A warning sign for a red light camera system. Garden Grove officials are considering banning them. (Photp  credit: unknown)
A warning sign for a red light camera system. Garden Grove officials are considering banning them. (Photp credit: unknown)

In votes this week the Los Alamitos and Garden Grove city councils stood by their cities’ use of much-debated red light cameras, opting to retain the automated speed traps rather than ditch them and despite a growing trend them as a traffic enforcement aide. The controversial devices have been removed from every other city in Orange County save these two, and have been dismantled in many communities around the U.S.

One of the groups on the front line against red light cameras is the National Motorists Association, a drivers’ rights advocacy group. James C. Walker The NMA’s Executive Director wrote the city of Los Alamitos protesting the council’s decision:

Dear Los Alamitos Officials,

There is a negative side effect of red light cameras that is often overlooked and poorly reported. They seriously damage local economies.

The Federal Reserve calculates the “velocity of money” at about 6, meaning $500 spent will circulate about 6 times in a year to produce about $3,000 in total economic activity over the course of that year. Since something like 75% or more of red light camera ticket fines go to Sacramento and the camera companies (usually in Arizona), each paid ticket permanently removes about $375 x 6 = $2,250 from any chance to benefit your local economy. This does serious damage to the local Los Alamitos businesses, their employees or potential employees, and ultimately the Los Alamitos tax base by reducing the health of your local economy.

I believe it is not good governance to do this much damage to your economy and those who depend upon its health.

It would be better for your economy to join the 75 California communities that have ended red light camera programs, or banned them before any cameras were used. Anaheim, Arleta, Bell Gardens, Belmont, Berkeley, Burlingame, City of Orange, Compton, Corona, Costa Mesa, Cupertino, Davis, East LA, El Cajon, El Monte, Emeryville, Escondido, Fairfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Gardena, Glendale, Grand Terrace, Hayward, Highland, Indian Wells, Inglewood, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lancaster, Loma Linda, Long Beach, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Manteca, Maywood, Montclair, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Newport Beach, Oakland, Oceanside, Paramount, Pasadena, Poway, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Redwood City, Riverside, Rocklin, Roseville, Rowland Heights, San Bernardino, San Carlos, San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, San Rafael, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, South Gate, South San Francisco, South Whittier, Stockton, Union City, Upland, Victorville, Walnut, Westminster, Whittier, Yuba City, Yucaipa.

Respectfully submitted,

James C. Walker
Life Member, National Motorists Association
Board Member and Executive Director, National Motorists Association Foundation

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