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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother just received a ticket for allegedly running a stop sign near the top of Reseda Blvd. We did a ride on July 4th up there. Supposedly, this involved the stop sign where the K-rails narrow the road down to 1 lane each direction. It is very steep and a lot of the downhill drivers sort of roll the stop.
Here's the problem: the ticket is not from L.A. City or L.A. County, but from some company (MRCA) that operates the red light/stop sign cameras for the Santa Monica Conservancy. Unlike city and county operated cameras, this one only films the back of the vehicle. They give you a link to the video on a website and it looks speeded up, but there is never an angle showing the driver. How can they enforce a ticket like this when they can't prove who was driving? That day we did a shuttle run and 3 different people drove the vehicle through that stop sign. I did some checking and there are lots of scams like this going on around the Santa Monicas and Beverly Hills riding areas. Apparently, they can't actually attach points to your license or notify your insurance (despite what the letter says), but they can turn you over to a collection agency for non payment, which could ding your credit score.

WTF happened to due process? How can a company do something like this without being required to prove you were the actual driver? Even the city and county toss out these tickets if the driver is unrecognizable in the photos because that is a requirement for prosecution. I'm pretty sure MRCA just hopes people will acquiesce to their extortion and pay. They offer a hearing option, but you have to pay the fine and an additional $25 (making it a $200 ticket) and then who is going to hear it? Someone from the company? If this isn't part of the city or county traffic judicial system, it could be anyone with an agenda or bias for the company. No thanks. They've already shown a disregard for due process.

I'd like to hear from anyone that has been a victim of this company and if/how it worked out. I smell a class action lawsuit. At the least, this kind of thing seems heavy-handed and unconstitutional. At worst, it is illegal. Thoughts, please.
 

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I have no idea why people don't destroy the cameras.........especially with some sham operation like that. Do it at night and the odds of getting caught are next to none. But thats just me.
 

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sounds like time for some late night ops with wire cutters and a sawzall. I'd find out what kind of appeal process is in place and get Larry H. Parker on them.

If they don't have the drivers face they don't have a case. - Johnny Cochran
 

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Good point with getting a lawyer involved. I know the guy "Mr Ticket" in San Diego has made great strides in getting camera tickets thrown out. There have been a handful of studies that have shown that cameras have lead to an increase in accidents at busy intersections (believe it or not). This is going to get me started on a serious rant..... Not only are red light cameras popping up everywhere, so are the fat f-ing motorcycle cops (all with anus tickler mustaches) who are obviously past their prime (and real) crime fighting years that are blanketing the city with their radar guns writing petty tickets to people going 5 mph over the speed limit with the tickets costing $300+ add traffic school and potential for increases to insurance rates. These guys are one level above a meter maid and probably have not arrested a real criminal in years. Its become blatantly obvious that once city's have run into financial issues they buy a bunch of radar guns and reallocate lamest cops from attempting to fight real crime to shaking down citizens just as what happens in Tijuana for big bucks for petty reasons. For the moron who is sure to ask me "well, were laws broken?", the answer is yes going 1mph over the speed limit is breaking the law BUT the fines don't fit the crime AND the ticket probably would not have been written in the first place if there were not financial issues with the city.

Sorry, rant off.
 

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red light/stop sign cameras and all the bs that goes with them have zero to do with the law and everything to do with revenue generation. I went to the santa monica conservancy website and read some of the boxerfienstienisms in the legal docs. What a joke.

I've spent my whole life in the outdoors and backcountry and in recent years the trend I notice from the so called rangers is no longer stewardship of the land or any real understanding of the outdoors but rather a mall copish condescending power trip. I used to always stop and talk to rangers or they would stop and talk to me but now when I see them I usually just roll on past simply to avoid being hassled for some random reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't really have a beef with city or county red light cameras, per se. At least, for the most part, they are obvious and marked and they don't circumvent due process by convicting you without proof or fair recourse. But this is a whole 'nother matter. Under what authority can a private company do what this one is? If it's a public roadway (it is) then it falls under purview of the state vehicle code and as such all protections of due process attach. There is no due process in forcing people to submit by threat and coersion, which this is. I'm sure my brother could ignore the cite as far as any points on his license or increase in his insurance, but the impact of a negative ding to his credit report is very real.

I'm going to do all I can to bring this injustice to the attention of someone that can do something about it. I'm all for safer streets, especially where we bicyclists ride, but I'm not willing to give up the protections of the Constitution for them. I need to get the word out and find others who have been victimized by this illegal practice.
 

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I have heard that a private company can not issue a valid citation. Google it to verify. But that is what I'm hearing. It's becoming a problem to the point to city is looking to buy out the concession. Btw, always do a full stop at that camera regardless.

--
Bill
 

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My understanding is that all of the ones in San Diego are run by a contractor, not the city. As a matter of fact, they got busted big time when one of the few useful city council members got a boat load of tickets proving that the cameras were grossly miscalibrated (of course on side of writing more tickets) on purpose. My understanding has always been with the cameras, if they cannot see your face, there is no case! If Johny Cochran was still alive I am sure he would have come up with that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^^^I'm hearing and reading much the same thing. Got some people to talk to tomorrow.

For the record, my issue is not the citation itself. If the law was broken than the violator deserves to pay for it. My primary concern is the lack of due process. Like I said, 3 different people drove that same vehicle through that stop sign that day as we did several shuttle runs of Caballero Canyon. It is unfair for the vehicle owner to get tagged for what one of the other drivers may have done. It is also unfair for this company to be taking money from people without having to actually prove the violation. If the companies that contract with the city and county for their red light cameras have to play by the rules, why doesn't MACR?:mad:
 

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I'm not sure how this "ticket" is enforced, if not via the DMV process. If the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy merely alleges something, issues a bill and never offers a hearing, this seems to be lacking the due process the OP refers to and I'd wonder why folks don't start issuing similar bills to the kooks at the Conservancy.

If the ticket does offer a Court hearing, thereby imbuing these dorks with quasi-governmental authority, then there's important new law on the books, as of June, that the local Cities HATE and are working together to "depublish". We discussed this on Dirt Treaders back then; here's a paste from my posting...

...an Orange County Superior Court appellate panel ruled on May 25th that red light photos are inadmissable hearsay. Thank a man named Tarek Khaled, who was pissed-off enough to pursue the matter after the traffic court commissioner allowed the state to use photos taken by third parties not present in the courtroom.

The appellate division ruled that a police officer who did not see the violation nor operate the camera cannot provide the legally necessary foundation to support admission of red light camera photos into evidence. "Here, the officer could not establish the time in question, the method of retrieval of the photographs, or that any of the photographs or videotape was a reasonable representation of what it is alleged to portray..." wrote the court.

The court also rejected the state's argument that the standard hearsay objection for "public records" or "business records" could apply, inasmuch as Redflex Traffic Systems isn't a public entity and there was nobody present from Redflex qualified to testify in regard to the practices of the company and authenticity of the records (same foundation objection as above).

Oh, you'd be wanting this little part: People v. Khaled, 30-2009-304893 (Orange Super. Ct. Ap. Div., filed May 25, 2010)


Redflex, mentioned above, is the company that San Diego, Orange and many other jurisdictions contract out to for their camera enforcement. Just substitute in your company, and you're ready to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just watched the video posted to the website listed on the notice of citation from Photonotice.com. Interesting that there is no timecode or date stamp on the video (which does indeed look sped up), but there is a stamp that says "MRC REST 01" in the lower left. There is also this disclaimer: "Due to formatting constraints this video is a representation of the original evidence and is not intended for court purposes."

So, the video they show you on their website as proof of your infraction is good enough to extort you into paying the fine, but not good enough to show in court as evidence. Everything about this screams scam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
EBasil said:
Is it linkable? Can you capture and YouTube it?
Unfortunately, no. It is a Flash video and I can't even download it. The parent company is Redflex, which is based in Australia. How is an offshore company able to access DMV records and subsequent personal info when you pay online without the privacy protections required for the exchange of such data? Even if you pay by check you are still giving your personal banking info to a company that is not on US soil and not covered by the protections and laws of this country. That cities and counties are subjecting residents to such insanity is just mind-boggling.:eekster:
 

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Miami_Son said:
Unfortunately, no. It is a Flash video and I can't even download it.
You can capture flash video, google it for a few different options.

Wish I could help more, good luck.
 

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Been there got that ticket. Look at it as a park donation Thats how I got over it. It is a stop sign, with a lot of warning signs. I coasted through after a long ride $100 "Sucked "
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No offense, but my brother and I are not willing to give up our right to due process as easily as that. And it is now a $175 ticket. Nothing to sneeze at in this economy.
 

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Here's a lawsuit regarding this issue...i think.

Lawsuit Filed over Stop-Sign Cameras

By Sue Pascoe, Staff Writer

2010-04-08
Joe Edmiston, executive officer of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority may have finally gotten his wish.

  When Pacific Palisades Community Council members questioned the MRCA's decision to use automated stop-sign cameras in Temescal Gateway Park at a January 2008 meeting, Edmiston said, 'Sue us. Maybe the court will settle this clearly. This body [PPCC] doesn't have adjudicatory authority. I invite people to sue us.'

  The challenge was finally answered last week (on March 29) when a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Fareth Estwick, Jody Bice and Phillip Robbins, Jr. by Michael Braun of the Braun Law Group in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that the MRCA imposed an administrative ordinance that was inconsistent with rules established in the California Vehicle Code (CVC).

  Complaints include: 1) stop-sign camera photos do not include the driver's face, 2) a governmental agency cannot enter into a contract based on number of citations generated, 3) signs in the park don't conform to Department of Transportation standards, and 4) the camera tracks the speed of a car, which is currently illegal in California.

Specifically, the lawsuit argues that according to the CVC, an automated enforcement system must provide a clear photograph of the driver and the vehicle's license plate. The Redflex cameras installed at two locations in Temescal Gateway Park supply only a video of the back license plate. The owner of the car is determined through the Department of Motor Vehicles and then issued an administrative ticket. The fine is paid directly to MRCA and does not go on the driver's record. Drivers are told that if they don't pay the administrative fee, it will be turned over to a collection agency.

  The lawsuit also contends that according to the CVC, a governmental agency cannot enter into a contract with a supplier of an enforcement system that includes payment based on the number of citations generated. When the cameras were installed in Temescal in June 2007, MRCA paid Redflex $20 out of every $100 generated for a ticket. (In May 2008, MRCA amended the contract, agreeing to pay a flat fee of $4,400 per camera. MRCA, with five operative cameras'two in Temescal, one in Topanga and two in Franklin'now pays Redflex $22,000 a month, which was confirmed through an e-mail with MRCA spokesperson Dash Stolarz.)

  In regards to traffic and vehicular signs in Temescal not conforming to specifications adopted by the DOT, Palisades resident Jack Laxer fought his November 2008 ticket because he found the signs confusing. His attorney, Steve Boyers (a former Community Council chairman and now counsel for the plaintiffs on the lawsuit), told the Palisadian-Post last December after Laxer won his fight, 'We were informed by MRCA counsel that the traffic signs that Mr. Laxer found confusing, and which contributed to his citation being issued, have been changed by the MRCA to prevent future occurrences of this problem.'

MRCA changed the signs around the time of the lawsuit, but Stolarz said that Boyers was incorrect about Laxer being the reason for changes. 'The signage in question was never part of the legal requirement,' Stolarz reiterated. 'Signs are there to make sure park users are informed. If we are not communicating clearly, we want to change it.'

Community Council member Jack Allen, a former Beverly Hills city attorney, has decried the cameras as illegal since their installation because he thinks that they deliberately ignore state laws and national standards.

MRCA Contract Legal Counsel Lance Bayer told the Post in July 2007 that the Vehicle Code covers public highways, but not necessarily roadways through parks, essentially leaving the MRCA to police its own roads.

When Edmiston appeared before the Council in January 2008, he noted 'It's true that this isn't done according to the Vehicle Code and for a good reason. That is an internal road or driveway, not a state roadway. Your driveway is not subject to the Vehicle Code. Because this isn't a public road, we're held to a different standard.'

In April 2008, Edmiston requested and received an informal opinion from the Attorney General's office which stated: 'Government Code section 53069.4 authorizes local agencies to adopt ordinances and to make the violation of those ordinances subject to an administrative fine or penalty.' That opinion has since supported the MRCA's continued deployment of the stop-sign cameras.

When the MRCA was asked for a comment about the filed complaint, Stolarz wrote in an April 1 e-mail: 'As of today MRCA has received no notification from anyone (except the Post) of a 'class action lawsuit against the stop-sign cameras.' A subsequent letter to the editor from Edmiston is published adjacent to this article.

Allen commented on the lawsuit, 'Basically the complaint mirrors what I have argued since the time the stop-sign cameras were installed: that they are in violation of the Vehicle Code, despite Joe Edmiston's arguments to the contrary and the legal opinions of his hired guns.

'The enforcement of citations issued as the result of the use of these cameras by MRCA exposed them to the risk of a class-action lawsuit that could cost MRCA far more than has been collected,' Allen continued. 'The risk just wasn't worth the potential consequences.'

The complaint asks for restitution to all parkgoers who improperly incurred charges and/or expenses, reasonable attorneys' fees, costs of the lawsuit and pre- and post-judgment interest.

MRCA's Executive Officer Edmiston Responds to Class-Action Lawsuit

  The automated enforcement program in Temescal Gateway Park is a fair and effective public safety measure. We fully expect to be upheld in the courts. To the extent permitted by law, we will collect attorney fees from the plaintiffs for a frivolous lawsuit wasting the taxpayers' money.

  The lawyers who filed this lawsuit want to allow people to bust through stop signs. For a violator, this would be a nice situation, and that is why they have paid for this so-called 'class action suit.' But from the standpoint of the park visitor it is an invitation to a public safety hazard.

Temescal Gateway Park has an admirable safety record because park patrons know that the law will be enforced and that they will be safe'at least to the extent humanly possible.

  As part of this public safety program, stop-sign violators are confronted by scientific photo evidence. I challenge each one of the so-called 'class action plaintiffs' to authorize release of the video evidence of their violations. Post them on the Palisades Post Web site. Let the public judge.

  Everyone who visits Temescal Gateway Park knows how many pedestrians use this park access. The violators object, and for obvious reasons, they want to keep from paying a fine.

  Shame on the 'class action' lawyers who would endanger the public in defense of their lead-footed clients who can't stop behind a stop sign.

Joseph T. Edmiston, Executive Officer,

Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority
 

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Nice tone from the MRCA - yeah, shame on people who want due process, shame on those who might have a legitimate beef about their ticket. Just shut up and pay. This dictator style applies equally to their approach to trail access/maintenence. They've been given a little bit of govt bureaucrat power and now it appears they view their role as not so much looking after the mountains on our behalf, but rather as protecting their own personal little kingdom.

The more I learn about this organization the less I like them. They're paying $264,000/year for 5 cameras??? Even at $175/ea it means the first 1500+ tickets don't even go to the conservancy, but to Australia to pay for the equipment. I wonder if there're any MRCA members on the Bell city council?
 

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I'm familiar with that camera at the Temescal Canyon parking lot. It's absolute bullsh*t. No one speeds in there anyway. Basically you are pulling out of a tiny parking lot after hiking the trail and you slowly approach the intersection with a stop sign. Because you're going about 1-2 mph at this point does it really make a difference if you fully stop or roll through? You're not going to hit anyone. If you see someone coming, you stop.
For this arsehole to use the excuse that it is for the public's safety is absolutely ridiculous. It is 100% a revenue generating scheme. (and I almost wish I had thought of it, but I'm not enough of an a$$hole to do something like that). This guy is not concerned with your safety.
 
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