Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oak Lawn’s “Careless Vote” Heats Up Red Light Protests

Cook County Red Light Camera Protests Continue Saturday CHICAGO – September 16, 2010 – Undeterred by a disappointing red light camera vote this week in Oak Lawn, Cook County Campaign for Liberty activists and concerned citizens will again take to the streets Saturday at an 11 a.m. planned protest at the intersection of Devon and Northwest Highway in Chicago. Organizers aim to raise awareness of the proven ineffectiveness and corruption of Cook County’s red light camera program in the second in a series of public actions planned for this fall. The event will cap a week that saw the village of Oak Lawn on Tuesday unanimously renew its red light camera contract with a five-year extension despite strong public opposition. Trustee Jerry Hurckes reported to the village board receiving multiple calls on the issue, all of which were in opposition to red light cameras. “Despite public disapproval, Oak Lawn officials did not blink as they roped local taxpayers into another long-term scheme with a failed, fraudulent technology,” said Scott Davis, Cook County Campaign for Liberty coordinator. “This careless vote is yet another stark reminder of our elected officials’ warped priorities – bottom-line tax receipts chief among them. Residents are an afterthought, at best. “Clearly, we must step up our red light advocacy efforts to promote real safety and oppose these unjust taxes.” Cook County Campaign for Liberty’s protests are part of a continuing backlash against unmanned traffic enforcement technology in Illinois. Stunned Cook County municipalities balked in June after the county board unilaterally voted to install 30 additional red light cameras countywide. Facing public outcry, Cook County subsequently permitted municipalities to opt out of the program. High-profile efforts by Schaumburg activists, led by the Schaumburg Freedom Coalition, forced the village to abandon its lucrative red light camera program in 2009. A measure to ban most red light and speed cameras statewide even made it to Springfield last legislative session in form of State Sen. Dan Duffy’s SB 2466. A 2007 study by the University of Illinois Chicago conducted by Professor Rajiv Shah concluded that red light cameras in Chicago actually increased accidents by 6 percent. The City of Chicago, which saw $63 million in fines from red light cameras in 2009, strongly challenged Shah’s findings. For more information about Cook County Campaign for Liberty’s protest schedule, which will culminate in a downtown rally in late October, visit or contatct Scott Davis at 630-544-0847 - RELATED: Matt Harrington's Red Light Camera Letter to IL Senate Committee Recommends Sweeping Changes (Full Text)