Mayor Annise Parker will ask Houston City Council on Wednesday to allow her to turn off the controversial red light cameras.
The action follows a series of reversals in the city’s policy begun after the city council first established the program in 2006. Citizens petitioned for an election to stop the program and the election passed. The cameras were turned off but left in place pending resolution of the issue. However last year a federal judge ruled that the election was invalid and the city turned the cameras back on and began issuing tickets again.
American Traffic Solutions threatened litigation to recoup its losses suffered during the period that the cameras were not in operation. On Saturday, Parker said that negotiations with ATS broke down and she accused the company of holding the city and its taxpayers hostage.
“Settlement negotiations between the parties ensued but were unsuccessful, culminating in receipt of a formal demand dated August 8, 2011 from ATS for $18 million dollars to settle the litigation if the cameras were to be turned off,” said the resolution that will be considered by the city council on Wednesday. “Whereas, it was the intention of the mayor to place such settlement demand on the August 17, 2011 city council agenda to enable Council to vote to accept or reject it, but with a recommendation from the mayor that it be rejected on the grounds that it was wholly unreasonable, and that the cameras be turned off in light of same.” Resolution