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Judge Rules Against Murrieta Red-Light Camera Ballot Initiative

Friday's ruling by Judge Daniel Ottolia sides with the argument brought forth that traffic regulation is a matter of statewide concern.

A Riverside judge on Friday ruled in favor brought against the legality of a Murrieta voter initiative seeking to ban red-light cameras from the city.

"It removes it from the ballot subject to any other action," said Charles H. Bell of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk, the firm representing Murrieta resident Steve Flynn in the suit.

by Judge Daniel Ottolia sides with the argument brought forth that traffic regulation is a matter of statewide concern. It also states the initiative is flawed as written because it does not call for the adoption of an ordinance.

"Instead, it improperly directs the Murrieta City Council to adopt an ordinance banning the use of red light cameras within the City of Murrieta," Ottolia wrote in the ruling.

The measure

"The presence of an invalid measure on the ballot steals attention, time and money from valid propositions on the same ballot. It will confuse some voters and frustrate others, and an ultimate decision that the measure is invalid coming after the voters may have voted in favor of the measure tends to denigrate the legitimate use of the initiative process," Ottolia wrote.

The attorney for the Murrieta residents who gathered signatures for the initiative, Diana Serafin and Robin Nielson, told Patch he will appeal Friday's ruling.

"We are going to seek a stay so that the Registrar (of Voters) and City Clerk can proceed [with the ballot initiative]," said Peter Lepiscopo of Pacific Justice Institute. "The judge has skipped over the requirement that this challenge happen promptly. It should have happened in November 2011 when the City Council approved the initiative. Instead, they waited until the last minute. That is why we are going for the stay."

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office, which was also named in the lawsuit along with the city of Murrieta, has said it has an Aug. 15 deadline to publish the ballot.

Serafin declined to comment for this story, "under the direction of her lawyer."

Flynn, on the other hand, told Patch Friday's ruling "was a good win for the citizens of Murrieta."

Flynn was a Public Safety and Traffic commissioner for the city of Murrieta when the red-light cameras were implemented.

"These people are being selfish about these cameras," Flynn said. "There are 104,000 people who live here in Murrieta and they are one small group. If they hate these cameras and living in one of the safest cities in America, they can get out. Why can't they realize I do care about the citizens of Murrieta?"

Questions about who funded Flynn's lawsuit still remain.

"The lawyer approached me. They know my name. I was the chairman (of the commission) at the time," Flynn said.

Bell said should Lepiscopo appeal the judge's decision, "he will have an uphill battle."

"We are pleased with the judge's decision. We think it was the right decision legally," Bell said.

Rob August 04, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Why don't you freedom lovers ban cars... that would solve everything. That or use stats, not embelished nonsense, to support a position. You have neither, so you reduce the discussion to idiocy and threats.
Cathy Neumann-Bearse August 05, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Kathryn .. so sorry I am at the other end of town by Murrieta Hot Springs and Whitewood .. a neighbor of mine was hit not once but twice at the same intersection .. he can't even walk anymore and uses a walker. This is thing that irritates me the most!! GET OUT OF MY TOWN IF YOU DONT LIKE THE RED LIGHT CAMERAS!!!!!
Cathy Neumann-Bearse August 05, 2012 at 05:37 AM
By the way .. not sure who Klimer is .. but I am not him .. I AM ME and we need this cameras!! Like I said in the beginning... VICTORY!!!!!
Jeff K August 05, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Yes Cathy VICTORY!! Thanks Steve Flynn for taking it to a judge and to the CA state law. Thank you for stopping these conspiracy theorists Diana Serafin, Bob Kowell and Robin Nielson. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for stopping them from doing the wrong thing on red light cameras. We need them for our own good.
Jeff K August 05, 2012 at 11:31 AM
LOL.....Do you know how cowardly and sick you sound to the people of Murrieta, Roy Holmgren?? Any poster that agrees with my stance is NOT me. Next, your way of settling an argument is crystal clear. You can't argue the point because you have nothing to stand on. But worse, your way of violence toward people who don't see your side is demented and crazed. Now, people this sick man, "tHE GORILLA" or Roy Holmgren says he came to my home, talked to my neighbors, even posting my address on here. Isn't that taking it too far Roy Holmgren?? Steve Flynn beat you with his lawsuit. A judge looked at the CA state laws and made a ruling and you lost AGAIN, in court. Conservatism loses every time its put up against the US Constitution or CA State laws.....and Roy Holmgren gets more out of control and has less control of what he writes. Look out posters- if you make "The Gorilla" angry, he will challenge you to an actual fist fight, knowing that you would logically decline. Then he will stalk you.....he will find you on the internet and stalk you. Roy Holmgren is a wife beater, he has had 6 restraining orders, issued to two different women. His children were abused and sent to therapy. Those judgments are posted on the Riverside Court site, easily accessed by anyone. Roy Holmgren is a sick individual. Prone to losing his temper and striking out at people he disagrees with.
Susan Marsh August 05, 2012 at 05:52 PM
For who? Who wins when the people are not allowed to vote on how much or how little control the government has over them? The streets are not safer so the citizens do not win; the data and facts show the cameras are improving safety. Oh, the camera companies win.
Susan Marsh August 05, 2012 at 06:07 PM
My opposition to the cameras is that they are not accurate. That who gets the ticket is at the whim of the law enforcement officer reviewing the camera photos. The film is reviewed, certain people are chosen to receive tickets. Not everyone whose photo is taken is given a ticket. This not fair and equal treatment. Who do they let slide through? Their mom, other officers, city employees......... The cameras are inaccurate in that if you STOP at a red light and then proceed to turn right (which is legal in CA) the camera can and sometimes does take a picture. Making it look like you ran a red light when in fact you made a full and complete stop. I understand this happened to one of our council members recently. They were surprised the camera flashed but no worries, they did not get a ticket. I did get a ticket making a right on Whitewood after making a full and complete stop. The camera at Nutmeg and Clinton Keith flash when the signals are not changing; taking pictures of people that have green lights.
Lisa H August 05, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Jim, we are talking about red light cameras in Murrieta located in Riverside County. You are talking about LA County and snitch tickets in other various cities. Although may be interesting reading for some, completely irrelevant to the task at hand. It's interesting that many people think that if you post a long dialog with statistics and web links and percentages and useless facts that all of the readers are going to think that the poster must know what they are talking about and therefore we must follow his advice. Nevermind the fact that it was useless facts and statistics and a bunch of bs or links to websites from 1982 or to conspiracy theory websites. It would be great if we just stuck to the facts based on the article at hand and nothing else. Maybe then you would actually gain some credibility. Just a thought. Until then, to me, you are all just blowing smoke up my ....
Lisa H August 05, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Yes, accidents do go up. Not from people running red lights or slamming on their brakes too fast (because there is no law against braking too fast). It is caused by the individual following too close, being inattentive, or driving too fast to stop for the hazard ahead of him. Don't blame the guy in front of you, blame yourself for trying to get there too fast and unsafely.
The Gorilla August 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
There Jeff Kleiner goes again. Projecting what he is to me and others. Cowards don't show up in REAL LIFE. SICK people hide behind blogs and throw lies and deceit through blogs and will never be seen in the communities they speak about . Sick people twist facts to gain favor. I didn't challenge Jeff to a fist fight . I challenged him to a charity fight in a UFC ring watched by referees to benefit Cancer. Jeff declined but calls me a coward? What a joke! I have your number buddy. . You need to worry. You can wish that I am a coward. You can wish me short and fat and bald all you want however that is just your fantasy of how you think things are. I am actually protecting this community from Jeff Kleiner the scumbag who has not only stalked me but at least ten others in the Murrieta Temecula area. People I know in real life who would step forward and sign legal statements right now if asked. Jeff KLEINER has stalked now for almost 7 years.. and many many people hundreds Jeff...know this in real life. Your world is just in your own mind and does not encompass the real world of Southwest Riverside County. Keep coming at me Jeff and as the sick person you falsely assert I am I will just come at you harder and never stop. I can put you in cuffs with one phone call now. It is all set up. I have no hate for you Jeff. I just think to are a sick and insane person that may be dangerous to the point of snapping. AGAIN JEFF KLEINER PROJECTS HIS BEHAVIOR ON OTHERS. YOU JEFF ARE SCARY
The Gorilla August 05, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I know people for real in Murrieta Jeff. Your fake view of me and fake facts run counter to the person I am. That is why you are a joke. You just have no credibility whatsoever because no one REALLY knows you. You are just a nobody on a blog.
The Gorilla August 05, 2012 at 06:53 PM
The argument about Redlight Cameras is over. This is now a battle for local voting rights for Murrieta and even California. People coming on here claiming victory are also claiming victory for those that do not want to see democracy in action. I understand when we vote, and as an example PROP 8, and in the process deny civil rights to people. I understand that that needs to be overturned by courts. However in this case a civil right was not even an issue but even if it were we should at least have the right to a vote. So what is the precedent? We can now have initiatives judge shopped and thrown off ballots prior to elections? This is a disgusting loss of voters rights. Steve Flynn thinks he is a hero. He is now going to be the face on web sites devoted to the deterioration of our right to vote. We need to rise up whether we were pro cameras or against cameras. Next time pro camera people the shoe may be on the other foot and your issue may be denied a place on the ballot using similar tactics based on this precedent. Wake up and see what the real issue is now.
Jim August 05, 2012 at 08:44 PM
If Lisa is a recluse who never leaves Murrieta, and also has no friends, then she is correct: My advice about Snitch Tickets and LA County tickets would be "completely irrelevant" for her because Murrieta does not appear to use Snitch Tickets, and certainly is not in LA County. But since most people frequently visit other cities and also have friends, I submit that my advice is perfectly relevant for the majority of participants in a conversation about red light camera tickets. I also am willing to bet that if Lisa receives a Snitch Ticket, she will immediately follow my advice - and save $500 - despite her claim that I provided "useless facts... and a bunch of bs."
James C. Walker August 05, 2012 at 09:46 PM
If the appeal and stay do not work, citizens of Murietta have only one option left. They must identify every elected and appointed official who ever supported the cameras. Vote out the elected ones to replace them with officials who respect the will of the people, and then insist the newly elected ones fire all the appointed officials who ever supported the cameras. It needs to be made clear that the will of the people is paramount in issues like this, regardless of former officials and judges that feel otherwise. Sooner or later it is likely that the source of the funding for the suit will become known, and it is HIGHLY likely it will be ATS or one of their PR groups. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI
Mike August 06, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Rob, Here's a link to a federal study that basically says that red light cameras do save money, even though there is a slight increase in rear end accidents versus right angle or t-bone accidents, which are usually much more severe. I could care less what LA does, I do not live there, nor do I want to. Check out the link: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/05049/ Susan, I really, really do not understand your reasong that "The film is reviewed, certain people are chosen to receive tickets. Not everyone whose photo is taken is given a ticket. This not fair and equal treatment. Who do they let slide through? Their mom, other officers, city employees". Quite frankly, this is no different than if an actual police office saw someone commit the offence. It is always up to an officer to decide if someone broke the law. My wife also received an erroneous right turn ticket and it was dismissed immediately. Did you go to court?
Mike August 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Rob, can we have some facts from your side. All you state is that LA dropped red light cameras. Is there in real fact that you have that states that the cameras are more dangerous than not?
Mike August 06, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Sue, what does my attending a city council meeting have to do with my defending of others rights to free speech? I guess I do not understand the "context of a statement", as you put it, maybe you should enlighten me as to your meaning?
The Gorilla August 06, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Mr. Walker firing them all is not an option. It is going to get done!
Jim August 06, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Susan is correct that there are people who slide thru and don't get a ticket even though they did the violation. But she underestimated the number. In California govt. employees and their families and adult children have confidential plate status on over 1.5 million vehicles they personally own. Yes, over a million private vehicles. Redflex or ATS is not able to look up the owners of cars with confidential plates, so no tickets get issued. This immunity is allowed by Cal. Veh. Code 1808.4. This insanity - $500 for a rolling right - would not have lasted for a minute if our elected officials and govt. employees - or their families - actually were in line to get the tickets. But they are immune.
Mike August 06, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I get your point about favoritism, Jim, however I fail to see how someone getting off of a red light ticket is any different than someone that is pulled over by the police getting off without a ticket. Also, as I stated, my wife got her right turn on a red vacated in court. No biggie. Didn't cost us a dime, maybe a little time, but that's ok, we're good.
Jim August 06, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I mentioned the 1.5 million confidential plates and Mike asked me how that favoritism is different than the favoritism govt. employees enjoy when they're pulled over and then let go because they work for the govt. Answer: Suppose that a govt. employee's teenage (or adult) kid is driving a vehicle with the confidential plates. If he is pulled over, he may escape getting a ticket but you can be sure that his parent will hear about it (via the unofficial but nevertheless very effective city hall Grape Vine), and the kid's dangerous driving will be stopped. But if the kid goes thru a camera, no ticket will be mailed (Redflex or ATS cannot obtain the address), the parent will not hear about the dangerous driving, and no action will be taken to keep the kid from endangering you and me.
The Gorilla August 06, 2012 at 07:59 PM
SWF022329 Felon warrant Jeff Kleiner 28521 Gladstone Court, Escondido He needs to be arrested for this old felony warrant.
Jeff K August 06, 2012 at 08:04 PM
See what I mean about uncontrolled anger that Roy Holmgren has. He will create websites about people, he has about me. He will connect every person now that Mr Flynn has ever known trying to find anything he can use against him. Steve Flynn, tell your friends to tell him the opposite of what is the truth, so he goes off and spreads lies. Its sick for someone to do, but its fun to watch him chase his tail. He'll get more frustrated and get angrier.....he has a mental issue along with uncontrolled anger.
Jeff K August 06, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I stalked ten people Roy?? Please name the ten people I stalked?? No one. When someone stalks you, you go and research who the sick demented individual is. All I had to do is look at the Riverside County record. Its there for everyone to see. Your a wife beater Roy. A child abuser. Those are terrible things....horrendous things. Who I am and what I do matters only to you. LOL....lets fight for charity tough guy?? LOL LOL LOL. You are a stalker Roy.....LOL.LOL.LOL.
Jeff K August 06, 2012 at 08:11 PM
So to Roy, its OK if you have his same opinion for a James T Walker to make a comment, even though he has no connection to Murrieta telling voters not to vote for the City Council candidates of their choice, but a homeowner, should remain quiet. Your not only mentally ill Roy Holmgren, your strange. You don't think beyond your nose. LOL. I am constantly laughing at you.
Jeff K August 06, 2012 at 08:16 PM
But the people who know and respect Steve Flynn and that should be all of Murrieta for stopping this Extremist Right Wing group, the Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly from breaking state law and forcing a traffic law to be replaced. The judge said, no matter how many votes, you can't overturn a traffic law unless the local government finds a need to change the law. CASE CLOSED. CONSERVATIVES LOSE AGAIN!!!! Just like Prop 8, a majority cannot force a law that violates the Constitution. It doesnt matter if everyone votes for it. It is still unconstitutional.
The Gorilla August 06, 2012 at 08:17 PM
SWF022329 Felony warrant Jeff Kleiner 28521 Gladstone Court, Escondido He needs to be arrested for this old felony warrant.
The Gorilla August 06, 2012 at 08:18 PM
you are like the pot calling the keetle black. I dont care how much you laugh.
Laura September 21, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Good move, the cameras are a waste of money. According to Los Angeles City Police Commission they are costly and does not make the streets safer. ABC NEWS: " The city's Police Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday calling for an end to the traffic cameras, claiming their costly presence does not actually make streets safer. The decision still has to be approved by the City Council, but according to Councilman Dennis Zine, the move was a right one. "The program has many flaws," he told ABCNews.com. He said that Los Angeles loses about $1 million annually to keep the cameras up. Tickets which are issued cost drivers about $500, but for each ticket the city receives less than $150, he said. In addition, the program is not supported by the courts, making the possibility of getting caught less threatening to motorists, and the violations do not go on drivers' records, Zine said. "If more and more people realize there are no consequences, more and more people aren't going to pay," the councilman said, meaning the cameras will cost taxpayers even more to maintain the system."

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