A citizen-backed referendum on red light cameras in Florida might not make it to a ballot because the state’s leading provider of the technology has filed a lawsuit against petition-gatherers and the county’s Supervisor of Elections.
American Traffic Solutions confirmed to a CBS affiliate in Tampa Bay that it has entered a legal fray between the city council of Brooksville, Florida, and a citizens group in order to stop a referendum from ever coming to fruition. The city objects to the the company’s entrance into the public policy dispute.
Tampa law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt told the local station that it incorporated the Keep Florida Roads Safe group in early September before filing lawsuits to prevent voters from deciding on red light cameras. The firm has represented ATS in the past, but would not give details regarding its representation this time around.
“ATS’ typically-forthcoming spokesman, Charley Territo, kept repeating a carefully-worded email statement, “ATS supports the coalition and its efforts to promote red-light safety cameras,” when asked about its connection to the lawsuit, the station reported. The company has spent $1 million lobbying Tallahassee within the last three years on red light cameras and possesses the majority of the state’s contracts, the station reported.
Pat and Shirley Miketinac, the defendants in the case, told the station, “It amazes us that this small city can garner this much attention, except that we could set a precedent in Florida. … Just imagine if the citizens found out that they could have a say in their own government. That might set a ‘dangerous’ precedent indeed!”
Members of the city council believe that the Miketinacs’ ballot initiative is unconstitutional because they say it would void the city’s current red light camera contract with Sensys America and prevent future city councils from entering into new contracts, the station reported.
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A judgment hearing for the city’s case against the Miketinacs is slated for October 14. A decision on whether or not the Keep Florida Roads Safe group will be allowed to participate has not been determined.