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Another California City Joins Red Light Camera Revolt
Laguna Niguel city council to vote on becoming the fourth Orange County, California jurisdiction to ban red light cameras.

Robert Ming, Linda Linholm
A fourth city in Orange County, California is poised to outlaw the use of red light cameras. Earlier this month the Laguna Niguel city council voted 4-1 on first reading of a measure that would prohibit the use of automated ticketing machines in the future -- the city has never allowed camera vendors to operate on its streets.

Linda Lindholm and Robert Ming introduced the measure citing the "mixed reviews" the cameras have received with studies showing red light cameras increase accidents (view studies).

"From time to time, the Laguna Niguel city council has considered the pros and cons of automated red light enforcement systems and has declined to support their installation in the city," City Manager Tim Casey wrote in an August 16 memo to the council. "The proposed ordinance would be consistent with the past policy decisions of the city council."

The ordinance is modeled on the one crafted last month in the city of Orange by a councilman who also is a licensed traffic engineer. Last year in Anaheim, 73 percent of voters approved a referendum prohibiting automated ticketing machines. Westminster has scheduled a similar referendum vote for November 2012.

"The city of Laguna Niguel does ordain as follows," the proposed ordinance states. "Red light automated traffic enforcement systems primary accomplishment has been to increase revenues, not traffic safety. The city council finds that the installation of red light automated traffic enforcement systems do not serve a significant public purpose and specifically not the stated public purpose... Automated traffic enforcement systems as that term is used in California Vehicle Code Section 25145.5 shall not be installed on any city street or highway that is within the jurisdiction of the city."

An ordinance passed by one city council cannot bind the actions of a future council, but it creates a barrier requiring several public hearings and repeal votes before cameras could be installed. The final vote on the ordinance will come at a September 20 meeting of the city council.

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