6/19/13Iowa City residents continue effort to ban traffic cameras | TheGazettethegazette.com/2013/02/21/iowa-city-residents-continue-effort-to-ban-traffic-cameras/2/3
They need the signatures of at least 2,500 registered Iowa City voters by early April, which issix months afterthey filed an affidavit starting the petition process. Gurtovoy said this weekthey are approaching 1,000 signatures, and he’s optimistic they’ll get enough.“We are getting more and more traction every day as far as people contacting us saying, howcan we help,” he said.But even if they get the necessary signatures, it’s not certain the City Council will have to act.City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes told Gurtovoy and Hampel last summer they were outside theallowable time period for reviewing the matter, and this month she said her opinion has notchanged.That could lead to a legal battle over the issue. Although a divided City Council last February approved an ordinance allowing traffic-enforcement cameras, no cameras are up yet. The Iowa Department of Transportationhasasked for more informationfrom the city as part of a new, and more stringent, process ithas for reviewing the use of cameras on state routes. Additionally, multiple bills in the current legislative session are seeking restrictions on traffic-enforcement cameras.In Iowa City, officials thus far are only considering red-light cameras, not speed cameras.Gurtovoy and Hampel, however, have proposed a new city ordinance that not only would bantraffic-enforcement cameras but also drones and automatic license-plate recognition systems– unless a police officer is at the scene and personally writes a ticket for a violation.Their effort dates back tolast summer, when they twice filed with the city an affidavit to startwhat they said was an initiative to limit the use of the cameras.Each time, City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes said the wording of their request made it a referendum. A referendum requires the City Council to reconsider an existing measure. An initiativeproposes a measure for the council’s consideration. With both, the council must either take therequested action or send the proposal to the public for a vote.