RED LIGHT CAMERAS
If you haven't
already done so, please read the Bakersfield
section on the Camera Towns page
City of Bakersfield
Some of Bakersfield's tickets can be
ignored. If your "ticket" does not have the
Superior Court's name and address on it, it is what I
call a "Snitch Ticket." For more details, see
the Snitch Ticket section at the top of the Your
Ticket page, and Set # 15, below.
In 2018, Vote No on Sheila Kuehl
Do you live in LA County? Was
Zev Yaroslavsky your County Supervisor? (He
represented the Third District, which includes the
central and western San Fernando Valley, Malibu, Santa
Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills, the City of West
Hollywood, and part of Hollywood.)
Zev "termed out," and in the Nov. 4,
2014 election Sheila Kuehl won the race to succeed
him, by a narrow margin.
Sheila "Kuehl Cams" Kuehl, in 2007
During her career in the California
Legislature, Kuehl made three attempts to pass bills to
allow the use of automated speed enforcement (photo
radar) in California.
As an LA County Supervisor, she has a seat on the MTA/Metro board and she will be a vote to continue and expand Metro's huge (101 cameras, so far) red light camera system.
In 2016 she voted to put an additional LA County-wide sales tax, to go to Metro, on the Nov. 2016 ballot - and it passed. (See Measure M on the Action/Legis page, for more about that tax.)
Kuehl will be up for re-election in Nov. 2018 and Nov. 2022.
the City's first press release about the
missing warning signs.
Sometime later they issued another press
release about the missing signs, giving details
about how the refunds would be handled.
Sets # 3 thru # 9, below, discuss
other refunds the City should have made, but did not.
Violations Recorded (some months) and
Be sure to read the footnotes!
New 9-25-04, updated 11-29-16
This table made by highwayrobbery.net, using official monthly tabulations of citations actually issued.
Official reports, July 2005 to July 2010, Six-Month Intervals
Official reports, 2011, Three-Month Intervals
Official reports, 2011 - 2012
Official reports, 2006 - 2013
Official reports, Mar. to Nov. 2013
Official reports, 2005 - 2014
Official reports, Spring 2014
Official reports, 2006 - 2015
Official reports, First Half 2015
Official reports, to Nov. 2015
Official reports, July & Dec. 2015
Official reports, First Half 2016
Official reports, to Oct. 2016
[ ] indicates a footnote.
 Monthly totals are as provided by the City. Some monthly totals are from the 2008-2013 tally in Set # 14, below.
 2006 and later annual citywide grand totals, or projections, are by highwayrobbery.net. The 2016 projection is based on the last four months of data.
 Un-used columns are to allow for later expansion of City's system.
 Except where noted otherwise, the figures given in the table are for the single calendar month indicated.
Any figures in (red) type enclosed in parentheses are what RedFlex calls Total Detections and represent all incidents flashed by the cameras; The Total Detections figures come from the official report entitled RTS Management Report (example).
Figures in red type (without parentheses) are what RedFlex calls Total Processed Incidents or Total Violations, and represent Total Detections minus Nonprosecutable incidents.
The figures in black type are citations issued.
Due to time limitations, complete figures have been posted only for selected months or cameras. If there is sufficient public interest, the remaining months or cameras will be posted.
 Intersection-by-intersection data has been requested but has not yet been received.
 The camera enforcement is on traffic on the first-named street, but the direction of enforcement (north, south, east, west, thru, left) has not yet been verified.
 Information was requested on 11-16-16.
 On Jul. 20, 2004, the yellow for through movements at Ming / South real was increased from 3.5 to 3.9. See Docs Set # 3, below.
 The count for this month is not known. However, the 2003 annual total given reflects all 12 months.
 The yellow for eastbound through movements at Ming/99/Valley Plaza may have been too short. See Docs Set # 9, below.
 The report for this month was generated less than ten days after the end of the month, so not all tickets (for violations which occurred during the month) may have been approved and counted by that time.
 In Nov. 2015 new cameras were activated at two new intersections: Coffee/Gosford and Stockdale, and Old River and Ming. See Set # 10, below.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 3
Ming / South Real - Another Refund Needed
On Oct. 15, 2004 I received the signal timing charts for Ming / South Real. There was a current one, created on July 20, 2004, showing 3.9 second yellows ("yellow change") for all four straight-through movements.
(Click here to see the complete July 20, 2004 chart.)
I also received an old chart (below) from 1994, giving the time settings that had been in effect up to July 20, 2004. (I phoned City personnel and confirmed that there were no additional charts in-between the 1994 and July 20, 2004 charts.)
(Click here to see the complete 1994 chart.)
The speed limit on Ming is 40. In a 40 zone, the required minimum yellow is 3.9 seconds. (See Defect # 2 on the Home page.) Thus, many of the tickets issued on or before July 20, 2004 could be invalid.
Many of the tickets issued at Ming / South Real are probably for westbound left turns, for which a 3.0-second yellow is arguably legally long enough (even though it has the practical effect, compared to a 4.0-second yellow, of doubling or tripling the number of cars running the left-turn). So, if in the future there is a refund due to the too-short (3.5 second) yellow, it will probably apply only to straight-through traffic, not left turns. To see more about the issue of 3.0-second yellows on left turns, see the second part of Defect # 2, on the Home page.
On Oct. 21, 2004 I talked to the Bakersfield police about the Ming / South Real short yellow. On Oct. 26 they sent me an email saying that the City had been using a 1992 edition of the CalTrans Manual, which, according to them, allowed a 3.5 second yellow in a 40 zone. They said that when they recently discovered that the manual had been updated [sometime prior to 1998 according to the records I can find - see the CalTrans section on the Links page], they acted to increase the yellows. The final paragraph of their email said:
"The citations issued between May 14, 2004 and July 20, 2004, were
issued in good faith and will not be dismissed. Defendants could use
the yellow light interval as a defense, but would have to present their
case to the court. The Police Department would use the aforementioned
information to support its position that the citations are valid."
The police said (above) that they issued the tickets "in good faith." They claimed that they didn't know the law had changed (years before) and that a longer yellow was mandatory. "Ignorance of the law" is no excuse for us civilians, and it should not be for the police and the City. The police cannot argue that they prosecuted the tickets in good faith because, when they found out that the yellow was too short (obviously they knew by July 20) they should have stopped all prosecution of the tickets they then knew to be invalid. But they didn't stop.
If you think that is prosecutorial misconduct, see Set # 8, below.
More about Ming/South Real is in Sets #'s 5 - 8 below.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 4
Court Congestion - Caused by Camera Tickets?
On the website of the Kern County Superior Court ( http://www.kern.courts.ca.gov/ ) I found the following Aug. 5, 2004 notice.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 5
One Defendant's Experience at Court
Here is one defendant's November 2004 experience in the Bakersfield court, in his own words.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 6
Newspaper Article about Short Yellow
A James Burger article in the Dec. 21, 2004 Californian (page B1) carried the headlines: "Officials Admit Yellow-Light Oversight" and "BPD says it won't cave on tickets despite city's failure to adjust signal." The text of the article said: "The City of Bakersfield has another red-light camera problem. But if drivers want their tickets dismissed this time, they're gonna have to fight for it."
The article is about the short yellow discussed in Docs Set # 3, above.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 7
Re-Opening Your Case
I wrote what follows for a defendant who just wrote to me and said that he pled guilty and paid his Ming/South Real ticket (straight- though, not a left turn) four or five months ago but now wants to get his money back.
"First step would be to get and fill out a one-page "re-open" form - a request to be allowed to re-open your case and get a new trial - then file it with the court clerks. (Full title of form: "Bail Forfeiture Set Aside Motion to Re-open Case." This process is authorized by CVC 40512.) The clerks will schedule a date for you to go before a judge to ask him to grant the request to re-open. If the judge grants the request to re-open, then you can plead not guilty and get a trial date. (That first judge you see will also have it within his power to clear the matter for you right then and there, without you having to go to trial. So ask that judge to reverse your conviction. But it will depend upon the judge.)"
"It becomes more difficult to re-open a case that has been closed for more than 6 months, so you will need to start without much delay. To figure the 6 months, you need to know that cases are closed once the fine has been paid and proof of attendance at traffic school (if required) has been received by the clerks."
"If you end up having to go to trial, at that trial you would go though an abbreviated version of the trial described in Bakersfield Documents # 5, above. Hopefully very abbreviated. With the article in this week's [Dec. 21] Californian, I think that by the time you get to court all the judges should be familiar with the problem so that you won't have to do much explaining."
"If going back to court is going to cost you money for lost work or travel to court, etc., you may want to consider an additional filing - filing a claim with the city for the costs you have incurred, and will incur, due to their mistaken prosecution. The process would be similar to what I describe on the Costa Mesa Documents page. I would recommend filing it right away because maybe the city would prefer to reverse your ticket themselves, so that you don't run up any more expenses that they will have to pay. You get the claim form from the city."
"In most courts you can get a re-open form from the clerks at the courthouse, fill it out at the window, submit it, and you've got a court date. However, I was just checking on the Kern court's website and I see that they have recently posted a copy of the full formal routine they would like people to go through. Also posted is a sample form. It's all at http://www.co.kern.ca.us/courts/Informational_Sheet_Traffic.pdf. [As of March 2005 the link ceased working.] They probably had to post it because of so many people applying to re-open their Ming/South Real camera tickets. I suspect that in reality the process is more-streamlined and less formal."
If you already have been through the re-open process, please send me details about whatever steps you went through to get your money back, so that I can post more information here. Also note: This simple process would not apply to a case where you went to trial and were found guilty.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 8
If you have a straight-through (not a left turn) ticket at Ming/South Real and the violation date is before July 20, 2004, I believe you're entitled to a dismissal, or a reversal if you have already paid it.
Whether or not you're able to take the time to go through the steps necessary to get a dismissal or reversal, I suggest that you take a little time now to file a complaint with Attorney General Lungren in Sacramento. He has an on-line complaint form at: http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/mailform.htm .
Bakersfield Docs Set # 9
Ming / 99 / Valley Plaza - Yet Another Refund Needed
On June 7, 2005 a defendant sent me a copy of this signal timing chart for Ming / 99 /Valley Plaza.
(Click here to see the complete chart. )
It showed a 3.5 second "Yellow Change" for the eastbound ("EB") movement (or "phase"), which is too short. The speed limit on Ming is 40. In a 40 zone, the required minimum yellow is 3.9 seconds for a thru movement. (See Defect # 2 on the Home page.) Thus, many eastbound tickets could be invalid.
On June 8 and 10 I phoned the City traffic engineering department to see if the chart, which bore the inscription "printed on 8/26/2004," was still current. During the conversation of the 8th, they told me it was. On the 10th I phoned Lt. Borton, who runs the camera program, and he told me that he thought the yellow had been increased to 3.9 sometime in 2004. Later that day I called traffic engineering again. This time they told me that they remembered lenthening the yellow in 2004, that it probably was done around the same time (July 20, 2004) as the yellow at Ming/Real was lengthened, but that the only notation as to the exact date would be on the documents kept in the signal cabinet at the intersection. I then filed a request for copies of those documents. On June 16 I got a call from a traffic engineering staff member who told me that the chart (above) had been mis-labeled as to phase assignments, and that the City was mailing me a corrected chart. I will post a copy of the corrected chart here, as soon as it is received.
Despite the confusion about the labeling on the chart, I think that it is still likely that the yellow was too short on tickets issued before July 20, 2004 - of which there are about 170. In the meantime, if you have a Ming/99 thru ticket, I suggest that you get a copy of the video (do a Discovery) and check the length of the yellow by playing the video frame-by-frame on your computer, using a program like Windows Movie Maker.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 10
The Contracts, Amendments, and the Price
2008 Staff Report
These statistics, obtained from the City in Jan. 2014, were an early indicator of what would happen when it came time for the city council to decide whether to continue the program, or let the contract expire.
To see how the cost neutrality works, go to Set # 14, below.
In March 2014 it looked like the police might extend the contract for just one year, but then a new staff report came out, asking the council to vote on a two-year extension.
At the June 4 meeting the council adopted the extension, without discussion.
Signed Copy of Extension to June 2016, with Internal Correspondence
In March 2014
the City of Elk Grove, California approved a new
contract which specified the following rents for their
five RedFlex cameras.
On Apr. 22, 2014, highwayrobbery.net wrote to the
Bakersfield PD business manager, and suggested that he
negotiate the rent.
The contract presented to the council on June 4, 2014 did not address the rent, so the City paid 93% too much (compared to Elk Grove prices) over the two years of the extension, $466,704 extra. To cover that extra rent, the City needed to issue an extra 4667 tickets (assuming that the City receives an average of $100 for each ticket issued).
And there was no way out. The contract did not contain an escape clause - a way for the city council to end the program, or renegotiate the price, before the two years is up.
Five-Year Extension to 2020 - Paying $1,266,000 Too Much - and Still No Way Out
On Aug. 12, 2015 the city council reviewed a two page staff report (which did not discuss safety, at all - it was just about adding more cameras, and money), discussed the matter for six minutes, and voted 6 - 1 (Maxwell: nay) to sign a five-year extension of the program, to Aug. 2020.
They agreed to pay $39,100 monthly rent for the twelve original cameras, but since those cameras were all more than ten years old at that time, they should not have agreed to pay a dime more than $18,000 per month ($1500 per camera).
Over the 60 months of the extension, the City will pay $1.266 million extra rent, and to cover that extra rent the City will need to issue an extra 12,660 tickets.
And there is no way out.
It is unclear whether the top paragraph on page two of the staff report is a "finding of fact" as required by CVC 21455.5(c)(2)(A) for the four new cameras. Neither the minutes of the meeting nor the video shows any discussion of a finding of fact.
Here is the survey RedFlex conducted to show the potential ticket production by the new cameras.
For info about how much net revenue the program makes, see Set # 14, below.
For more info about what other cities pay, see FAQ # 17.
This list of contracts and amendments was up-to-date as of July 19, 2016.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 11
Lawyer's Court Victory
From KGET-TV, Bakersfield, July 20, 2005 -
Anchor Robin Mangarin: Red light cameras can catch you red handed, but what if you weren't the one behind the wheel? Should you be compelled to snitch on your wife or kids if they get caught running a red light? KGET-17's Kiyoshi Tomono has the story of a Bakersfield man who faced that very dilemma.
Reporter Kiyoshi Tomono: A flash of light and suddenly you're caught on camera and getting a ticket for running a red light. It happened to local lawyer Bill Slocumb. Thing is, neither he nor his wife was behind the wheel.
“My stepdaughter ran the red light southbound on Coffee Road onto Truxtun Avenue,” said Slocumb.
But Slocumb’s wife got the $350 ticket.
In the same envelope was a form encouraging the couple to divulge who may have been driving if it wasn’t them.
They decided to fight in court.
Slocumb said the judge didn’t push the issue and dismissed the ticket, but the Bakersfield police still wanted to know who was driving.
“The officer who apparently runs the red light program demanded [[during a phone conversation before the court session]] to know the name of the driver, the address of the driver, whether I knew if she was a California licensed driver or not, and we simply told him that we were not interested in providing that information,” said Slocumb.
But does the officer's request or the city's form have any teeth?
Police said it’s a matter of civic duty and safety.
“If someone is driving your car and they run the red light and they [[you?]] get the notification, sure, we think that you should identify the violator,” said Det. Mary DeGeare from the Bakersfield Police Department. “It's an infraction. It's a red light violation. But there's no law that says you have to do that.”
DeGeare said not being able to identify the driver is not the norm.
“There's a process in place that helps us identify who the driver is,” she said. “We're able to compare, usually, the violator's photo to their driver's license photo.”
Reporter Tomono: Bottom line, read the fine print.
Slocumb said he thinks he’s lucky because he’s a lawyer.
“I guess it was a happy ending and we moved on with our lives,” he said.
From KGET-TV 7-20-05, with emphasis added, and clarifying notes, in [[ ]].
(For more about this issue, see the "It's Not Me!" section on the Your Ticket page.)
Bakersfield Docs Set # 12
Misleading Info on the Court's Website
As of October 2006 the court's website ( http://www.kern.courts.ca.gov/traffictickets.asp#photo ) said:
"If you receive a photo-enforced red light citation or notice of violation and you were not the driver, you must follow the instructions on the citation or notice of violation and complete the accompanying form to identify the driver who committed the violation. If you need further assistance, either go to the Bakersfield Police Department or call them at (661) 326-3882. Failure to respond to the citation or notice of violation may result in further penalties such as additional fines or driver's license holds. [Emphasis (bolding) added by highwayrobbery.net.]
I say: You are not required to tell anyone who was driving the car, so the mandatory "must" is incorrect, and should not be on a court website. See the "It's Not Me!" section on the Your Ticket page.
(It is OK for such a misleading/false statement to be on a document sent to you by the police - they are allowed to lie to you! But not the court.)
Bakersfield Docs Set # 13
"Late Time" Graphs
The City has provided bar graphs of Late Times, etcetera, for each of its cameras, on several occasions.
These graphs track violations recorded, not tickets issued.
Where there is a large number of long Late Time violations in a curb lane, it is believed to indicate heavy ticketing on right turns.
(The curb lane will be the lane with the highest lane number.)
The picture above is an example from another city.
Bar graphs are available for more than fifty other cities - see the list in the expanded version of Defect # 9.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 14
Revenue/Expense Documents Show How Cost Neutrality Works
Invoices, vouchers and spreadsheets show how cost neutrality works.
Vouchers and Spreadsheets
Running Tally, 2008 - 2012
Running Tally and Invoices, 2008 - Nov. 2013
Running Tally, to Apr. 2014
Running Tally, to Nov. 2015
Running Tally, to Apr. 2016
Bakersfield Docs Set # 15
To see an example of the City's fake/Snitch Tickets, go here.
Bakersfield Docs Set # 16
There may be some more information posted in the next few weeks. Mark your calendar to remind you to come back here and look!