- - Wednesday, July 27, 2011


$100,000 donated for fence project

PHOENIX — A fundraising website launched by state lawmakers to build more fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border has brought in more than $100,000 in donations in its first week of operation.

State Sen. Steve Smith, sponsor of the law authorizing the fence, says the total doesn’t include checks that recently have arrived by mail and which are now being tallied.

The Republican gave his fundraising update Wednesday to a legislative committee focusing on border security. The plan calls for the state to use donated money and inmate labor to build additional fencing along parts of the border, likely on state or privately owned property.

The federal government has already built about 650 miles of fences along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. Nearly half of that fencing is in Arizona.


Money-losing red light cameras are shut down

LOS ANGELES — The nation’s second-largest city decided Wednesday to shut down its traffic enforcement cameras because the program is losing $1.5 million a year. There also were questions about whether the tactic actually saves lives.

With a 13-0 vote, the City Council voted to stop issuing photo traffic enforcement tickets as of midnight Sunday, when a deal with an Arizona-based contractor expires.

City Hall will review procedures with the vendor to remove cameras at 32 intersections and deal with existing tickets.

However, officials won’t learn until later if the phase-out will cost the city more money, or if the vendor, American Traffic Solutions, must perform the work for free.

Some cameras operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will remain along bus and rail routes. There also are more than 30 other camera enforcement programs operating in other cities and venues within Los Angeles County.

The City Council’s decision was expected after the Police Commission voted to drop the program, which had ticketed more than 180,000 drivers since 2004.


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