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Citizens for Safer Streets
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
CITY OF LEAGUE CITY ADMITS ILLEGAL USE OF RED LIGHT CAMERA FUNDS
ELECTION LAWS ALSO VIOLATED
COMPLAINT FILED WITH GALVESTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY JACK ROADY
Wednesday May 2nd at 1pm Byron Schirmbeck, organizer of the red light camera election in Baytown and League City commuter, will be holding a joint press conference with several local League City residents to reveal information about the city of League City’s red light camera program and the upcoming November election on red light cameras.
Facing growing public outrage over its red light camera program the League City council voted to place on the ballot the question of whether or not to renew the city’s contract with camera vendor Redflex when it expires in 2014. This was an attempt by pro camera city council members to head off any petition efforts that would have ended the program sooner as the votes in Houston, Baytown, College Station and Dayton have.
1.Texas transportation code 707 limits what cities with camera programs can spend their profits on. Expenditures are limited to traffic safety programs. League City violated this law by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on non traffic safety related items such as; $71994 for a military style "tactical observation platform", $55,000 for a fingerprint station, $52275 for a crime scene imager, $20,000 for a video, image and audio evidence enhancer, $8400 for side armor plates, $7800 for rifle optics, $5342 for cell phone forensic software, $5000 for computers and audio for training rooms and $3750 for entry rifles, The total illegal expenditures could well be near a half million dollars. League City has already admitted some of these expenditures are illegal and are working on refunding the account and plan to ask the Texas Attorney General for an opinion on the other items.
According to the most current League City Council City Manager’s update; “Safelight program purchases: In response to an inquiry from CM Becker, the city attorney has completed his review of the City’s use of funds generated by the red-light photo enforcement program and has suggested that three items – a fingerprint station; a repeater/receiver; and a video, image and audio enhancer – be funded via a different source. These items total approximately $83,000; we believe we can make the necessary adjustments within the police department’s current-year budget, and will approach Council for any approvals that may be necessary. We still plan to seek an opinion from the Texas attorney general to clarify the statute for us and other cities operating red-light photo enforcement programs."
2.In a collaborative effort with the camera vendor to influence the election, League City violated Texas election law by using public funds for political advertising. On the city’s website there are numerous false claims about benefits of red lights cameras, The city is also running televised political advertisements disguised as PSAs on the local public access channel 16 with the intent to influence the November election. Violations of Texas election code title 15 concerning using public funds for political advertising and failing to disclose the true source of the communication are class A misdemeanors with a maximum punishment of a fine of up to $4000 and one year of jail confinement. A complaint has been filed with Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady, (copy included), as well as the Texas Ethics Commission.
We are asking the League City Mayor and City attorney and District Attorney conduct a complete and thorough investigation into these serious violations of Texas law as well as any criminal punishment that might be appropriate.
Citizens For Safer Streets
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