Judge rules in favor of Arlington red-light camera election

The future of red-light cameras in Arlington will be up to the voters, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The future of red-light cameras in Arlington will be up to the voters, a judge ruled Tuesday. Star-Telegram archives

Arlington voters will decide whether red-light cameras stay or go after a Tarrant County judge dismissed a lawsuit for a temporary injunction on the vote.

In a downtown Fort Worth hearing late Tuesday afternoon, state District Judge Tom Lowe ruled in favor of the city’s plea to move forward with the May 9 election.

“This court is not making a ruling about the validity or void-ability of the election in question. It’s premature for the court to consider the election in question,” Lowe said.

Instead, he went on to quote part of Arlington’s argument that the courts do not have the jurisdiction to interfere with the public’s political right to hold an election.

Jody Weiderman of Arlington filed the suit Feb. 25 against the city of Arlington and Mayor Robert Cluck.

Weiderman told the court that he backed the program for “safety reasons.”

“I think it’s a great program and it needs to stay in the City of Arlington,” Weiderman said.

Assistant City Attorney Robert Fugate repeatedly asked Weiderman if he was being represented by attorneys with American Traffic Solutions, Arlington’s red-light camera vendor. The contract with American Traffic Solutions runs through 2027.

Weiderman said he was not being represented by the company, He also told the court that he has not paid his attorney, Andy Taylor, for his services and did not answer questions about why he was being represented for free.

The Arlington City Council voted Feb. 24 to place the proposed city charter amendment on the May 9 ballot after activists collected a petition of over 9,651 verified signatures from registered voters opposing red-light cameras.

“The judge allowing the election to go forward is what we expected based on Texas Supreme Court cases that uphold there is a separation of powers between courts and a right of the people to have an election,” Fugate said.

Taylor told the court that this isn’t the end of the red-light camera debate. He said it’s merely the first step.

“We believe in the safety of the program because it decreased the number of accidents and saves lives,” Taylor said. “We will continue to fight for this safety project not only in Arlington, but anywhere else that they exist.”

Taylor said he will represent Weiderman in his appeal.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792