Voters Can't Ban Red-Light Cameras, State Supreme Court Rules

The decision invalidates Redmond's previous initiative effort, according to The Seattle Times.


Voters don't have the right to ban red-light cameras, the Washington State Supreme Court has said in a ruling concerning a 2010 ballot initiative in Mukilteo.

As The Seattle Times reported Thursday, the ruling also invalidates initiative efforts in Redmond, Longview, Bellingham, Monroe and Wenatchee.

Redmond's petition effort began in early 2011 and ended in King County Superior Court, where a judge that state initiative advocate Tim Eyman filed over the to the county for verification.

At the time, city officials cited a ruling in Bellingham by Division 1 of the Washington Court of Appeals that determined camera enforcement programs are not valid matters for initiative. Similarly, the high court's ruling says red-light cameras are to be approved by governing bodies rather than voters.

Redmond's red-light program ended early this year after the city council , saying the cameras failed to have a significant impact on safety. The council decided to keep a speed camera near Einstein Elementary and has said it might explore the possiblity of adding additional speed cameras in other school zones.

In a statement, Eyman called Wednesday's decision an "incredibly arrogant ruling" and cited three camera-ban initiatives that have been passed in Western Washington.

"So it's clear that the people viscerally oppose ticketing cameras, which is simply a taxation-through-citation scheme by cities in bed with red-light camera companies," Eyman said. "Because we know the people are on our side, we will continue to fight to get rid of these obnoxious cameras using state and local initiatives and lobbying the legislature until they're gone once and for all."

Me March 09, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Are you Washingtonians able to recall any elected officials who allow $cameras to exist in their jurisdiction? We recalled most of our city council here in Texas leaving it without a quorum. Its been wonderful not having to worry about any further theft as the council has been unable to meet.
Gizmo March 09, 2012 at 02:39 AM
The secret to beating the red light cameras: Stop when the light is red! It works every time!! If you choose to drive like a fool, you shouldn't cry when you're held accountable. Seriously, I don't understand the flap over this. Do that many people really think that red lights should be optional? Personally, I like the fact that this helps keep the police available to fight real crime, not tied up with stop light enforcement.
Al Taylor March 09, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Thankfully, our local elected officials have not yet succumbed to the $$$ draw of outsiders' get-rich-quick offers! That is part of the reason, I enjoy living in Woodinville, Washington and not ANYTOWN, USA!
Ronald Long March 09, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I'm with you Gizmo. Will the next vote be to ban the police? Though there is an issue to be looked at in terms of the level of involvement of for-profit companies in the process.
Woodinville Fan March 09, 2012 at 06:21 PM
The red light cameras in Monroe, WA are COSTING money not making money. The company who sells the red light debacle charged the City $88,000. The tickets brought in $95,000 -- sounds good until you factor in that EACH photo must be reviewed by a live person in law enforcement and then add in the administrative cost to send out and follow up on the tickets. Oops....not such a great financial decision now. I watched a red light camera go off in Monroe after only 2 cars got through the green left turn arrow. The third car (who's view of the light was probably blocked by the 2nd vehicle, a big truck, got his photo taken. Two cars...really? If that doesn't sound like a scam then I don't know what does.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »