Friday, May 31, 2013

Ohio Town Implodes Over Speed Camera Debacle

We previously reported how an Ohio court shut down a speed camera program run by Maryland based contractor Optotraffic in the town of Elmwood Place Ohio which created an enormous public outcry.  Now not only is the speed camera program out of commission, but 4 of the 6 members of the Elmwood Place council have recently resigned citing the speed camera situation as part of the reason, and leaving the town government in shambles and without even a quorum to pass legislation.

“This is one of the most stupid situations I’ve ever seen” stated one of the two remaining council members, who has stated he had considered resigning himself.

Ohio has no state regulations governing the use of speed cameras, and an Ohio judge shut down the revenue producing program calling it a 'game of three card monty' which subjected motorists who wanted to contest tickets to unfair administrative hearings with no courtroom due process.  Optotraffic and the town have fought back against the ruling and are attempting to have the judge disqualified from any future speed camera cases.

Elmwood place is facing a class action lawsuit over the cameras.  Among those who have successfully contested tickets from the cameras were 150 members of a local Vietnamese church, where they claim a 20% drop in attendance after their members started getting speeding tickets, some for traveling as slowly as 26mph.   “In Vietnam, we lived in a country controlled by Communism. You were so afraid of secret police in that way," stated Father Chau Pham who founded the church.

Maryland based Optotraffic still lists a 'Testimonial' from Elmwood Place town officials on their website, claiming the town as as yet another satisfied customer.

Optotraffic also runs several speed camera programs in Maryland, as well as in the Ohio cities of New Miami and Lucas.  Citizens in the town of Lucas have started a FaceBook Page calling for an end to the cameras there.