Local

Commissioner Fighting Red-Light Cameras Has Been Ticketed Twice

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Red Light Camera 625 (Source: CBS4)

Red Light Camera 625 (Source: CBS4)

Politics

MIAMI (CBS4) – A Miami commissioner taking a stand against red-light cameras has received two tickets over the past few years.

CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald, reports Commissioner Francis Suarez received the tickets in Coral Gables and Miami.

The paper received the information about vehicles registered to Suarez from American Traffic Solutions (ATS) which provides the cameras for many Florida cities.

According to ATS, one of the tickets was dismissed and the other remains uncollected.

Suarez told the paper he didn’t recall getting either one.

“In both cases, I suspect I was doing a very benign action that would not have been ticketed by a police officer,” he said. “That highlights the problems people have with these systems. … They were supposed to be about safety, but they have really become about generating revenue.”

ATS video from Coral Gables revealed an Audi registered to Suarez approaching Alhambra Circle and South Lejeune Road, then turning right without stopping on March 13, 2010.

The $125 ticket is still unpaid.

“As far as our records go, it was never paid,” ATS spokesman Charles Territo told the paper.

That ticket was issued before laws changed which would have resulted in Suarez having his license suspended for not making the payment.

According to officials with the Coral Gables Police Department, the city did not collect fines or penalties for a small number of tickets issued in 2010, despite repeated notices sent to some recipients.

“It was an administrative decision based on the change in law,” City Attorney Craig Leen told the paper. “That ticket was treated no differently than any other ticket that was pending at the time the law changed.”

ATS’ second video showed another instance where black Ford registered to Suarez making a late U-turn at a red light on February 24, 2012 at the intersection of Coral Way and Southwest 32nd Avenue in Miami.

ATS told the paper that ticket was dismissed.

Suarez is also a mayoral candidate.

His competitor, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, has not received any tickets for red-light violations, according to ATS records.

“I stop at yellow lights,” Regalado told the paper.

While Suarez is leading the charge to get rid of red-light cameras saying they are a financial burden on the city, Regalado, who is seeking re-election, favors the cameras.

Mayor Regalado said the cameras are not just for making money, but numbers show they generate more than $3 million for the city and supporters have argued they prevent accidents.

“This is about changing the driving culture and reducing the number of accidents,” Regalado told the paper.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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