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Is Newark Above the Law? More about red light camera tickets.

Is Newark Above the Law?

In a recent case involving a red light camera ticket issued at Cedar and Mowry in Newark, the Commissioner hearing the case ruled that Newark had not complied with a particular section of the vehicle code. This section said that Newark should have issued a Public Notice prior to activating the cameras. The Commissioner ruled that Newark had not done so and therefor dismissed the ticket.


Here is where it gets interesting. A news report (Channel 5) and a few letters from local residents questioned whether any tickets in the past were valid and whether the City had the authority to issue any future tickets in light of the recent ruling.


The result has been that the City Manager, John Becker, has said the City had investigated further and there were notices made to the public. The newly found evidence has been posted to the City of Newark's website. He believes the newly found evidence shows that the City had complied with the law.


The crucial point is not whether any new evidence can convince the local residents otherwise but whether such evidence can convince the Court. The disagreement is with the Court ruling. It was the Court's decision that said Newark had not complied with the Vehicle Code.


Meanwhile Newark has chosen to simply ignore the ruling and conduct business as usual. It continues to prosecute cases just 100 feet down the hall in front of a different Commissioner. There has been no effort as far as I know to notify the Court. Testimony by the Newark Police representative at trial continues to be given that the City has complied with the Public Notice provision of the Vehicle Code in direct opposition to the recent ruling.


Can Newark just ignore the previous decision and just continue business as usual before a different Commissioner? About 29,000 tickets have been issued for violations occurring at this one intersection (Cedar and Mowry). I am sure many of those would love to ignore the court's decision in their cases. Is Newark above the law?



Rob Sorensen July 02, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I will confess to a higher anxiety level while passing thru an intersection with cameras. I'd recommend starting a petition for those with sufficient angst for each City. Carping and endless imputing motives is not productive. Walk that talk, yo!
Jimbo Ludwig July 03, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Red light cameras are cash cows. Newark sits back and claims safety while the $$ rolls in. I want PROOF that public notices were posted. I saw none. Looks like we are going to have another broke city after the lawsuits!
Ellen July 03, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Roger, are defendants with tickets from that intersection able to object to the commissioner Newark is now using and request another commissioner for trial (specifically the one who decided that Newark had not provided the proper notice)? We cannot let Newark or our thoroughly rotten traffic courts in Alameda County off the hook! Those who would like to see yellow-light times lengthened by one second should be supporting AB 612 (Nazarian), a bill that passed the Assembly and still may be heard by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on July 9th. You can look this bill up on www.leginfo.ca.gov. Anyone familiar with the issue knows that increasing yellow-light times reduces violations AND accidents, but our friends at Redflex are putting up roadblocks. Redflex argues that longer yellow-light times encourage drivers to enter intersections further into the yellow phase, disrupt the flow of vehicles from intersection to intersection, and thus create a risk of increased crashes. (The Hayward City Council has already found that the opposite is true!) According to the Senate T&H bill analysis, the committee's analyst seems to be recommending that we take 612 off the table pending further Caltrans/California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC) review, possible referral to a subcommittee, and MORE DELAYS. We need to let the committee members know that the science is in. Caltrans has had no problem deliberately shortening yellow-light times at specific intersections to increase violations and revenue. It should be directed to increase yellow-light times to promote safety! PUT IN YOUR TWO CENTS! Committee information can be found at http://stran.senate.ca.gov/ or on the Safer Streets LA website (www.saferstreetsla.org). General faxes/emails can be addressed to Chairman Mark DeSaulnier. The T&H committee fax number is (916) 445-2209. The committee analyst's email is erin.riches@sen.ca.gov. You may want to cc Assemblyman Nazarian's analyst Cynthia Alvarez. Her email is cynthia.alvarez@asm.ca.gov.
April July 08, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Is California now a Red Light Camera Industrial Complex now? Seems like it. Soon, WalMart will have a traffic ticket pay kiosk in it.
Nadja Adolf July 09, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Nowhere is there a constitutional power to shorten the statue minimum on yellow lights in order to produce revenue for one horse towns. Nice try to deflect the argument to civil rights and claims of red light cameras reducing accidents - but the problem is that the shorter yellow light times, cameras or not, increase accidents instead of reducing them.

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