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Puyallup council approves red-light cameras, talks electronic dog leashes

Post by Sara Schilling / The News Tribune on May 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm with 15 Comments »
May 16, 2012 9:46 am

Puyallup will keep its red-light cameras. The City Council on Tuesday approved a five-year extension of the city’s contract with its camera vendor, American Traffic Solutions.

The vote was 4-3, with council members John Hopkins, John Knutsen and Tom Swanson against.

Hopkins said he wanted to see the council agree to dedicate the revenue from the cameras to intersection safety projects. That idea may be raised when the council begins discussing the 2013 city budget later this year.

The council’s contract approval Tuesday wasn’t a surprise.

In March, some council members balked at the proposed five-year extension and asked for a study session to talk more in depth. But during and after that study session, held last month, a majority of the council’s seven members indicated they were leaning toward continued support of the cameras.

The city has used cameras since 2008; today, they’re at six intersections.

Also Tuesday, the council talked briefly about electronic dog leashes, following a presentation from Jason Wilson of Metro Animal Services. Wilson said his agency, which provides animal control for seven communities, including Puyallup, and is operated by the City of Sumner, doesn’t want to see the city change its leash rules to allow electronic leashes in lieu of traditional ones.

Concerns include that electronic leashes don’t provide enough control, require significant training to be effective and can have reliability issues, he said. They also pose perception problems, namely that it’s not obvious to enforcement officers and the public that they’re in use, Wilson said.

A resident raised the idea of updating the city’s leash rules after he was ticketed for allowing his dogs to walk in Wildwood Park while on electronic leashes instead of traditional ones.

Under existing city code, dogs must be on leashes in public places. However, the code doesn’t specify what constitutes a leash.

While there didn’t seem to be much, if any, support on the council Tuesday for allowing electronic leashes in place of traditional ones, members did ask city staff to bring back language for strengthening the city’s leash rules.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. So now we know for certain. In Puyallup, Red Light Cameras are not for safety, they are purely for revenue generation. If they were for safety, the council would have voted for Council Member Hopkins’ ammendment to apply the fines to safety programs instead of city employees salaries.

    Its also good to know the price of a vote to buy on the Puyallup Council. Turns out its $1000 of election support, the price of Vermillion to switch his swing vote. There have now been two occasions since he came into office that he has rewarded his principle supporters (the Police Guild) with raises for city staff and now their pet revenue source.

    Vermillion is a real piece of work folks.

    The next time city hall tell you something is needed for safety, don’t trust them. They lie !

  2. MedicineMan says:

    If IQ88 knew anything about city budgets, he would know that during the budget development process is where you determine what revenues go in what pot not during discussions of the contract extension. Listening to the council, the majority to include Vermillion are supportive of redirecting any revenue from red light cameras into a traffic safety fund.

    Also based on IQ88’s comments about police contributions to Vermillion’s campaign, I looked at the public disclosure commission’s campaign filings for all of the city council members. Vermillion and all other candidates received NO FUNDING from the Puyallup Police Department.

    IQ88 might ought to do research on the topic before he or she litters the digital world with incorrect information.

  3. MedicineMan says:

    If IQ88 knew anything about budgeting, the dedication of funding is a budget process not part of a contract approval/disapproval process. Listening to the council during this session as well as the study session reveals that the majority of the council, to include Vermillion, are supportive of placing any revenues from traffic cameras into a traffic safety fund.

    Based on IQ88’s accusation of Vermillion ‘returning favors to the police department for political contributions, I checked the PDC filings for the last campaign for all candidates that ran. The Puyallup Police Association to include any other police entity DID NOT provide any councilmember/candidate with funding. They did endorse specific candidates which was published in the TNT.

    Before IQ88 litters the digital world with incorrect information, he or she ought to fact their data before pressing the “submit button” otherwise one may draw the conclusion that the “88” is an inflated number.

  4. The $1000 of political contributions was a one third share of the cost of the mailing by the Poilice Guild endorsing Vermillion as their preferred election candidate. That is why it did not appear in the State PDC database.

    Medicine Man clearly needs to do more homework or take more meds (or did the supply shop get outlawed in Puyallup ?)

    So why did 4 of the council members refuse to endorse Hopkins’ amendment ? – Cop out.

  5. ATS does “reward” certain politicians. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/37/3765.asp

    “Arizona-based red light camera firm American Traffic Solutions (ATS) handed another $5000 check to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on March 29. Such donations are key because the Show Me State remains one of the last jurisdictions where automated ticketing machines are in use without the sanction of the legislature. That has put the systems in a precarious legal position.”


  6. CrazyJim says:

    I live in Puyallup and I agree with the red light cameras and keeping dogs on real leashes.

    You’d be surprised at how many apartment and condo owners have dogs. They walk by my house all the time on the leashes and still do the nasty in my yard. At least the real leashes keep them out by the sidewalk.

  7. sincere says:

    If you pay close attention to your driving you will probably avoid the camera traps.That being said I would like to know the Locations of what intersections are manned by the cameras so I can avoid them as I feel the cameras are installed primarily for the income they bring in.Of course you will hear the cry of its for the publics safety!

  8. royboy361 says:

    The Genie is out of the bottle and won’t go back in.
    These cameras are expensive and require lease payments each month to the company. If the City takes in less revenue then the lease payments then they will have to be removed. Simple math.
    Don’t run the red light cameras and they won’t make any money.

  9. bobjr94 says:

    They should have put the red light cameras extension on the ballot and let the people decide, but I guess that’s not how it’s done anymore.

  10. igotdabombfool says:

    bobjr94 – The people are the problem. Why should we let them decide if they can’t “decide” to drive correctly in the first place.

  11. MedicineMan says:

    IQ88 if you consider that a contribution, then if memory serves me correctly they endorsed four candidates, the tree districts and at large. Based on what I saw last night and during the study session, there was plenty of support for it during the budgeting process not in the contract extension. Learn budgeting and finance at the government level before criticizing others on how to construct a budget.

  12. Municipal budgetary operations are a joke. Particularly in Puyallup. Created by unqualified amateurs, approved by councils compiled of local special interests and washed up 3rd rate disk jockeys and executed by staff who could not get a job in the real competitive market. Puyallup is hooked like a junkie on its $500K share of camera fine money.

    When it all fouls up, 4 council shamateurs raise taxes, permit fees and fines to pay for the debacle.

    Happens every 2 years.

    Back to the subject at hand. Again, why did 4 council members not validate their argument that red light cameras are for safety and not revenue generation by appyling the fines to safety programs? That is the big issue here. Nobody on the city payroll wants to answer that.

    The answer is, they are all filling their own greedy little pockets inclusive of cash from camera fines.

    PS- IQof88 has successfully budgeted government programs in excess of $6B never once going in the red (Med Man).

  13. justpeopletalk says:

    To IQof88. Stop giving excuses as to why you can’t get more involved (vs. get more critical) and start putting that IQ of yours to work making things better. I didn’t see your name on the last ballot. Buck..buck…bucket!

  14. jcwconsult says:

    So, the city gets 5 more years of reduced safety compared to simply setting the yellow intervals longer on the lights to reduce violations by MORE than the ticket camera cash registers achieve.
    Like so many things in politics, when the actions don’t make good sense and violate the principles of doing the right things for the constituents, just follow the money trail to the REAL motivations.
    See our website for the academic research on how safer longer yellow intervals on the lights are more effective than the predatory red light camera cash registers.
    Puyallup citizens have been “had” …… again.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, http://www.motorists.org, Ann Arbor, MI

  15. DenialDave says:

    What’s bizarre is they would hang the citizens with a long five year extension, rather than a two year extension. Why?

    We are now up to 15 states that have BANNED cameras through legislation (so essentially, they are illegal). Multiple cities have done likewise, and several more states are working on it right now.

    And if I remember correctly, Puyallup didn’t have proof the cameras were actually reducing injury and fatal collisions. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

    And we all know full well that the camera companies sue any city that tries to break a contract – even if the cities have legitimate reasons for pulling the cameras (like they don’t work, don’t make money, or actually increase collisions).

    These lawsuit payoffs are based on the time left on the contract. So why would the council put the taxpayers on the hook for an extension that is so long? And why on earth isn’t the MEDIA asking?

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