A lot of people in Arlington don’t like red-light cameras.
Apparently a lot of people in other places in Texas don’t either.
But thanks to a couple of activist groups, Citizens for a Better Arlington and the Arlington Tea Party, people in Tarrant County’s second-largest city have the opportunity go on-the-record with their opinions in the May 9 election.
Early voting starts in a little over two weeks, April 27.
The activists worked very hard and gathered more than 11,400 signatures on petitions (9,651 signatures were required) for a charter amendment to ban the cameras, which were first installed in Arlington after the City Council approved them in 2007. There are cameras at 19 of the city’s busiest intersections.
The council voted Feb. 24 to put the charter amendment on the May 9 ballot and let residents decide the question.
Camera opponents and advocates alike should first recognize the significance of the vote. At a time when many state legislators are taking steps to tell Texas cities what they can and cannot do — in fact, there is an effort in Austin to ban red-light cameras statewide — in Arlington the people get to decide.
It’s an opportunity all of Arlington’s voters should take seriously, and they should cast their ballots.
Simply not liking the cameras is reason enough to vote against them. That’s what “the people get to decide” means.
Some people believe cameras are an invasion of privacy, a “Big Brother is watching you” thing.
Others see them as a government money grab. Traffic light violations caught on camera can bring a citation with a $75 fine. Some of the money goes to the camera contractor; the rest is split by the state and the city.
Arlington cameras record about 95,000 violations a year and have generated more than $12 million for the city.
The main point of contention on camera facts is whether they have contributed to a reduction in traffic accidents at intersections where they operate.
City, state and national numbers show a correlation, but opponents don’t believe it. That’s their choice.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends against adoption of the red-light camera ban, Proposition 1 on the ballot in Arlington.