RED LIGHT CAMERAS
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City Documents - Set # 7
And More Cameras in Early 2017
(The Final Vote on Expansion Was on Dec. 12, 2016)
The $3211 price
is even more excessive when compared to the City of
Elk Grove, California, which in March 2014 approved a
new contract which specified the following rents for
its five RedFlex cameras.
Because Culver City did not negotiate for the Elk Grove
schedule of rents, the City will pay 81% too much over
the three years, $928,728 extra. To cover that
extra rent, the Culver City will need to issue an extra
9987 tickets (in 2013 the City's fine revenue
averaged $93 for each ticket it issued).
The staff report prepared for the May 12, 2014
meeting did not include a copy of the proposed new
contract, and it was not made available to the public
until it was signed on Aug. 29.
2014 contract called for expanded enforcement
on left and right turns (see Exhibit "A" to the
contract); the expanded enforcement began in early
2015, after the necessary equipment was installed.
Source: 2011 - 2015 SWITRS Official Accident Details
During a May 16, 2016 hearing about the proposed
City budget for 2016 - 2017, the police department
told the city council that they would like to install
eight cameras at Washington/Sepulveda and
Washington/National, three of which will be "used"
cameras relocated from Washington/Sawtelle and
Washington/Helms and five of which will be brand
new. The expansion was formally approved when
the council approved the final budget, which was
scheduled for the council meeting of June 27 but then
was moved up to June 13.
Are the New Camera Locations Justified?
The stats for the Washington/National intersection
(below) do show four red light running ("stop/sig")
accidents plus two others attributed to Right-of-Way
("ROW") violations, but five of the six were January
2012 or before. Does one red light running
accident in (the remaining) 47 months of the five-year
period - at a very busy intersection - justify the
installation of four cameras which will issue millions
of Dollars of tickets each year?
Internal emails received in late Sept. 2016 show that - despite the absence of justification - as late as Aug. 9 the police and RedFlex were negotiating contract language for the expansion. It's probably a coincidence that the last of those contract negotiation emails was shortly after the Times articles about the City's embarrassing issuance of a ticket to a local character actor, apparently because he resembled the driver of a vehicle registered in Missouri. See Set # 16 on the main Culver City Docs page for links to the articles about that incident.
On Dec. 12, 2016 the council took public testimony and voted 5 - 0 to approve the new cameras. The new staff report included three intersections in the expansion - Washington/Overland was added. Here is the City's table showing the results of RedFlex' 12-hour survey of potential tickets at the proposed new intersections.
The police recommended two cameras at each of the
three intersections, monitoring just the NB and SB
Page 3 of the staff report said that there were
eight collisions in 2014, and compared that to the
rates in 2015 and 2016. But the staff report did
2014 annual report filed with the Judicial Council (as required by CVC 21455.5(i))
The Dec. 2016 Contract Amendment (Including Extension to 2018)
A draft of the contract amendment was not included among the materials provided to the public for the Dec. 12 meeting.
The City sent highwayrobbery.net an unsigned copy on Dec. 21.
The amendment extended the term of the contract to Aug. 2018.
Previous (Expired) Contracts
[They agreed to pay way too
much. See FAQ # 17.]
ABOUT THE AMENDMENT*
SIGNED IN DEC. 2009:
amendment removed the paragraph of Exhibit "B" which
began "Both parties...."
effective date of the amendment is unclear.
Section 3 of the amendment says that it shall be
effective on Dec. 1, but the document was not signed
until sometime later - RedFlex signed it on Dec. 10,
and the City signed it on the 15th.
The 1999 and 2002 Contracts
On Oct. 2, 2003 I received from the city clerk a certified copy of a 2002 contract between Culver City and its red light camera vendor Traffic Safety Systems, a subsidiary of Redflex. The contract was effective as of Mar. 28, 2002. Here are some excerpts.
From page 1:
"WHEREAS, the... system... has successfully decreased accidents by 46% at the Culver City intersections equipped with the Systems;"
From page 2:
"At intersections where the Systems are installed, Traffic Safety shall insure that yellow change intervals are maintained in accordance with accepted traffic engineering and safety standards as set forth by the California Department of Transportation Traffic Manual..." (Emphasis added.)
"Traffic Safety shall... operate the existing seven (7) Systems, consisting of fifteen (15) approaches, at the traffic intersections chosen and approved by the Police Chief, (specifically, at the intersections of Washington and La Cienega; Green Valley Circle and Sepulveda; Machado and Jefferson >(sic); Washington and Beethoven; Duquesne and Jefferson; Slauson and Buckingham; and Cota and Jefferson), and shall securely install... at least ten (10) additional Systems at not less than four (4) traffic intersections to be selected by the Police Chief." [Editor's note - daffynitions of terms: While the contract doesn't define the term, an "approach" is believed to consist of enforcement against traffic moving just one way on just one of the intersecting streets at an intersection. Thus, a typical intersection could have up to four approaches, although most in Culver City just have two. The meaning of the term "Systems" is unclear - sometimes it has been used to mean the same as "intersection" while at other points in the contract it seems to be used as a synonym for "approach."]
"The agreement shall continue... five (5) years after the effective date...."
"All Systems... shall remain at all times the exclusive property of Traffic Safety."
From page 4:
" ...Traffic Safety shall receive... for each fine... successfully collected... $40.00...."
"In addition to the Per-Citation Payment, City shall pay a monthly fee of $2347.10 for each functioning approach...." [Editor's note: Also see "Missing from the contract," below.]
From page 5:
"Appeals. In the event the System... or the citations themselves... are... contested in the appellate division of any court.... Traffic Safety shall pay 50% of any and all reasonable costs..."
From page 8:
"Product Ownership. The documentation, reports, and work materials prepared by Traffic Safety for the City... including... all data... shall be and shall remain the property of City."
From page 12:
"...Traffic Safety will provide.... The technology... to include the cameras, radar, flash and computers...."
From page 13:
"...Traffic Safety will provide.... Statistical recap and recapture ratios on a weekly basis."
Missing from the contract:
While the city has obligated itself to pay Traffic Safety $56,330.40 annually, or $281,652.00 over the 5-year contract term (see page 4, above), for a typical (two-approach) intersection, the contract doesn't specify a procedure whereby the city can request the removal of a camera that is a poor producer of tickets. (In 2002, the City kept $80.00 per conviction, so needed two convictions per day per typical intersection in order to break even. By 2004 the City's share had risen to approximately $111 - see FAQ #16 - so it needed 1.4 convictions per day.)