SW Prison: E-Mail May Cost Taxpayers Millions

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Just months before he voted to deny services to a proposed Southwest Broward immigration detention center, Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo believed that there was no legal way to stop the project.

That’s what he wrote in an e-mail to a voter, which was uncovered by those suing Pembroke Pines to overturn its decision.

Castillo wrote on December 21 that the project couldn’t be stopped.

Then after an outpouring of protests from a small segment of the public, he buckled. He voted March 7 to stop the project.

The vote was 3-2, so without Castillo’s opposition the prison would be built.

He cast his vote despite his earlier opinion that Pembroke Pines would be in legal jeopardy if it tried to cut off promised services to stop the 1,500-bed facility.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility was scheduled to be serviced by Pembroke Pines, although it is in Southwest Ranches.

Southwest Ranches wants the taxes that the prison will provide.

One day after the vote, Southwest Ranches sued Pembroke Pines as Castillo predicted in his e-mail.

The suit wants a judge to order Pembroke Pines to do what it promised — provide water, sewer and emergency services to the project.

The e-mail was uncovered by those suing Pembroke Pines.

The evidence of Castillo’s flip-flopping might just be the smoking gun which costs Pembroke Pines taxpayers lots of money.

Pembroke Pines taxpayers may end up with a big bill from the lawsuit and the prison.

Isn’t that what Castillo, who has a law degree, predicted in his e-mail?

“…the only thing worse (than the prison) would be a detention center and a bigger tax bill for you,” he wrote the constituent.

Castillo saw the future and what his vote would cost the public. ¬†Still, he didn’t have the guts to stand up to a small howling mob for the good of the whole city.

An earlier post on the project is here.

Castillo’s e-mail is below. ¬†Click on it to enlarge it.

 

 



34 Responses to “SW Prison: E-Mail May Cost Taxpayers Millions”

  1. Broward Resident says:

    Castillo should be ashamed of his actions! Not only is he clearly a coward who has destroyed any political future, but to write an email like this completely throws Pines under the bus and ensures its demise. Pines should cut a deal with ICE and the Ranches immediately and cut their losses before it is too late. As a Pines Resident I do not want to pay for Castillo’s mistakes. Buddy, how much has Pines spent on all their attorneys defending what Castillo did? He needs to be recalled!!

  2. Are they Crazy says:

    Let me get this straight. Castillo, who has a law degree, opined that Pines has a “legal obligation to service the area”. Then he voted to block it, knowing that he has no legal ground to stand on, but simply to appease a small segment of the public and in the process has subjected the ENTIRE City to millions in damages. With such intellegence he should run for President. I agree with Broward Resident. They should be begging the Ranches and ICE to settle this before it is too late.

  3. Str8 Talk says:

    Of course he didn’t! Buddy if you remember, you pushed him BIG TIME on this blog and thought he would be the savior on the county commission. When tough times arise, this shows what HE WOULD HAVE DONE at the county bldg!

    FROM BUDDY:
    I remember. I never said he would be the savior of the county commission. I believed he would be a good commissioner. I have rethought my position based on this vote by him.

  4. Citizen says:

    little backbone and less due diligence by an elected official’s requiring provision of water and sewer. was he playing both sides of the fence (PP and SWR) for future votes toward an elected office? he can’t be trusted and hopefully won’t be re-elected. what kind of law does he try to practice?

  5. Commisioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Buddy,

    You’ve developed an unusual pattern lately of not contacting sources before writing articles. It’s a departure from your normal practice that is hard to explain. Some might call it suspicious because it’s so unlike you…

    As to my motives, the email with a constituent that you published was written honestly based on the best facts and legal information I had at the time. Thereafter, the record is clear that our city received additional facts and very different legal opinions. The introduction of this new information caused natural and understandable recalculation and resulted in adjustment to previous viewpoints.

    Nothing could be more appropriate, in fact your legitimate criticism might be earned had it occurred in any other way.

    This is not a flip flop. That phrase refers to a change of view prompted by factors other than a change of facts. Decision makers properly go where the facts available take them. The good ones don’t stick to a previous view that is no longer factually tenable. When the facts change, approaches to problems need to adapt otherwise that result is called capricious.

    You have personally made a career pointing out where decisions made by officials can’t align with the facts. Now you take the opposite view without so much as picking up the phone to understand why.

    At the end of the day, what matters in government isn’t the sometimes winding road recorded in various electronic vignettes to residents. Those can offer some insight into thinking at a given points in time, but they don’t decide anything. They are snap shots in time capturing moving targets.

    What matters is what government officially does at the end of the day when it votes. I stand by the decisions that I made together with my neighbors and remain convinced that my city’s present course best protects our interests as we confront an imposed threat to our quality of life, environment and economic future.

    Angelo

  6. Floridan says:

    Ever consider that Castillo might have received more information on the issue in the time between he wrote the email and his vote? Is no one allowed to reconsider a previous statement?

  7. Ha Ha Ha says:

    We already knew Castillo’s judgement was severely impaired when he became the biggest shill in Broward County for red light cameras. This is just further proof, as if any more proof was needed! Bye bye Angelo…
    ————–
    FROM BUDDY:

    Thank you so much for pointing out the typos in this story. And your own typo in this post.
    You were right on all points.
    I corrected everything, including this post as you suggested.

  8. Floridan says:

    I would like to point out that when I made my comment at 3:06 pm, Angelo Castillo’s comment of 11:49 am was not posted. He, of course, made the point much better than I did.

  9. Flip Flop says:

    Hey Angelo, would it be a flip flop to vote on a road agreement that says you won’t interfere with the detention center, vote in favor of a fire contract that says you will provide water and sewer to the detention center, and then vote to cancel all of those agreements since you now don’t want the detention center?

  10. Bad Advice says:

    Angelo, your now blaming your political decision on bad advice from your legal counsel, but I have not seen you make a single motion to get new legal counsel. So how bad was the advice really? Or did you stick your finger in the air for all three votes to see which way the wind was blowing. Anyone can pay for a legal opinion, you either trust your attorney or you get a new one. You are playing all sides and are getting caught in the middle.

  11. Quality of Life says:

    Angelo, you claim that you made a decision do to the “threat to our quality of life, environment and economic future.” Come on. Your talking out of your ass and you have nothing to back this up. You are simply a puppet for 10 residents who are telling you what to say and you are saying it simply since they are stroking your ego. Time to use your own brain and to do your own research. Did you go visit one of these facilities? Did you go see the new one in Texas? If not, why not? Go see a facility like this in another area before making such absurd comments and throwing your entire City under the bus in the process. The way I see it, this will have zero impact on our City. It is between a landfill, a industrial park, and a prision that is not closing. It will have no enviromnetal impact, it won’t impact anyone’s life, and the City stands to make millions. Enjoy your last term in office. You ought to think long and hard about this decision before its too late.

  12. Well spoken says:

    Angelo,
    Well spoken I still believe you did what you thought was best. Heads up.. This to shall pass.

  13. Castillo speaks out of both side of his face and his butt says:

    As I have said before Castillo speaks out of both sides of his butt! Sure anyone can change their mind, however the public generally loathes politicians who flip flop as Castillo has done and is documented in Buddy’s article and the attachement. Why do you think the right wing hates Romney, he has no spine! he does what ever his thinks the people standing in front of him like to hear. I saw Castillo do it at the first PP commission meeting when he recounted the host of the inter-local agreements many months ago and later take a stand over the objections of a tiny percent of the residents of his City. So lets see Castillo, . You placate 30 residents or 0.0194% of your city at cost to the city of perhaps $5 million in lost revenue, contract issues and legal fees, you still end up with an ICE facility next door and a bill of $32.50 per resident man, women and child, for all of your efforts. What a leader. A lot of votes in those decisions.

  14. sidelines says:

    “NO” is one of the, if not the, most powerful word in the english language. is Rick Scott the only elected official in Florida that can say it? Oh the new mayor in Miami Dade County knows it as well. but no one elected officials in PP.

  15. Detroying Our City says:

    Angelo, thanks for destroying our City. How much is your personal battle and ego costing us? How much are you paying the attorneys and consultants? Are you going to increase my taxes to support your new found popularity? You took the easy route instead of doing what’s actually right. I have voted for you at least three times, but after what you did here I can never vote for you again.

  16. Sources says:

    Not contacting sources? Angelo the source is your own email.

    FROM BUDDY:
    That’s what I thought.

  17. Voters says:

    Is the recalculation Castillo is referring to his supporters? If so he could have done that math on his fingers.

  18. Bill Clinton says:

    It’s not a “flip flop” it’s a “change of view”. Did Angelo write “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky”?

  19. Chaz Stevens says:

    Dear Pembroke Pines.

    Given the need to raise $5M and given the success of our red light camera program, kindly expect the devices to be installed in the following locations:

    1) Your bathroom

    2) On the arse end of your local Hooters waitress.

    3) Every third left turn — even if there isn’t a stoplight.

    4) All odd numbered aisles at Walmart.

    5) All even numbered aisles at Target.

    I thank you in advance for helping us all take one for the team.

    Angelo “Recalculating His Diminishing Odds For Re-election” Castillo.

  20. John Eastman says:

    Angelo is a smart Harvard educated man. The problem with him is he was not smart enough to reject the establishment programming. Angelo stands for big goverment, high taxes and onerous regulations. Angelo took the city’s finances to hell when he pushed City Center. A huge black hole for public money while the private developers get out licking scratches. Stupid left leaning voters in the Pines got exactly what they deserve in Angelo. The City Attorney told the three that their vote would cost the city dearly. They are unaccountable and leave a train wreck behind them. Hope the lazy stupid lefties will vote correctly this time.
    John Eastman
    Country Eststes HOA

  21. Chaz Stevens says:

    @John Eastman

    I hear it’s dangerous to walk near a microwave wearing a tin-foil hat…

    How’s your own personal experience compare?

  22. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Chaz,

    I respect you so I’m going to reply about elections and red light cameras because I realize that outside of Pembroke Pines people may not realize how things work in my home city.

    I’ve run for office in Pembroke Pines 4 times, the first time as an unknown running against a former city commissioner. I won with 67% of the vote. The next time I ran unopposed and got 87% each of the next two times I ran. I’m not a fluke in Pembroke Pines. But I’m also not boastful about it.

    My elections happen because I remain very much in tune with what my neighbors expect. A dialogue begun with them 2004 continues uninterrupted to this day. We meet constantly and figure things out. It’s an open discussion, an on-going dialogue that works for everyone involved. We clash sometimes and bang out the particulars. In the end, we proceed together.

    The day my neighbors decide they want somebody else, they will go there without hesitation. My life will go on and so will theirs. Our city will move forward. Nobody in my city hall is indispensable. I don’t rely on my elected position for anything and my bones in life were made long before I was first elected.

    However, so long as I hold the job, I will make the choices that are best for this community while constantly listening to their strong input and exchanging views with them. I don’t calculate odds for re-election because I don’t have to. The smarter approach is to simply do the job and let elections figure themselves out.

    As to red light cameras, the people here want safer roads. They have come to understand, as I have, that the price for that outcome in my city is red light cameras.

    Chaz, you live in Deerfield I think where I have lots of friends. Please feel free to do in your city what you think is best. In my city, we want the cameras because we want the safety. For my part, I stop for red lights so I have no problem either way.

    Since we started our camera enforcement program in Pines, accidents at one light alone are down 46%. Go ahead and call that a coincidence if you wish. We call it a significant safety improvement. In fact, crashes citywide are way down since the program began. People are more aware of their driving habits and that’s the whole point of the program.

    Ours is a city with lots of shopping, bringing people here regionally. They arrive with all manner of driving habits. It got crazy on our roads to where people didn’t feel safe. 70% of all Pines red light tickets go to non-residents, just to underscore the point. We had kids on crotch rockets holding wheelie competitions on Pines Boulevard. Seniors couldn’t cross the streets to get to buses. We had crashes everywhere. Residents demanded action and we took the assignment seriously.

    After much study and many public meetings, it boiled down to three possible options.

    (1) We could do nothing and let more people die or get hurt. (2) We could hire a bunch more cops which we can’t afford and in the end that is not the most efficient strategy. Or (3) put up cameras that catch only the guilty and cost the innocent nothing. In choosing camera enforcement we think we made the right choice and proof comes in the most recent report — which says that accidents are down 46%.

    Now, Chaz you can call that a coincidence if you want. It would be a heck of a coincidence but you can say that. You can argue it’s just luck and not skill. The fact remains we were 46% worse before the cameras went in. Science or luck, it works.

    Next step is getting the bureaucrats in Tallahassee to take note and demand that the residents of my city get an auto insurance discount. Because a 46% reduction in claims should demand a reduction in premium.

    Further, the program was introduced fairly in my city. No camera enforcement on right turns on red. Lots of signage to ensure folks know cameras are out there. A six month warning period where we sent warning letters not citations, so they’d know about the program. The goal was always to avoid the violation in the first place through fair and reliable enforcement of the law.

    Stopping for a red light is a minimum legal expectation for any driver. Those who can’t or won’t threaten us.

    Now, I took the time to explain this to you personally out of respect. It’s not my goal to convince you. Your opinions are your own. I simply wanted you to have the facts which explain why Pembroke Pines residents strongly support this program.

    Regards,

    Angelo

    PS – In 2010 I ran for the county commission and lost but was elected back into my former city seat. You win some and lose some. It was a learning experience for me and I have no axes to grind in terms of the outcome.

  23. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/27/2705.asp

    Georgia: Longer Yellows Force City to End Red Light Camera Program

    New Georgia law forces longer yellow times that made red light cameras unprofitable in Norcross.

    The Norcross, Georgia City Council voted Monday to end its relationship with LaserCraft Inc., a red light camera company whose US headquarters lies just three miles down the road from city hall. LaserCraft’s troubles began last year when the Georgia General Assembly enacted a law requiring the yellow signal warning time at any intersection equipped with a red light camera be increased
    by one second over the minimum national standard. City documents show that once the law took effect, the accident and red light violation problem in Norcross
    virtually disappeared.

    “With House Bill 77 we are now required to add one second to that… yellow light time,” Norcross Police Chief Dallas Stidd wrote in a memo to the city
    council. “We along with other jurisdictions have seen a significant decrease in
    citations. This will cause a shortfall in our budget for this program.”

    A pair of red light cameras operated throughout 2008 with the shorter yellow time, allowing LaserCraft to mail an average of fifteen tickets per day on the city’s behalf. After the yellow was lengthened on January 1, 2009, that figure dropped eighty percent to just three tickets per day — with devastating effect on the program’s bottom line. In 2008, motorists paid $259,083 in
    citations. According to Stidd’s calculations, the longer yellow meant the automated ticketing program would lose $145,000 in 2009.

    “The addition of one second [to the yellow light time] has made a significant reduction in red light violations,” Stidd wrote. “We have realized a reduction in accidents at the two intersections.”

    According to a Texas Transportation Institute study, the reduction in accidents
    and violations from an additional second of yellow was to be expected (view
    study at http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/02/243.asp). This is so because red light cameras do not typically issue very many tickets to blatant red light runners. The vast majority of “violations” happen when drivers misjudge the end of the yellow light by less than 0.25 seconds — literally the blink of an eye
    (view TTI chart at http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/pix/violationchart.gif).
    According to a report by the California State Auditor
    [http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/01/116.asp], nearly 80 percent of that state’s
    tickets were issued for violations that took place less than one second into the red. By adding the second back into the yellow, that 80 percent disappeared in
    Norcross.

    The extra second also brings yellow signal times closer to those that would be appropriate under the 1976 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) standard. Around the time transportation officials began experimenting with photo
    enforcement, ITE began to change the timing formula so that it would
    consistently produce shorter yellows.
    [http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport5.asp] As data from Fairfax County, Virginia show, the benefit of reversing these changes and lengthening
    yellows does not diminish over time.

  24. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Ha —

    I am not opposed to longer yellow lights if they save lives. Nobody rational would oppose that. Not even our red light camera vendor opposes that. It is the traffic engineers that oppose it.

    I personally asked traffic engineers from FDOT and the Broward County Commission, who oversee yellow light standards and traffic signalization, if our yellow lights were too short and if we’d be safer on the road extending them. The answer was a clear and unanimous no.

    The traffic engineers told me that Broward’s current yellow light durations are appropriate and changing the standard would make our roads less safe. So I spoke to several private sector traffic engineers and asked them the same question. They concur. I have not met one licensed traffic engineer, working as such in a private firm or a government transportation agency, that supports straying from established industry safety standards.

    The engineers explained that yellow light durations on roads are calculated based on the speed limit and capacity of that road, among other factors.

    A formula exists that takes those factors into proper account. It is a well known and generally accepted formula that traffic engineers use to safely calculate proper yellow light duration. Using that formula, for example, all of the yellow lights on my major road, Pines Boulevard, are four seconds in duration.

    If any of you see a yellow light on Pines Boulevard that isn’t four seconds long — call me. Immediately. You will not. I test it personally every time I drive.

    Add to those four seconds a one second delay in switching red to green for motorists heading in different directions.

    Red light cameras don’t snap a violation until that time frame is finished and still a car is detected in the middle of the intersection. In other words, the cameras only photograph cars that have gone through STANDING red lights.

    I don’t know if this is how yellow lights were calculated in Georgia. But our state’s traffic engineers say the standard that should be used everywhere. What goes on in Georgia is unclear. They feel that Florida has this issue nailed down right.

    They further say that going beyond the formula standard with yellow lights duration is dangerous because it is proven to encourage speeding, which combined with red light violations, makes accidents all the more lethal.

    In heavy rush hour traffic along roads with many traffic signals, longer yellows delay trip times significantly because of the compounded effect of them over miles.

    Still, if longer signals was the answer everyone would support it. It would be a no brainer. However, the FDOT and Broward County traffic engineers refuse to approve it saying that would be unsafe.

    Do your own research, make your own calls. If FDOT and Broward County changes their minds and put that in writing to cities, I will be the FIRST to demand longer yellow lights.

    Will contain your chuckle for a second and take on that assignment with me? I’m willing to work with you on it.

    I am pledging this publicly: If County and State traffic engineers recommend longer yellow lights, I will immediately support the suggestion strongly as I have always been willing to do.

    But if they tell you that what we have is safe, and what you suggest is unsafe, then you need to confront the obvious.

    Then there’s nothing wrong with our yellow lights. We simply have too many drivers that don’t or won’t stop for red lights.

    In my city, we will catch those people because their reckless driving threatens everybody’s safety. And we’re going to continue until they stop.

    Angelo

  25. sidelines says:

    Current BC Mayor John Rodstrom suggested this to comm. in 2010 when the redlight cameras were proposed. he saw the collection and court problems with them in the cities and did not want the same for Broward. Longer yellow lights made sense then and makes sense now. It is all about a revenue stream for cities that have out of control spending or pet projects that need a funding source. NC and CO have outlawed them.

  26. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Below is an excellent reference on superior alternatives to red light cameras:

    http://www.stpetecameras.org/home/alternate-solutions-to-rlc

    And here is a link to $10,000 that says Angelo Castillo can’t win the battle between red light cameras and alternative traffic engineering techniques (including longer yellow lights):

    http://www.shortyellowlights.com/challenge/

    The National Motorists Association knows that engineering solutions are the real way to prevent red-light violations and accidents at problematic intersections.

    In fact, we are willing to wager $10,000 to prove that engineering will work better than ticket cameras.

    Here’s our challenge:

    Show us any camera-equipped intersection that still has high numbers of red-light violations and we will guarantee a minimum 50-percent reduction in red-light violations through the application of engineering solutions.

    If our recommendations fail to meet our minimum goal, we will pay the community $10,000 to be used on any traffic safety program or project it chooses.

    However, if we succeed, the community must employ our engineering-based recommendations at other troublesome intersections and scrap its ticket-camera program.

  27. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Sidelines:

    John Rodstrom’s suggestion was for a longer delay interval between red and green as lights change to permit cars into the intersection.

    In my city, a one second delay already exists and I think that’s standard everywhere but I can’t say for sure.

    As to yellow lights, John’s own traffic engineers — the ones that signalize the traffic lights throughout most if not all of Broward County — say no to extending them because it would be unsafe. FDOT agrees.

    Cities must live with the decisions traffic engineers make on signalization. We have no other choice at present. If they wanted longer yellows, we’d have them.

    Traffic engineers don’t elongate yellow lights because red light runners find current standards inconvenient. Signalization is done scientifically to ensure safe and efficient traffic flow.

    Traffic engineers have found that longer yellows than what we currently have mean faster cars, which means more dead people on roads. It also congests traffic in ways that make roads more unsafe. I didn’t make that decision. County and FDOT traffic engineers made that decision. I want whatever the engineers say is more safe.

    Don’t blame cities for ANY traffic signalization issue when we play no role in signalizing traffic lights. Broward County and FDOT perform traffic engineering functions. Cities only enforce the traffic laws.

    And please don’t take my word for any of this. I invite you, ask the questions yourself. Call FDOT. Call county traffic engineering. Ask them. Do the homework. Learn for yourself.

    There would be no rational objection to longer yellows or longer intervals between green and red at signals EXCEPT if they made our roads less safe.

    Traffic engineers are the only professionals qualified to make those determination. For everyone else this boils down to a guess or a hunch. Often, a self-serving one that is — forgive the suggestion — suspect.

    And here’s some added editorial of my own to add a little extra zip to the discussion.

    Only the most low life politician would suggest doing nothing out of political convenience.

    Such people are disgusting.

    They are the reason chances are greater that grandmothers get run over on a street corners. Or that your elementary school child needlessly got thrown 50 yards off her bicycle on the way home from school. Our your husband or wife got t-boned into a wheelchair on the way home from the market.

    Doing nothing about a tough problem often helps the politician when they can grasp to some high handed reason to do nothing. Some even try to grandstand on high liberal soap boxes about it. This behavior helps politicians but it kills people. Do not be fooled.

    I’ve attended those funerals in my district. I’ve had to endure watching that grief. I’ve made those hospital calls. It’s NOT pretty. My own life was put at risk by a reckless red light runner. That was the most horrific crash I’ve ever seen.

    We have people texting while driving, painting toe nails while driving, reading books while driving. Not paying attention in a thousand ways as drivers recklessly maul down innocent others. It has to stop. We must relearn how to drive our cars safely.

    In Pembroke Pines we have chosen to take the responsible way. Not the sleazy politician way.

    Our choice is to responsibly avoid those horrors to the maximum extent we can through legal, well advertised and effective enforcement of the traffic laws. This is the price our residents are willing to pay for greater safety on our roads.

    If some of you still don’t get this, that’s regrettable. We may not be able to make you happy on this one. Still, you may thank us one day. I hope that day never comes. But sadly those odds are there.

    Angelo

  28. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Ha —

    With respect, this will be my last effort to help you logically sort through your problem. There’s just no point in continuing to offer repetition in the face of denial.

    It is NOT my battle with traffic engineers. I have no battle with them.

    It’s you who disagrees with their established professional standards.

    The day that State and County traffic engineers tell cities let’s go with longer yellow lights, we’re fully on board 100%. Cities have no say over that matter anyway. Traffic engineers set those standards. We simply live with them. Nobody in cities is stopping them traffic engineers from reaching that conclusion. They refuse to do so saying it would make our roads less safe.

    It’s impossible to make this point clearer to you. Take your problem to them. Please drive safely.

    Angelo

  29. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    And in the future kindly identify yourself as the National Motorist Association, which is a lobbying and special interest group that opposes red light cameras.

    Calling yourself Ha, Ha, Ha does very little for your credibility and kind of says something silly about your character. Be up front. Say who you are.

    Angelo

  30. Gary Biller says:

    Commissioner Castillo,

    There are several things in your posts here that require corrections, but let me start with two:

    1) No one from the National Motorists Association office has posted here until now. Ha, Ha, Ha is not a NMA employee.

    2) The NMA is not a special interest group unless you consider the driving public a special interest. We are supported by individual member dues, individual member donations, and some advertising by traffic attorneys and radar detector companies, not by any industry group. That is contrary to the support of red-light cameras by the deep pockets of the insurance industry. Our positions on the issues, including red-light cameras, are based on facts and analysis from published studies and reputable case histories.

    Please don’t start rumors based on speculation. The NMA’s objections to red-light cameras are clearly stated and supported at http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/objections.

    Gary Biller
    President
    National Motorists Association

  31. Buddy says:

    FROM BUDDY:

    The above comment from Gary Biller prompted me to explore his organization.

    The National Motorists Association is an interesting group that deserves some attention. Here is an excerpt from its website:

    Motorists have rights. We’ve been protecting them since 1982.

    The National Motorists Association is a driver advocacy organization that promotes:

    *Traffic laws fairly written and reasonably enforced

    *Full due process rights for motorists — in the courts, on the streets, and in their vehicles

    *Traffic penalties based on sensible standards that differentiate between responsible behavior and demonstrated unsafe behavior

    *Reasonable highway user fees assessed for maintaining and improving highway infrastructure, not for wasteful overhead or unrelated projects

    *Traffic safety produced by sound engineering solutions, not by arbitrary measures (such as speed traps or red-light cameras) designed to generate profits

    *Driver education emphasizing early advanced driving-skill development, both on-road and in controlled learning environments

    In addition, the nonprofit National Motorists Association Foundation was created separately to provide educational materials and manage a grant program that funds research projects and precedent-setting litigation cases that protect drivers’ rights and enhance public awareness of traffic safety issues.

    Check it out at http://www.motorists.org

  32. Casey Raskob, Esq. says:

    I am a Village Trustee in New York. I have to balance a Village budget every year, and it is tough. RLC and photo enforcement would be a great way to get “free” money for the general fund. I’ve read enough traffic engineering, though, to realize that I’d be getting money for the Village for what, at worst, would be technical violations. I’m also not pleased at a violation where a police officer does not intervene, and cameras don’t catch drunks, the unlicensed, and the uninsured. If cameras cost money, no one would ever put one up. Rearend collisions and other stupid driving increase in RLC intersections.

    The more responsible approach for a politician desperate to fill a budget hole is to cut, or find revenue elsewhere. Taking money from motorists for what are usually highly technical violations is underhanded.

  33. Citizen says:

    Mr. Raskob-
    well said, but NY common sense is not found in Fort Lauderdale, where yesterday they voted to add 15 more intersections to the 6 camera monitored intersections
    they really need the revenue and its been done under the guise of public safety

  34. James C. Walker says:

    FLDOT rules for yellows CHANGED in 2011 and I believe it was done deliberately to facilitate more camera tickets. Until 2011, yellows were to be set long enough for the posted limit or the 85th percentile speed of traffic, WHICHEVER IS HIGHER (my added emphasis). In 2011 the “whichever is higher” was removed from the rules. Therefore, whenever the posted limit is set artificially lower than the actual traffic speeds, the yellows are authorized by FLDOT be too short for the actual traffic speeds. THIS is less safe, but is VERY profitable. It is why red light cameras have exploded across Florida and why they are so profitable. FLDOT’s claim that this is proper and safer is simply false, but does facilitate huge profits for the state at $83 a pop from each $158 ticket. Also note, Mr. Castillo, that the FLDOT formula for yellows is a MINIMUM, not a maximum. Engineers are free to add more time to reduce violations, but rarely do so because it would gut the revenue stream.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI