Red Light Cameras to Stay in Los Al, Garden Grove for … now

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


  • DiegoHenry

    Los Alamitos is small potatoes – they have only three cameras – but even
    small potatoes, when rotten, smell really bad. The most obvious indicator
    of something rotten in Los Alamitos is that the price they agreed to pay for
    the cameras is twice the rent paid by other SoCal cities having just a few
    cameras. Covina, Del Mar and Solana Beach are examples.

    On the positive side, a Los Al councilmember announced, during the council meeting, that Redflex had that morning agreed to remove the $30,000 early cancellation penalty the company had slipped into the proposed contract amendment. Without that penalty clause, the city will be able to cancel on 30 daysnotice. (The existence of that “poison pill” was brought to the city’s attention by members of the public.)

    In Garden Grove, the council did allow the operation to continue, but also ordered staff to come back to the council with a better statistical analysis of accidents. That slap to the staff’s face occurred because a member of the public submitted his own very detailed analysis using proper statistical methods and that analysis showed that the cameras haven’t made a statistically significant dent in accident rates. I think that once the council has a proper statistical analysis that has been “invented here,” they will vote to remove the cameras.

    And, for those who have taken the time to read down to here, here is your prize, a “get out of jail free” card you can use if you’ve received a red light camera ticket in LA County, your close neighbor to the north. The LA County Superior Court – our nation’s largest court system – has acted to put a lid on the out of control fines. The LA County court will not turn you in to the DMV if you don’t respond to a red light camera ticket issued by a city in the county. Or by the LA-MTA. Hard to believe to you can ignore those tickets? Search red light camera no consequence.

    Be careful out there!