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you haven't already done so, please read the San
Mateo section on the Camera Towns page
City of San Mateo Documents
In late 2015 there was a dismissal of nearly 1000
San Mateo tickets. And then in 2019 there was
another big dismissal. See Set # 4, below.
Contacting State, City and other
Bay Area Officials
State Senator Jerry
early 2018 Sen. Hill introduced SB
which, had it passed, would have reduced the
fine for a rolling right violation.
If you will be boycotting San Mateo businesses,
please send the following groups a little note.
Mayor and City Council, c/o:
Chamber of Commerce: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a ticket from the City of San Mateo, be
sure to contact me!
East Bay Voters:
who will be running for re-election to the State Senate in 2022 if his current run for Alameda County Supervisor doesn't work out.
In March 2020 please don't vote for
him for Supervisor.
As of 2019 he still is in the State Legislature in Sacramento and was the author of SB 246 of 2019 (had it passed it would have added a 10% tax to each barrel of oil).
In 2017 he was co-author of SB 1 which raised gas tax and car registration fees beginning Nov. 2017 and which was the subject of an attempted repeal, by Prop. 6 on the Nov. 2018 ballot.
Before reaching the Legislature he was a member of the Fremont City Council, and during his time on the council he approved two extensions of Fremont's contract with RedFlex: He was the maker of the 2005 motion to extend the contract to 2010, and in 2010 he made the motion to extend the contract to June 2017.
City Docs Set # 1
Violations Recorded, Notices Printed 
This table made by highwayrobbery.net, using official documents obtained under the California Public Records Act. May 2016 the city council approved a new contract adding enforcement to the two right turn lanes from eastbound Hillsdale onto Norfolk. See Set # 3, below.
Official reports, Jan. 2005 to Jul. 2010 (67 months) & Sep. 2010 
Official reports, monthly, six-month intervals, Jan. 2005 to Jul. 2010
Official reports, 2010 & 2011 quarters, 2012 monthly
Official reports, July to Sept. 2012
Official reports, Sept. 2012 - Apr. 2013, and Overall Total to Nov. 2012 
Official reports, May 2013 to July 2014
Official reports, Sept. 2006 to Sept. 2014
Official reports, 2007 to Dec. 2014
Official reports, 2007 to Apr. 2015
Official report, 2014 Annual
Official reports, May to Nov. 2015
Official reports, Dec. 2015 to Mar. 2016
Official reports, Apr. to Nov. 2016
Official reports, Dec. 2016, 2016 Annual, & Jan. 2017
Official reports, Jan. to July 2017
Official reports, Aug. 2017 - Apr. 2018
Official reports, May to Dec. 2018
[ ] indicates a footnote.
 This annual total was provided by the City.
 This annual total, annual projection, or average, is by highwayrobbery.net. The projection for 2018 is based upon Jan. - Apr. 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 (or, if you are looking at this table in black and white, the upper figure when there are two or more figures in a cell) are what RedFlex calls Total Violations, or all incidents recorded by the cameras. The figures in black type are what RedFlex calls Notices Printed, and represent the sum of genuine citations issued (those filed with the court) plus any Nominations mailed (not filed with the court, a.k.a. Snitch Tickets). Due to time limitations data may have been posted to the table only for selected months or locations. If there is sufficient public interest, the remaining months or locations will be posted. Full official data has been received and is available at one of the links given above.
 Data was requested on: 4-28-15.
 The camera enforcement is believed to be on traffic on the first-named street, but the direction of enforcement (north, south, east, west, thru, left, right) is not yet available.
 Entire year 2005 including November and December.
 Report (linked above) covers Jan. 2005 to Jul. 2010.
 In Aug. 2012 I received a Nov. 2011 memo which listed the length of the yellows. Those lengths have been entered at the bottom of the table, above. In June 2015 I received a Jan. 2015 memo which showed that the yellow for EB Hillsdale/Saratoga had been shortened. The shorter time has been entered above, in ( ).
 The report for this month was generated close to the end of the month so the figures may be low. Or, the reporting
period may have been entered incorrectly.
 For purposes of averaging, the 2005 - 2012 report (linked above) has been treated as covering 90 months.
 Almost 1000 tickets from these months were dismissed, in late 2015. See Set # 4, below.
 From the annual reports required, beginning with 2013, by CVC 21455.5(i). They become available by the Fall of the following year.
 The report for this month was generated less than ten days after the end of the month, leaving a number of the Violations Recorded still "in progress." The Notices Printed figure shown for this month in the table above is our estimate of the number of notices eventually printed.
 Although the City of San Mateo camera program closed in 2019, highwayrobbery.net will continue to ask the court for revenue figures and will post them in the table above. (The loss of $65K in Aug. 2019 was due to the refunds the City made at the time it closed its program. To see more of the Court's official tables of how much fine money the Court has sent to the City, go to Docs Set # 5 below.
City Docs Set # 2
Mickey Mouse Tickets - Mostly Right Turns
An official report showed that in 2016, 65% of the City's tickets were for right turns.
City Docs Set # 3
The Contract: Paying RedFlex Way Too Much (Closed in 2019)
Cost Neutrality: San Mateo Ignored Warning by Police Association
The City of San Mateo signed its first contract with RedFlex in May 2004. The contract included a "cost neutrality" clause whereby the city would not have to pay RedFlex the full rent if fine revenue was insufficient to cover the cost.
The City included "cost neutrality" in that contract despite have been warned not to do so: In Nov. 2003, the California Peace Officer's Association sent the City a letter pointing out the constraints imposed by CVC 21455.5(g) (as of 2013, VC 21455.5(h)(1)). (The letter from the CPOA was included in the council packet for the required public hearing, held on November 17, 2003. A typo in the last paragraph of the letter revealed that a similar letter may have been sent to the City of Whittier - and other cities.)
Following San Mateo's lead, many other cities adopted similar clauses. See Defect # 10 - B, on the Home page.
The following invoice, for the month of Aug. 2005, shows what may be a cost neutrality adjustment, a "Performance credit" in the amount of $2412.00. The timing of it would be consistent with the 12-month review provided in the contract.
In Sept. 2009 a defendant won his appeal on the cost neutrality issue. P. v. Bullock.
In Dec. 2009 another defendant won his appeal on a San Mateo ticket. P. v. Schmidt.
In Mar. 2010, another! P. v. Paul B.
2009: Sudden Contract Renewal Removes Cost Neutrality
On Nov. 16, 2009 the city council voted 5-0 to renew the contract with RedFlex for another six years (staff report & contract) despite the fact that the original (2004) contract was not due to expire until May 2010. It is likely that the renewal date was moved up because the then-recent P. v. Bullock appeal decision found the original contract's cost neutral clause to be illegal, and the City wished to remove the clause without delay.
The $17.9 million no-bid contract gave away a lot of money.
One example: Under its terms (Exhibit D at the back of the contract document) the City agreed to pay $6200 per month for up to 20 newly installed cameras, for up to 10 years. Had San Mateo negotiated the same rate as neighboring Burlingame ($5870), the City could have saved $792,000 over ten years, on the new cameras.
Another example: The City agreed to pay $4980 per month for the five existing cameras, for six more years.
At that price the City still will pay $712,800 too much over the six years (when compared with a $3000 target price). See FAQ # 17.
The contract contains an escape clause (Section 6.1) which allows the City to cancel the contract with ten days' notice and no penalty (once the cameras are more than 60 months old).
Concessions = Cost Neutral?
In 2014, a number of the invoices from RedFlex to the City showed 20% discounts entitled "Allowance for other concession." When asked, the City said that there was nothing in writing about how those concessions came to be.
Later, invoices from early 2015 showed that the discount was continuing, each month. But even with the discounts, the City was paying way too much. Consider this price schedule, from another city.
Table from Exh. D to the April 2014 contract between RedFlex and Elk Grove, California
2016: Contract Amendment, Extended to 2018
In Nov. 2015 the SMPD submitted a one-page report recommending a two-year extension of the program at a reduced rent of $3985 per camera. In response, the city council asked for more information to be brought back to them in 90 days.
In Feb. 2016 the SMPD asked for another 90 days.
On May 2, 2016 the SMPD asked for another 30 days.
The item came back to the council on May 16, 2016 and they approved it, 5 - 0. The contract amendment included adding enforcement to the two right turn lanes from eastbound Hillsdale onto Norfolk.
San Mateo's cameras were
nine to ten years old by 2016, so the target
rent, per the Elk Grove schedule (above)
been $2000, or less. Over the two
years of the 2016 - 2018 extension the City
will pay $238,200 extra. To cover that
extra rent the City will need to issue 2382
extra tickets (the City gets about $100 from
each ticket issued).
On May 7, 2018 the
council voted 5 - 0 to extend the contract
for another two years, to June 20, 2020,
with an option for two more years to
2022. There was no discussion, at
all. They did not obtain a lower
On July 15, 2019 the city
council voted to have staff send RedFlex a
notice terminating the program, effective
within ten days, as permitted by the escape
clause in Section 6.1 of the contract, and
to refund many recent tickets.
City Docs Set # 4
Yellows Too Short? - BIG Dismissal in Late 2015, Another in 2019
On Oct. 6, 2005 I asked the City of San Mateo for copies of its signal timing charts, both current and former. On Nov. 25 they provided charts dated May 25 for the signal at Hillsdale and Saratoga, and dated Sept. 14 for Hillsdale and Norfolk. I wrote them back, again asking for the charts that were effective prior to those dates. On Dec.7 the deputy city attorney wrote back that "the signal timing charts previously provided were as far back as available." If that truly is the case, the City will have a hard time proving that its yellows were long enough.
Enforcement at Hillsdale and Saratoga started on May 19, so tickets between that date and May 25 could be challenged.
Enforcement at Hillsdale and Norfolk started about July 28, so tickets between that date and Sept. 14 could be challenged.
On Aug. 30, 2012 I received a Nov. 2011 memo which listed the length of the yellows. Those lengths have been entered at the bottom of the table in Set # 1, above.
Needed Dismissal in 2009?
The 2019 TechDirt article linked in Set # 3, above, says that in 2009 the Palo Alto Daily Post discovered and thoroughly documented a too-short yellow, then brought it to the attention of the City - which claimed the Post was wrong but never did any testing of its own.
BIG Dismissal in Late 2015
The City of San Mateo failed to lengthen its yellows prior to the Aug. 1, 2015 deadline to do so, and in Nov. 2015 announced they would be refunding or canceling nearly 1000 tickets issued Aug. 1 or later.
TV Article Archived Copy Newspaper Article Archived Copy
Big Dismissal in 2019
The July 2019 staff report and the 2019 TechDirt article, both linked in Set # 3 above, have details about a 2019 dismissal of 985 tickets.
Docs Set # 5: Countywide
In Jan. 2015 a defendant wrote about handling a San
Mateo County ticket via correspondence:
If you are going to fight your ticket, you do not want
to do it before Comm. Kathleen M. McKenna in the San
Mateo courthouse. I strongly recommend doing a
Peremptory Challenge to remove her from your case.
See the Challenges
page of this website. I also recommend doing a
Peremptory Challenge of her if you are doing a Trial by
In one of two Nov. 13, 2009 red
camera articles by Joshua Melvin, the San Mateo
County Times reported that the county court's CEO John
Fitton had asked,
Then, in a Feb. 16, 2010 KGO-TV segment
by Vic Lee, Mr. Fitton stated:
"Based on the data provided by the
cities, there was no overall trend indicating a
noticeable change in accident rates before and
after installation of red light cameras."
"Recently, the City of San Carlos extended
the yellow light time to comply with state
standards and found that the number
of citations fell dramatically." "As a
result the revenue from red light citations could
no longer cover the associated costs."
In June 2010 the San Mateo County Grand Jury released
a report containing the quote above. The
grand jury rules allow the cities to make formal
comments about the report, but do not allow the public
to do so.
Court-provided reports show that red light camera
ticket revenue flowing from the San Mateo County Court
to the cities increased 39% in one year. (Some of
the figures have been entered in the rightmost column of
the large table in Set # 1, above.)
State Senator Jerry
2017 Sen. Hill introduced SB
it passed, would have
reduced the fine for a rolling right
City Docs Set # 6
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.
2006 - 2010 (49 months) Bar Graphs ( 7 MB file )
June and Nov. 2015 (tabular)
Bar graphs are available for more than fifty other cities - see the list in the expanded version of Defect # 9.
City Docs Set # 7
Info on City Site
The San Mateo Police Department has a little bit of info about its program, on this webpage.
City Docs Set # 8
City Docs Set # 9
Business Rules, Guidelines, Etc.
Guidelines for Screening, as of May 16, 2016
City Docs Set # 10
There may be some more information posted in the next few weeks. Mark your calendar to remind you to come back here and look!
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