Those milling around the Father's Day Car Show in Murrieta on Sunday might have been approached to sign a petition.
Murrieta resident Diana Serafin is leading an effort--Ban the Cams--to get the city's red light cameras taken down.
"We plan to be at the Birthday Bash, too," said Serafin Monday, referring to the City of Murrieta's 20th Birthday Bash, scheduled for Sunday at .
She can also be seen most days in front of Walmart, Stater Bros. or Albertson's, or walking door-to-door gathering signatures. She also offers voter registration as part of the signature drive.
Serafin must gather 4,500 signatures by September in order for an initiative to remove the cameras to appear on the ballot. By Sunday, Serafin said she had reached more than 3,850. Once all the signatures are verified, the initiative will be passed on for a decision by City Council, which can approve or decide to add it to the next election.
Serafin plans to collect at least 6,000 signatures, in the event some signatures are rendered null. Signers must be registered voters and live in Murrieta.
The petition making its way around Murrieta comes at the same time Los Angeles City Council is pondering whether to eliminate the cameras in their city. American Traffic Solutions is the company that carries contracts with both Los Angeles and Murrieta and is the largest provider in North America.
"Red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety," said Kate Coulson, manager of communications and outreach for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based American Traffic Solutions.
"More people are injured in crashes involving red-light running than in any other crash type," Coulson said.
The Los Angeles Police Commission voted 5-0 earlier this month to end the program, citing concerns that it is running a deficit, in part because state law does not mandate that judges actively enforce traffic tickets generated by the cameras. It is up to the citizen to make good on tickets.
The discussion about Los Angeles' cameras is expected to be picked up again by its city council tonight. At least two council members have indicated they will ask the police commission to keep the cameras active on a month-to-month basis.
The Los Angeles Police Commission has until July 31--when the program is set to expire--to extend the photo red light program.
to ban the cameras statewide died in the hearing process in April. Cook's office has said it will work with law enforcement to fine tune the bill and bring it back.
In Murrieta, the city's camera contracts expire this year. Cameras are located at Murrieta Hot Springs and Whitewood roads, Murrieta Hot Springs and Margarita roads and Nutmeg and Clinton Keith Road.
City Council voted in January to renew the contracts, plus add two more cameras. But Murrieta Mayor Randon Lane said in April that the city was working on a contract to keep only the four cameras in place.
That means the two additional cameras proposed at freeway off-ramps at northbound Interstate 15 and Murrieta Hot Springs Road, and at southbound Interstate 215 at Murrieta Hot Springs Road, will not be going in anytime soon.
"We are kind of in limbo. There is a lot of cost to putting more equipment in," Lane said at the time. "We are working on a contract that will allow us to keep these in place until we see how the initiatives go. Then if they pass, we won't be out that money."
The City pays a monthly fee to operate the cameras, which under the new contract is $21,035.
The cameras capture photos of drivers if they run a red light, as shown in the attached YouTube video by American Traffic Solutions (ATS). Once accepted by ATS, photos are then sent to officers at the Murrieta Police Department for review. If the offense if confirmed, drivers receive tickets in the mail. Fines range about $500.
The city stands to profit about $4,703 per year under the contract. Council members have talked about giving that revenue to charities.
"I think a lot of people start to have a second opinion when we tell them we don't make money off (the cameras)," Lane said.
"We don't set the fines, the states does," he added.
City News Service contributed to this report.