July 20, 2011

Critics renew red-light camera fight in Wenatchee


WENATCHEE, Wash. — Critics of red-light cameras in Wenatchee are back with another effort to get on the November ballot.

Initiative activist Tim Eyman today launched a petition drive to put an advisory measure on the November general ballot to ask the city of Wenatchee to get rid of cameras at the three intersections they now monitor.

Eyman said the petition needs 2,273 signatures to get on the ballot. If the measure is approved by a majority of voters, a similar advisory vote would be placed on all subsequent ballots — in February, April, August and November — each year until the city takes them down, Eyman said.

“We’re telling the city that we can’t require you to take them down but we can certainly badger you with the voters’ desires,” he said. “Having a bombardment of advisory votes is an effective way to get them to see the light.”

Eyman initiated an effort in Wenatchee in January, trying to collect signatures to get a measure on the November ballot to force the city to get rid of the cameras. City officials responded by suing in Chelan County Superior Court to stop the effort.

Judge John Bridges ruled in May that the signature effort was unlawful and prohibited the group from turning the signatures in to the auditor.

While that first effort sought to give voters the right to get rid of the cameras, this second attempt would simply advise the City Council that voters don’t want the cameras, Eyman said.

“We’re coming back and saying, ‘OK, we’re going to have advisory votes on steroids until you listen,’ ” he said.

Eyman had led efforts to get rid of the red-light cameras in Mukilteo, Bellingham, Monroe, Longview and Redmond. Mukilteo took down its cameras after voters approved an advisory measure. Advisory votes will be on the November ballot in Bellingham, Monroe and Longview. Eyman said signatures are still being collected in Redmond.

“Clearly we believe that the majority of citizens in Washington reject these obnoxious automatic ticketing cameras,” he said.

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