Tell the SeaTac City Council to shut down their red-light ticketing camera scam — ask them to vote tonight to end it
Our priority and our focus is on encouraging everyone to collect signatures for the $30 Tabs Initiative. It’s taken off like a rocket and we need everyone doing their part to keep it that way.
But with your help RIGHT NOW, we can stop an injustice from continuing in the city of SeaTac.
Tonight, the SeaTac City Council will vote on whether or not to continue having red-light ticketing cameras.
I’m asking you to send an email to their 7 city council members and encourage them to vote to shut ’em down. Here’s the email I sent to them yesterday:
October 9, 2017
TO: SeaTac City Council Members
FROM: Tim Eyman
RE: Reasons to vote no on Tuesday to stop using red-light ticketing cameras in the city of SeaTac
I heard about your council vote on Tuesday. I ask each of you to please consider this as you deliberate this issue:
I co-sponsored several city-wide initiatives empowering local voters to prohibit red-light ticketing cameras in Monroe, Longview, Bellingham, Redmond and my hometown of Mukilteo. Voters rejected and repudiated for-profit camera survelliance every single time. Monroe voters voted 65% no, Longview 55% no, Bellingham 65% no, Redmond unanimous city council vote, Mukilteo 71% no. Some of these cities are conservative (Monroe, Longview), some are progressive (Bellingham, Mukilteo, Redmond), but voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly reject ticketing cameras. There are several reasons why voters despise red-light ticketing cameras:
* It breeds corruption. The overt bribery in Chicago by Redflex is just the tip of the iceberg. ATS is no different. When there is this much money at stake and with half the ticketing revenue going to the out-of-state for-profit corporation and half going to the government, corruption is inevitable. ATS was fined $10,000 by a Bellingham judge for trying to block our local initiative from a vote (www.thenewspaper.com/news/35/3562.asp). When a big for-profit corporation is caught trying to prevent a public vote, then it’s pretty clear they know they’re gonna lose that vote (which they did, 65% of Bellingham voters voted no).
* The corruption is inevitable because the incentive is backwards. The more lawbreakers there are, the more profits the corporation makes. The less lawbreaking, the less profit. Corporations are therefore incentivized to maximize lawbreaking. That’s why a huge percentage of their tickets come from what are commonly called “California right turns” or manipulation of yellow-light times. Letting corporations profit off of lawbreaking is dangerous. What if police officers were paid a commission for every bullet they fired? Or paid for every citizen they locked up? The last thing citizens want is for-profit corporations making money off of lawbreaking.
* Red-light camera tickets are just another way to take more of the people’s money — it’s taxation-through-citation. Citizens know instinctively that it’s all about the money. Former state representative Chris Hurst (D-Enumclaw) refers to ticketing cameras as “crack cocaine for cities – once they get hooked on the money, they can’t get off it.” Former Lynnwood City Councilmember Jim Smith called the program in Lynnwood “a real Frankenstein.”
* For cities like Seatac and Lynnwood especially, every red-light camera ticket imposed on visitors leaves those folks feeling ripped off — those people don’t want to come back. And they’ll tell their friends and family and business colleagues to not shop or do business there. If 87% of red-light ticketing camera revenue comes from non-SeaTac residents, then those 87% have the choice whether or not to come back. Do you want the ticket money, or do you want SeaTac to be a welcoming community? Treating citizens like ATM machines hurts your city’s image and bottom line.
In the “To” line of your email, cut and paste their email addresses in:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; CityCouncil@ci.seatac.wa.us; email@example.com
For the Subject line, cut and paste this:
Please vote no tonight on red-light ticketing cameras
In the body of the email, send this or something like this (tell ’em how you feel):
Dear SeaTac City Council Members: I ask you to please consider my perspective when you vote tonight. I don’t like red-light ticketing cameras. I don’t like cities that have red-light ticketing cameras. I think they are a scam, just another way to pick the pockets of the taxpayers. Every place local voters have had the chance to vote on them has overwhelmingly rejected for-profit camera surveillance. A poll in SeaTac shows 65% of SeaTac voters oppose them. Listen to the people — vote no. A vote against red-light ticketing cameras in your city is a victory for liberty everywhere. As Benjamin Franklin reminded us: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Some of my proudest achievements were in 2010 and 2011 when I worked with local activists to get rid of red-light ticketing cameras in several communities.
With your help, we can emancipate another city from the scourge of for-profit camera surveillance.