Houston voters rejected the city’s red light camera program in a hard-fought ballot contest yesterday, delivering an immediate $10 million hit to an already dire budget situation at City Hall, reports the Houston Chronicle. A majority of voters put a decisive end to the use of the devices, which had been used to issue more than 800,000 tickets and collected $44 million in fines since 2006.
“This is a victory for the people,” said Paul Kubosh, an attorney who defends red light runners and collected more than 20,000 signatures with his brothers to get the referendum on the ballot. “The voters said that they do not like cameras.” City Controller Ronald Green said the loss of the devices would amount to a $10 million shortfall in revenues, a sharp decrease that would greatly complicate efforts to close a shortfall that was already nearing $80 million. Jim McGrath, a spokesman for Keep Houston Safe, said he did not anticipate that a committee backed by the Arizona-based company that runs the city’s red-light camera program would try to fight the election results in court.