City official reacts to red light camera lawsuit

November 28, 2010 8:03:44 PM PST
A legal fight over the red light cameras is expected to take another step this week. We told you on Saturday there are questions over the validity of the election where voters decided they wanted the cameras turned off.

A federal judge has stepped in and issued an injunction, barring red light cameras around Houston from being removed. For right now, they will remain in place but shut off. However, depending on the outcome of this legal fight, they could be turned on again.

You may remember several weeks ago, Houston citizens petition to get the cameras on the ballot, then at the beginning of the month voted them out.

Since then, the city filed a lawsuit against American Traffic Solution, the Phoenix-based company that installed the cameras and that lead to a countersuit by ATS. In its lawsuit, the camera company says the election was invalid, claiming the city of Houston broke the law by allowing Proposition 3 on the ballot in the first place.

Now a federal judge has ordered that the cameras stay in place while it's decided whether the referendum was, in fact, legal.

Longtime red light camera opponent Randall Kallinen believes the voices voters are being ignored.

"I cannot see a federal judge saying that the will of the people in this election was thwarted by a Kansas corporation headquartered in Arizona," Kallinen said. "There is not one single voter in Houston that's in this lawsuit."

But KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy says there is a way to make sure the citizens voice is heard loud and clear.

"The citizens have a right to get together, hire an attorney and file a legal brief with the court supporting the decision of the referendum," he said.

We reached out to the city for comment, and City Attorney David Feldman had this to say:

"It's something that we will have to specifically address with the court in the form of legal argument, as instructed by the Court. As such, it would be inappropriate to try to do so now."

According to Androphy, the judge could make a decision within the next 30 days, but with appeals, it could take months or even a year before we learn if the cameras will be switched on again.


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