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What does GOP Assembly hopeful and ex-San Diego city councilman Brian Maienschein have in common with Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel?

Maienschein enjoys the political backing of Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc, a controversial "red light" camera outfit that is rolling out a new high-tech version of its automatic traffic ticketing system across the nation.

And Emanuel is the reported mastermind behind a scheme to vastly expand Redflex's business in Chicago.

Maienschein's campaign disclosed in a filing with the California Secretary of State's office on Saturday that it had accepted $1,000 from Redflex the day before, April 20.

As for Emanuel, the Chicago Tribune reported last month that a close political ally, Greg Goldner of Resolute Consulting, is now a top Redflex strategist who stands to earn a sizable chunk of money from the mayor's new traffic program.

According to the paper, Redflex is "is well-positioned to make tens of millions of dollars from Emanuel's controversial plan to convert many of the red-light cameras into automated speed cameras."

"The mayor had a bill introduced in Springfield in October to let him transform much of the city's existing network of nearly 200 red-light cameras into the equivalent of automated radar guns near schools and public parks," according to the Tribune.

"With the Chicago police chief and schools CEO fronting the effort, Emanuel pitched the plan as a child-safety initiative and rolled to a quick victory at the Statehouse, despite questions about the statistics the mayor used to justify the push.

"Goldner and Kasper both said they never talked to Emanuel about the camera issue.

"But by last fall the interests of Resolute, Redflex and Emanuel had officially converged — though it would be nearly impossible for the public to know.

"The Emanuel administration has repeatedly denied Tribune requests for public records related to the speed-camera push, releasing a small fraction of the requested information months after the mayor's bill was passed by state lawmakers."

The Maienschein contribution is far from the first involvement by Redflex in San Diego politics.

As we reported in January 2008, the company was a client of a lobbying outfit founded by Tom Shepard, the political consultant closely allied with San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders and newly independent mayoral candidate and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a former Republican.

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mridolf April 24, 2012 @ 7:13 p.m.

Yo, Matt. Too man 'and's in your last sentence, Confusing. As for the subject, if the red light cameras were only allowed to ticket red light drive throughs, instead of the 85% ticket rate for rolling right hand turns, then they'd get more support. That's why law abiding citizens hate them. It would also be nice to know just how much of the violation payment goes to the government, and how much goes to Redflex. Also be nice to have that breakdown on the ticket.


srd275 April 25, 2012 @ 5:08 a.m.

Redflex's tenticles spread worse than that. Redflex is behind front groups too:

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/36/3605.asp "On September 27, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) held its annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio where it celebrated the "special achievement" of the Traffic Safety Coalition. This group, which is run by a public relations firm retained by the Australian photo enforcement firm Redflex Traffic Systems, accepted the Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award."

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/37/3744.asp ""The Texas Traffic Safety Coalition hereby brings this original petition for declaratory judgment against defendant the city of Port Lavaca and shows as follows," the lawsuit began. "Plaintiff Texas Traffic Safety Coalition (hereinafter 'TTSC') is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the state of Texas. TTSC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to make the roads and intersections in the state of Texas safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians."

As TheNewspaper reported last year, the Texas Traffic Safety Coalition incorporation papers filed with the Texas secretary of state named three directors: David Goldenberg, Gregory Goldner and David Smolensky. It is not a grassroots group. In fact, all three of those individuals are officers of Resolute Consulting, a public relations firm retained by Redflex. This arrangement allows Redflex to disguise its involvement in the suit."



SDHenry April 25, 2012 @ 10:12 a.m.

Everyone in California needs to know about Snitch Tickets, which are fake/phishing red light camera tickets sent out by the police in an effort to fool the registered owner into identifying the actual driver of the car. (Southern California cities using this "social engineering" tactic are Bakersfield, Corona, Del Mar, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, Garden Grove, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Laguna Woods, Los Alamitos, Loma Linda, Oceanside, Poway, Riverside, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Solana Beach, South Gate, Victorville and Vista.) Snitch tickets have not been filed with the court, so they don't say "Notice to Appear," don't have the court's address and phone # on them, and usually say, on the back (in small letters), "Do not contact the court about this notice." Since they have not been filed with the court, they have no legal weight whatsoever. You can, and should, ignore a Snitch Ticket. If in doubt, Google the term.


monaghan April 25, 2012 @ 6:53 p.m.

Many thanks to SDHenry for telling Readerreaders about Snitch Tickets. Does the list of clients include City of San Diego? Please respond so that we can know whether or not to ignore one, should we ever need to make such a decision.

Also, thanks to mridolf, for making the distinction about there being few heinous red light drive-through tickets and far more numerous rolling right-hand turn-on-red tickets. None can ever be explained to the errant motorist because there's no cop present and both types carry huge fines.

I read recently that LA has abandoned all red light camera ticketing for lack of motorist compliance.


jcwconsult April 26, 2012 @ 3:35 p.m.

Incestuous relationships between politicians and the red light camera cash register companies and/or their stealth lobbying groups are nothing new. There are millions of dollars to be made by the red light camera cash register companies and their business partner cities.
The systems are approximately 99.9999% about money and perhaps as much as 0.0001% about safety. In virtually every case, small changes in the traffic light engineering such as adding 1.0 seconds to the yellow intervals will reduce red light violations by MORE than the ticket cameras. The rea$on$ $ome citie$ u$e camera$ in$tead of $afer and longer yellow interval$ on the light$ i$ obviou$ to mo$t ob$erver$.
Note that using the too-short yellows with the ticket cameras often RAISES the total accident rate, but cities that want the revenue badly enough simply ignore the added risks to their citizens and visitors to collect the revenue. It is immoral, but quite profitable.

See our website for the science and if it makes sense to you, be in touch with your local officials to demand that cameras NOT be used and that the engineering be maximized for safety, not revenue. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, www.motorists.org, Ann Arbor, MI


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