Residents should celebrate the end of traffic-enforcement cameras in Redmond | Guest Opinion
June 26, 2012 · 9:36 AM
Editor's note: Tim Eyman, an initiative advocate who lives in Mukilteo, helped Union Hill resident Scott Harlan and several other volunteers with creating and organizing Redmond Initiative No. 1, which calls for a public vote concerning the use of traffic enforcement cameras in the city. Last fall, the Redmond City Council voted to terminate its use of red-light cameras at the end of January and the two speed ticketing cameras near Einstein Elementary School at the end of the school year. The speed cameras were turned off last Friday and Eyman sent out the following message to people on his email list, declaring June 22 as "Camera Emancipation Day in Redmond."
Redmond doesn't want to be another Lynnwood — good choice. All the ticketing cameras have been turned off in Redmond.
Your police department spokesman James Bove confirmed in an email late last week that the last of the speed ticketing cameras in Redmond were shut down last Friday. That follows the shut down of red-light cameras in early February. That's great, great news.
Thanks to our various local initiatives, Redmond joins Mukilteo (71 percent against ticketing cameras) and Bellingham (68 percent against ticketing cameras) and Longview (59 percent against ticketing cameras) in pulling the plug on those obnoxious ticketing cameras, transforming these communities into "Big Brother-less" zones.
I still remember when Redmond Mayor John Marchione said that our initiative effort to let the voters in Redmond decide on ticketing cameras was a "temper tantrum in the middle of the government process."
I do not think most Redmond citizens agree that exercising free speech rights is a temper tantrum. The First Amendment is not a temper tantrum. Redmond Initiative No. 1 was the first initiative in the entire history of the city. It was the first time the people felt so strongly about an issue that they decided to sign initiative petitions at a record pace to ensure a public vote.
Redmond's city charter contains the people's right to initiative and unless and until the mayor and city council vote to remove it, city officials should respect the people's right to participate in this time-honored freedom. The decision of the mayor and city council to obstruct Redmond Initiative No. 1 was wrong and disrespectful of the Redmond citizens who signed those petitions.
Our attorney Daniel Quick has filed the legal briefs before the appeals court and oral arguments will be heard this fall. It is a dangerous and unacceptable precedent to allow Redmond's mayor and city council to get away with not turning over initiative petitions to the county for verification. The law clearly states that initiative petitions must be turned over within three days and it cannot be optional for city officials to ignore the law.
Redmond area residents Scott Harlan, Nick Sherwood and Alex Rion, along with myself, are very proud to have co-sponsored Redmond Initiative No. 1 and pleased that we helped over 5,000 Redmond voters amplify their anti-ticketing-camera voices in the political process. And we are thrilled that the city of Redmond is no longer treating its citizens like ATM machines and have shut down all their ticketing-cameras.
June 22 should always be remembered as Camera Emancipation Day in Redmond.
Tim Eyman, Mulkilteo