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Capitola council to vote on more years of red light cameras
by Henry (editor [at]
Monday Aug 21st, 2017 3:55 PM
On Capitola's council agenda for this coming Thursday (Aug. 24) is a staff recommendation to extend the City's red light camera ticket program for another two years.
Here's the errors and omissions I've found in the staff report.

1. They claim that the cameras have brought a BIG drop in accidents, but they graphed ALL accidents while they should be looking at just injury accidents (fender benders must be excluded as reporting of them varies with the police department's willingness to respond to a minor accident). Further, staff may have cherry picked the years; to represent accidents before the cameras were installed, they chose just one year, 2005, which was the year the cameras were being installed. Curiously, their graph doesn't include the years right after the cameras were installed.

2. Not mentioned in the staff report is State Senator Jerry Hill's bill, now in the Legislature, which will halve the fine for a rolling right turn. That's important, because 38% of Capitola's tickets are for right turns.

3. The staff report says that Capitola officers have "incorporated a 'spirit of the law' approach when considering the issuance of a citation," and the staff report's graph of citations issued does show a significant drop in citations in 2016. Further, early 2017 figures - not in the staff report but available on the Web - indicate that 2017 could be about 1/3 lower than 2016. The downside: Under the contract's Flexible Payment Plan, the camera supplier gets only the money coming in from fines, leaving that for-profit company with an incentive to increase ticketing.