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This Page is Culver City Documents - Set # 7

Updated 1-18-20:
The Contracts, the Price, and the
E   x   p   a   n   s   i   o   n   s

Hidden in the New 2014 Contract was Expanded Enforcement on Left and Right Turns 
And More Cameras in Early 2017
(The Final Vote on Expansion Was on Dec. 12, 2016)

At their meeting of May 12, 2014 the city council voted 5 - 0 to approve a
staff recommendation to extend the program for another three years, to 2017, and to continue with RedFlex as the vendor.
They got a price reduction, to $3211, but that is still too high when compared to the City of Ventura whose camera system is nearly identical - in age and number of cameras - to Culver City's and which pays $2190 for its cameras - see FAQ # 17.

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.

From Exh. D of the Elk Grove Contract

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).

Enforcement Expanding

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.
(The City had extended the old contract to Aug. 28 as the new contract had not yet been finalized.  As a result (per mid-year invoices) the City continued to pay the higher rent set by the former contract. 
The 3-1/2 month extension cost the City $75,152 in extra rent.)

The new 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.
One of the intersections where enforcement was expanded is Sepulveda/Green Valley where, beginning in March 2016, ticketing became ten times as high as it was in 2015 (see Set # 13 of Culver City Docs, for the official figures).
There doesn't seem to be any justification for the intense enforcement, as the five-year accident history for that intersection (below) shows thirteen accidents but not one where the Primary Collision Factor was found to be red light running ("stop/sig").

2011 - 2015 collisions at
                  Sepulveda Green Valley in Culver City
 Source:  2011 - 2015 SWITRS Official Accident Details

Dec. 12, 2016:  Council Voted to Expand Enforcement Even More - and Extend Contract to 2018

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.
(The May 16 presentation begins at 00:19:00 on the video available online from the City's site, and ends at 00:26:20.)

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?

2011 - 2015 collisions at
                    Washington / National in Culver City
Source:  2011 - 2015 SWITRS Official Accident Details  

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.

Dec. 12, 2016 was Final Vote on New Cameras

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.  

Received 12-9-16

The police recommended two cameras at each of the three intersections, monitoring just the NB and SB
traffic.  Doing the math, 68% of the NB and SB violations in the survey are right turns.  Based upon the
1000 (avg.) right turn tickets the City's Sepulveda/Green Valley camera has generated
since Dec.2015 when the City turned on right turn enforcement there, it is reasonable to expect that the City will not
hesitate to issue similar quantities of right turn tickets at each of the proposed new intersections.
The staff report said that the six cameras will be active by the "first part" of 2017.

City's Own Accident Report Does Not Support Expansion

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
not discuss years prior to 2014, which was curious considering that the City has had cameras for seventeen years.  The following table, from the annual report the City is required to file with the Judicial Council, is a possible reason why.

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 an unsigned copy on Dec. 21. 
Signed Copy
The amendment extended the term of the contract to Aug. 2018.

To 2022

In May 2019 the council approved a contract extending the program to 2022.
Signed Copy


Previous (Expired) Contracts

Until Dec. 2009 the City's contract with RedFlex included a cost-neutral clause, whereby the City and RedFlex would have been forced into open-ended negotiations if the City's fine revenue was not enough to cover the monthly rent.    Also see Subsection B. of Defect # 10.

The 2007 Contract (Expired Mar. 2014), and 2009 Amendment





 Commencing on the date of execution of this agreement, Customer shall be obligated to pay Redflex a fixed fee of $4,150 per month for each Designated Intersection Approach ("Fixed Fee") as full remuneration for performing all of the services contemplated in this agreement.

 All newly constructed red light camera systems beyond the existing twenty systems be [sic] charged at $6,030 per monitored approach.

 Both parties agree to review revenue and expenses quarterly.  If the revenue to Customer is less than operating expenses, parties will meet pursuant to Section 10, Dispute Resolution, to ASSURE that operational costs do not exceed program revenue generated to Customer.  [Emphasis added.] [This paragraph removed by Dec. 2009 amendment.]

[They agreed to pay way too much.  See FAQ # 17.] 

 SECTION 10 (condensed)

 10.  DISPUTE RESOLUTION  Upon the occurrence of any dispute or disagreement between the parties hereto… the parties shall engage in informal, good faith discussions and attempt to resolve the Dispute….  If the parties are unable to resolve the Dispute in accordance with this Section 10… then the parties may mutually agree to submit to binding or nonbinding arbitration or mediation. [End of Dispute Resolution section.]

 SECTION 6 (portion, condensed)

 6.1  TERMINATION FOR CAUSE:  Either party shall have the right to terminate this Agreement immediately by written notice to the other if… (iii) the other party commits any material breach of any of the provisions of this Agreement.


The amendment removed the paragraph of Exhibit "B" which began "Both parties...."  

The 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

1999 Contract

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.)