Mayor Dan Pike said he expects the cameras will be installed and activated before any ballot measure. The city won’t speed up or slow down implementation, and he’s not going to presume a measure would pass or fail, he said.
Initiative backers say they’ll gather signatures from registered voters in Bellingham for an initiative that does the following:
• Repeals a city law enabling installation and use of the cameras. The City Council on Nov. 22 voted 6-1, with Seth Fleetwood opposed, to approve a law allowing the cameras for at least one year.
• Makes it so at least five council members and a majority of city voters have to approve future cameras.
• Limits fines issued through the camera program to the least expensive parking ticket in the city.
• Requires that any future law that authorizes the cameras be put to an advisory vote at a general election.
“We firmly believe that Bellingham’s citizens oppose this Big Brother, profit-making policy and oppose the process by which it was adopted,” states a letter from the initiative backers to the mayor and council.
The backers are Johnny Weaver of a group called the Transportation Safety Coalition, Nick Sherwood of the website BanCams.com, Alex Rion of the Washington Campaign for Liberty and Tim Eyman, an anti-tax activist who also opposes red-light cameras. Weaver lives in Bellingham and is a registered voter; the others are from outside Whatcom County.
They must gather at least 3,880 valid signatures from registered voters in the city. If they do, the initiative goes to the City Council for an up or down vote. If the council rejects it (or declines to vote on it) then it’s submitted to city voters at the next general election, although the council could refer it to an earlier special election.
Backers say they’re aiming for the May ballot, according to the letter. They plan to submit the draft initiative to the city’s finance director for initial review on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
The initiative is similar to one that Mukilteo voters approved in November, with more than 70 percent in favor. Eyman backed that initiative as well.
Pike said the city is hoping to activate the cameras by April. Implementation is taking longer than originally expected because he wanted to give various affected departments, including the police, municipal court, technology and public works, time to provide input and plan for the program.
When the cameras are activated, the city plans to start by issuing warnings, not tickets, he said. Having them activated before an election would work out well, because “people can see how it’s actually working when they go and vote,” he said.