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Complaint Against Red-Light Camera Lawsuit Shot Down

The complaint filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleged the backers of a lawsuit against the Murrieta red-light camera initiative should be required to file political financial disclosures.

A complaint filed against the backers of a lawsuit that is aiming to derail the Murrieta red-light camera ballot measure was denied.

Murrieta resident Bob Kowell filed the complaint with the Fair Political Practice Commission, alleging the lawsuit's proponents should have been required to form a political action committee and file financial disclosures.

FPPC did not agree.

"Under the (Fair Political Practices) Act, a payment, in part, is made for political purposes if it is for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the action of the voters for or against the qualification or passage of any measure," wrote Gary S. Winuk, chief of the FPPC Enforcement Division, in a letter to Kowell.

"The FPPC has advised that payments made in connection with the pre-election legal challenge to the constitutionality or legality of a measure were not for political purposes and not reportable," the letter stated.

Kowell alleges that because the anti red-light camera group must pay legal fees and file them under their political action committee, the proponents should also be required to.

He said he was disappointed by the denial of his claim.

"Why they don't have to create a PAC is beyond me because it is political," Kowell told Patch.

The lawsuit was filed by Steve Flynn of Murrieta, who served as a Public Safety and Traffic Commissioner for the city and was instrumental in bringing the red-light cameras to the city in 2005.

"This just tells me that in the eyes of the court, they are saying this is not political," Flynn said, about the FPPC ruling. "That tells me a lot right there."

Flynn's attorney is Charles H. Bell, Jr., of Sacramento-based Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk.

Flynn has said he does not know who is paying the attorney fees for the firm that approached him to join the suit.

the November 2012 ballot initiative seeking to remove red-light cameras from the city is not up to the voters because traffic laws are regulated at the state level.

A decision on whether the lawsuit will be accepted—which would prevent the measure from appearing on the ballot—i.

"Even if I can't get it off the ballot at least I'm bringing attention to the fact that the people were misled," Flynn said.

BRUNO TRAVANTI July 01, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Roy...either choice makes Flynn out as a F-O-O-L, in capital letters !
jim monaco July 05, 2012 at 01:57 AM
tell me that over a $500.00 fine is not cruel and unusual punishment. some crooked politician is getting a kickback, we just dont know who; YET.

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