Red light camera proposal in Dubuque met with protest
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
A hot rod issue in Dubuque brought people out to protest Tuesday night at a public input meeting for the city budget.
Dubuque is looking into red light cameras, and many people aren't too keen on the idea.
Some might call it an unusual pairing, members of the Dubuque Tea Party and the Occupy Dubuque movement, but people from both are teaming up to protest red light cameras.
Annie Jay, an organizer with Occupy Dubuque, attended Tuesday night's meeting.
"One big thing Occupy Wall Street is talking about and even the Tea Party is talking about is government interfering with the lives of individuals," she said.
The meeting Tuesday was for public input on the budget, but folks used it to voice their concerns about the traffic light enforcement cameras.
"It's cut and dry, Mike," one protestor told the city manager. "It's unconstitutional!"
"I think it's an intrusion into our privacy," Dubuque Tea Party member Jeff Luecke said. "There are a lot of studies that show they do reduce accidents at intersections, but there are also a lot of studies that show that they increase rear-end accidents at these intersections."
At Monday night's city council meeting, a majority of council members voted to move ahead with seeking proposals from camera companies.
"In the last two years, we've had over 5,000 accidents in Dubuque," city manager Mike Van Milligen said. "Over 500 of those have been injury-accidents. And if you look at all the intersections all over town, there are about 10 of them that account for 10 percent of our accidents."
He and police chief Mark Dalsing recommended the measure to the council.
"I think the benefits of the program at preventing accidents, preventing injuries, preventing property damage and saving lives is worth implementing in Dubuque," Van Milligen said.
Some protestors at the budget input meeting said the city's motivation is financial, not safety.
"The corporation that installs the cameras gets a cut of the profits off of it. Gets a cut of the fees, and that completely puts a corporate interest in our political system," Jay said.
"If the council approves the program, my recommendation would be, any revenue be used for traffic safety programs," Van Milligen said.
"It doesn't matter," Luecke said. "It's still revenue the city's not getting right now."
The city council will meet on Jan. 30 for a work session, led by Van Milligen, Dalsing and the camera company those men recommend, to learn more about red light cameras.
No public input session is yet scheduled for this matter.
This wouldn't be the first time Dubuque has seen red light cameras. Van Milligen said, about 10 years ago, Dubuque tested a red light camera, but it has long since been removed, and the endeavor never moved beyond that.
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