Politics

Scandal-Ridden Traffic Camera Company Given Red Light on Orange Co. Contract

By: Eric Giunta | Posted: April 9, 2013 2:45 PM
Red Light Camera
A red light camera company embroiled in at least three bribery scandals across the United States lost a bid to contract with Orange County, whose commissioners expressed concerns over the company's compromise of “core values.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the seven commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to select American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to expand the county's red light camera program from 10 intersections to 90 before the end of 2014. In so doing, they rejected a lower bid by Redflex Traffic Systems, which has been implicated in bribery scandals in at least two other jurisdictions.

The vote came with a caveat: ATS must meet Redflex's offer of $15.7 million, some $800,000 less than what ATS has proposed.

Staff from Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs' office confirmed to Sunshine State News that commissioners expressed concerns over Redflex's history of shady dealings, which violated the county's “core values.”

SSN previously reported that Redflex scored highest in early staff reviews of competing bids for the project, despite the fact that the company had recently lost its Chicago contract after a year-long (and continuing) investigation by the Chicago Tribune implicated the company in a $2 million bribery scheme involving at least one city official.

At the Tribune's instigation, Redflex conducted its own internal audit, canned some if its top executives, and is now exploring possible bribery in two other unnamed “geographies that raise concern.”

SSN also reported that Redflex is also seeking a contract with the city of Pensacola.



Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at (954) 235-9116. 

Comments (6)

Henry
11:24AM APR 11TH 2013
These are obviously nothing more than revenue generators for the city. If a law could be created that required the funding (100%) taken for a violation go to some nobel cause vice the government, you'd see a huge drop in these things being used.
James C. Walker
11:04PM APR 12TH 2013
That has happened, Henry. Some venues have required all the proceeds to go for something like the schools. It was funny, then, how the cities that used them all of a sudden "for safety" decided they did not need the systems that were costing them a fortune when they didn't get the money.

Red light cameras are for-profit scams that need to be banned in every state, as they are in some already.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association, Exec. Director-NMA Foundation
James C. Walker
2:24PM APR 10TH 2013
It is good that Redflex was disqualified as a for-profit business partner with Orange County and the State of Florida to bid for installing up to 80 more red light camera cash registers which will collect $158 a pop from mostly safe drivers tricked into making split second violations with deliberately improper and less-safe engineering of the Orange County traffic lights.

However, allowing ATS to choose the intersections for cameras virtually guarantees another type of corruption. ATS will choose intersections for maximum profitability, not maximum safety.

It would be MUCH better if Orange County just added one second to the yellow intervals of all its traffic lights, both ones planned for cameras and all the others as well. Straight through violation rates would drop by 60% to 90% and the false "need" for red light camera cash registers would evaporate. Plus safety would improve and the risks of higher rear-end crash rates with yellow intervals deliberately set too short for the ACTUAL approach speeds of at least 85% of the vehicles would end.

And, why would Orange County plan to do huge economic harm to the area by shipping about two-thirds of all the camera revenue to Tallahassee and Arizona. It is hard to understand why county officials want to damage the County's economic health so drastically.

Respectfully,

James C. Walker
Life Member, National Motorists Association
Board Member and Executive Director, National Motorists Association Foundation (see our website for the science of safer traffic lights)
Paul Henry
11:50AM APR 10TH 2013
"I don't think it's appropriate for us to congratulate a company that has this type of core value failure," said Commissioner Fred Brummer

Yep, it's far better to use one whose VP impersonated local residents to drum up support for automated for-profit law enforcement!

"In its next expansion, the county plans to target other crash-prone intersections"

Crash-prone? All I read up to this point was about money. Of course, that is not unusual in automated for-profit stories. It's not like the county would list the number of red light violation (RLV) crashes at each of these intersections for the past 1,2, or 5 years.

"In the next few months, the vendor will evaluate whether red-light runners are causing the crashes at about 40 intersections and decide if one or more cameras should be installed, an official said."

Truth at last! This how it is done- it's NOT the police or local government that decide where to place the devices. $$$

"Critics say the devices invade drivers' privacy and are used as revenue generators by local governments."

Some say they also infringe on our basic rights, and that turning law enforcement into a for-profit scheme is a bad idea. All we know is, only one honest politician has admitted the devices were "packaged" (sold) as a revenue generator. She's called Charlotte Rodstrom.


"In the future, there is significant revenue to be generated by this venture"
- Former Gulf Breeze, FL Police Chief Peter Paulding in April 2011 on their automated for-profit law enforcement program.
Stephen Donaldson
11:25AM APR 10TH 2013
banthecams.org/Red-Light-Camera-News/the-sb-1342-reform-bill-has-been-gutted-by-camera-side-bill-not-worth-supporting-as-it-stands.html

• THE RIGHT TURN ON RED RLC TICKET PROHIBITION HAS BEEN REMOVED!
The Language needed:

flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/1342/BillText/Filed/PDF

Line 306 thru Line 310
Neither a notice of violation nor and a traffic citation may not be issued under this section for a right-on-red violation.
• LONGER AMBER TIME REQUIREMENT (ADDED YELLOW) HAS BEEN REMOVED!
The Language needed:
Line 412 thru 414
The minimum yellow signal display duration on traffic control signals shall be based on the posted speed limit plus 10 percent along with the standards set forth in the Florida Department of Transportation’s Traffic Engineering Manual.
BAN THE CAMS NOTE: Idealistically 1 PLUS ITE is best.
• MOTORISTS RIGHTS provisions Gutted!
THIS BILL IS NO LONGER A REFORM BILL WITHOUT THOSE PROVISIONS!
Stephen Donaldson
11:23AM APR 10TH 2013
RLC are a scam!

Most of the "violations" continue to be:

1. right turn on reds (many FL towns are ignoring the prohibition against right turn on red RLC tickets).
2. stopping on or over the stop line.
3. split second mistakes that longer ambers stop.

ATS is no angle either when it comes to ethical issues either. VP Bill Kroskes astro post come to mind. banthecams.org/Red-Light-Camera-News/supposedly-fired-ats-vp-kroske-in-2011-using-ats-email-to-undermine-voter-referendum-in-murrieta.html

But what is really disturbing is the fact that cops might be working directly and indirectly for ATS.

1. Cop in ATS town had asked ATS for a job while bringing up a camera contract. banthecams.org/Red-Light-Camera-News/lynnwood-officer-asked-ats-for-job-and-other-offered-to-market-for-ats.html or heraldnet.com/article/20110818/NEWS01/708199929 (www. dot banthecams.org/attachments/1607_Manser%20Job%208;19.2011%20DH94169818.pdf)

Quote: Manser on March 26 wrote to an ATS official, saying that she'd be at the conference. Her email pointed out that the company's $648,000-a-year contract with Lynnwood was set to expire in November.
"Let me know when you might be available to chat about it on the phone," Manser wrote. "I would like to get ahead of the game on getting it ready for renewal."
Manser then added a postscript noting that the company reportedly was doing well and that she was hoping to move soon.
"If you have any idea if I might qualify for something with ATS let's talk. Thanks!"

2. Cops doing marketing for ATS. www dot thenewspaper.com/news/35/3581.asp
Quote: The distinction between employees for a private photo enforcement firm and taxpayer-funded public servants blurred in the city of Lynnwood, Washington. Emails between city officials and American Traffic Solutions (ATS) suggest a cozy relationship developed where both sides were willing to perform the duties of the other in terms of marketing and public relations.

Lynnwood Police Sergeant Wayne "Kawika" Davis, for example, used official government resources and time to come up with a marketing plan to sell for the privately held firm at a conference held at the Tulalip Resort Casino in June.

"Ray, I really believe this is a great venue for ATS exposure," Davis wrote in a May 19 email to ATS project manager Ray Pedrosa. "I have some ideas that really could market ATS in WA, ID, OR and Canada. I know you are already in some of these areas; however, there is a lot more business to be had. Is there someone in marketing that you might
turn me on to?"


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