Monday, June 23, 2008

Mallory would veto cameras

Cincinnati won't ever have red-light cameras if Mayor Mark Mallory gets his way.

The mayor said Tuesday that he would veto any ordinance permitting them.

"I'm not convinced that they achieve their stated goal" of improved safety, he said at his weekly meeting with reporters.

It would be the first time Mallory used his veto. His predecessor, Charlie Luken, vetoed red-light cameras the last time City Council tried to add them in 2005.

Valerie Lemmie, city manager at the time, brought the idea from her previous city, Dayton, Ohio.

It takes six of the nine council votes to override a mayoral veto and, as of Tuesday, there weren't six council members who said they'd support the ordinance as written.

The four opponents: Chris Monzel, Chris Bortz, Jeff Berding and Leslie Ghiz.

But the votes could change as the debate continues.

Berding said, for example, he would consider voting "yes" if discussion in the law committee makes him think the cameras would improve public safety.

Mallory has said for months that he didn't think the cameras idea should come up when it did, late last year, as a part of council's 2008 budgeting process.

To help balance its budget, council included $1 million in anticipated fines, an amount council now knows definitely will not happen this year, and maybe not ever.

Columbus officials say they took in just over $140,000 in 2006 from 6,000 citations.

The issue won't return for any council discussion until September, after council returns from its summer recess, which starts next week.

That delay will allow council to know if the We Demand A Vote coalition makes its Aug. 1 deadline to collect enough signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot for a charter amendment banning the cameras.

They call the idea of red-light cameras Orwellian and want voters to decide whether cameras should be used.


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