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2013-05-15 Iowa City Moves Toward Repealing Red-light Camera Ordinance (The Gazette)

2013-05-15 Iowa City Moves Toward Repealing Red-light Camera Ordinance (The Gazette)

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Published by stopbigbrother
Press coverage by The Gazette (http://thegazette.com/)
Press coverage by The Gazette (http://thegazette.com/)

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Published by: stopbigbrother on Jul 27, 2013
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5/26/13Iowa City moves toward repealing red-light camera ordinance | TheGazettethegazette.com/2013/05/15/iowa-city-moving-toward-banning-red-light-cameras/1/3
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Tom Markus,City Manager,Iowa City
Iowa City Council members indicated Tuesday night they would put a stop to plans to installred-light cameras in town – at least for now.Meeting in a work session, no City Council member voiced objections to a recommendationfrom city staffers that the ordinance allowing traffic-enforcement cameras, like red-light andspeed cameras, be repealed.The move comes in the face ofa petitionthat sought to force the council to either ban thecameras, along with drones and automatic license plate readers when a peace officer at thescene does not write the ticket, or let voters decide the issue in a referendum.The City Council voted 4-3 to in February 2012 in favor of an ordinance allowing traffic-enforcement cameras.Iowa City residents Martha Hampel and Aleksey Gurtovoy later started thepetition process. A petition wasdeclared valid last week, but City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes, City Manager Tom Markus and other city officials offered thesurprising recommendation that the camera ordinance be repealed and theother parts of the ordinance proposed in the petition be approved.Their reasoning was that the city has not installed any cameras yet and
Gregg Hennigan
Gregg Hennigan covers local government in the IowaCity/Johnson County area, with a focus on city, county and K-12news. [...]Email the author
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Updated:
15 May 2013 | 5:01 am
inGovernment,Johnson County Area,Local News,Public Safety
Iowa City moves toward repealing red-light camera ordinance
Council appears likely to repeal earlier ordinance allowing cameras; issue could resurface in two years
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5/26/13Iowa City moves toward repealing red-light camera ordinance | TheGazettethegazette.com/2013/05/15/iowa-city-moving-toward-banning-red-light-cameras/2/3
Matthew J.Hayek, IowaCity Mayor 
probably wouldn’t until next year as it waits for the state to create rules on their use. The CityCouncil can take up the issue again two years after the ordinance is repealed, at which timethe guidelines and political fate of cameras should be clearer.“Referendum or not, the state is looking at it, and at some point will tell the citieswhat they can do,” said Mayor Matt Hayek, a supporter of red-light cameras. “Itrenders our proceeding with something like that of dubious value.”But the city’s action may not be totally satisfactory to opponents.Rita Bettis, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa,which supported the petition effort, wrote a letter to the City Council this weeksaying she disagrees with Dilkes’ interpretation of the validity of the portion ofthe petition dealing with the traffic-enforcement cameras. She also questioned the city’splanned use of license plate readers to identify parking violations.Dilkes said the traffic camera part of the ordinance proposed in the petition is requesting areferendum (something for the council to reconsider) and the timeline for reviewing that haspassed.The sections on drones and license plates readers are an initiative (something new to beconsidered) and are valid, she said.Bettis, who did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday, wrote that the City Charterdoes not contemplate a hybrid initiative-referendum and the proposed ordinance must bewholly one or the other. In her opinion, it’s an initiative.Dilkes said that would render the referendum process meaningless becausesomeone would only need to add provisions to a proposal seeking to repealsomething in order to bypass the deadlines that go with a referendum.Bettis also took issue with Dilkes’ opinion that “peace officer” includes parkingenforcement attendants. The petitioners’ proposal says a peace officer must be

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