It has been a while since I have been involved politically in Santa Clarita. That said, it is important I share with the citizens my observations in compelling the city to revisit the red light camera program a few years ago.
The behavior of three people currently running for council is important for all to know in making a decision on who should serve, and who should not. I approached the council in March 2014, weeks before the contract with Redflex, the camera contractor, would be up for renewal. I asked the council to review some important information regarding faults with the program prior to renewing the contract.
Without going into all of the details, the basic fault was the left turn arrow duration, at 3.5 seconds, was too short by engineering standards and was trapping safe drivers in a $500 ticket. On hearing this TimBen Boydston put forth the motion for the city to study this prior to renewal. It was passed and for the next year the city took up the study while temporarily renewing the contract. During this time I had the opportunity to meet with the City Council members and traffic department staff, along with my mentor, subject matter expert Jay Beber of Safer Streets LA. The city hired an independent engineering company to study the correct duration of the left yellow arrow. The study confirmed we were right, 3.5 seconds was too short.
On March 24, 2015, the City Council voted to remove the camera program. Voting for removal were TimBen Boydston, Bob Kellar and Dante Acosta. Voting to retain the cameras were Marsha McLean and Laurene Weste. McLean and Weste voted to retain them even though the cameras had been proven to be an abuse on the citizens, were not proven to improve safety, the city would lose money to keep them going and Redflex officials had been (connected with bribery scandals) in other cities. McLean and Weste clearly did not care about the citizens on this issue.
Worse, during the year the cameras were in review, Jay and I had the opportunity to meet council members to address our concerns. Most were receptive to hear what we had to say. With McLean that was not the case. She invited the city’s public works director to the meeting. After Jay and I presented why the left arrow duration was too short, she asked the director what he thought. He stated (incorrectly) that the 3.5 seconds was correct. She told me, “Well, I’m going to listen to my public works director before I will ever listen to you.” A person with this callous attitude to a concerned citizen with relevant information does not deserve to serve.
Please join me in not voting for McLean or Weste. On the other hand, join me in voting for TimBen Boydston, a true advocate of the citizens on this and many other issues. He has a proven record and we need him back on the council.
James V. Farley