Issue to remove intersection cameras kicked off ballot

From our media partner the Toledo Blade

TOLEDO (WTOL) - A proposed Toledo charter amendment to eliminate the red-light and speed cameras will not appear on the November ballot because the petitions used lacked an affidavit by the circulator, the clerk of Toledo City Council, Gerald Dendinger, ruled yesterday.

Proponents of removing the cameras used to detect certain traffic law violations submitted more than 8,500 signatures last week in an attempt to get the issue on the ballot and let voters decide whether to ban the devices.

Linda Howe, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said the group collected more that the required 4,625 valid signatures from registered Toledo voters, but Mr. Dendinger said the petition was printed incorrectly.

"I have determined that the petition is insufficient in that it lacks 'an affidavit by the circulator thereof' as required" by the Toledo charter, Mr. Dendinger wrote in a letter to supporters of the ballot question.

It should have included "an affidavit by the circulator thereof," which is typically notarized, Mr. Dendinger said.

Hans Schnapp, a member of a group called We Demand a Vote and secretary of the Lucas County Republican Party, said the ruling would be appealed.

"I think it's something that should be left up to the people of Toledo," Mr. Schnapp said.

Toledo was the first Midwestern city to install red-light cameras.

In January, members of a Cincinnati group that in 2008 successfully fought installation of red-light cameras there brought the fight to Toledo.

Mr. Schnapp said his group used the Cincinnati petition as a template.

The Finkbeiner administration has budgeted to collect $2.5 million this year from fines generated by the cameras. The cameras produced $1.34 million in 2008 and about $443,353 through June.

A study by Toledo police of crashes at intersections found a 20.7 percent reduction in the 2001-to-2004 period at intersections with cameras compared with the number in 1996-2000.

The fee from a red-light-camera ticket or speed-camera ticket is $120. In 2008, the city approved a five-year agreement with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. of Culver City, Calif., to continue operating the cameras, many of which also have a speed-enforcement feature.

The deal increased the fines to $120 from $95 and the share of revenue the city receives to 54.2 percent from 25 percent.