Marty's marketing group after "studying" the city's scam-era program for a little over 2 months came up with a whopping 13 page report (read it here). (Ok... so the thing's really 81 pages, but the other 78 pages are attachments and the cover page.) In essence the report contains the following recommendations:
• Lowering fines for a first offense fines from $100 to $69, the cost of a ticket and fees issued by an officer for running a red light.You'll notice if you read the report, that there are a couple of objectives that the "Blue Ribbon Study Group on Automated Enforcement" failed to achieve; the most important of which was to determine whether or not scam-era "protected" intersections reduce accidents. Despite the fact that the system has been in operation in some parts of the city for over two years, the task force reports that "[w]hen the STOP program was implemented, a protocol was not in place to evaluate its effectiveness in preventing crashes and deterring violations at automated intersections."
• Creating an option for low-income violators to pay in installments.
• Keeping fines the same for repeat offenses.
• Conducting regular independent reviews of the program.
• Directing revenues from the program to traffic safety and to educating the public about the program. A reserve should be kept, as the task force anticipated lower revenues from the cameras as people change their driving behavior.
• Renegotiating the contract with Red Flex, the company that runs the cameras, so the company is not paid a percentage of fines. Under the current system, the company is paid through fixed fees, as well as a portion based on citations and fines issued.
• Conducting an immediate assessment of the hearing process for people who dispute the tickets, along with periodic reviews.
• Reviewing the placement of the cameras. Although most of the cameras were placed at the city's most dangerous intersections, some intersections have produced low numbers of violations.
The cameras at Montgomery and Carlisle boulevards Northeast produce about 25 percent of the program's total violations.
• Creating technical standards for where to place the cameras, which would determine all future decisions to install or remove cameras.
As a result, every time the city has made the claim that accidents have decreased at scam-era intersections you can't take them at their word because they simply DO NOT KNOW. Their numbers are simply more examples of Marty's greenhouse gas at Environmental Health, fuzzy math at Animal Control, or the number of officers at APD.
Another important omission is the overall legality of the program with respect to the authority of the city to implement a parallel legal system that supersedes both municipal and state law, and the question of due process with respect to the inherent conflict of interest of the program's hearing officers.
Both of these questions are raised in at least one of the class action lawsuits that are currently on file in District Court. The arguments against the city, the mayor, and Redflex are in our opinion compelling at the very least. (We have posted the most recent filing by attorney Paul Livingston here.)
Yet another un-addressed concern is the lack of verifiable calibration involved particularly in the case of the fixed scam-era speed detection units. Exhibit 11.1 attempts to convince readers that because the system has 4 sensors and two magnetic loops used to calculate speed they couldn't possibly malfunction. As you've seen right here on this website, the system does malfunction and there's almost no way for a defendant to prove a system malfunction.
Marty's Task Farce was as flawed as the system itself. It proceeded from the same assumption that the scam-era hearings do - namely that the scam-eras are infallible and therefore you are guilty until you prove otherwise. In this case, the program should continue because the numbers provided by the city and APD don't disprove that the system works.
(Sidebar)In the final analysis, The Mayor's Blue Ribbon Study Group on Automated Enforcement was created by the mayor and produced a result that was as predictable as it was flawed. It's the old GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) theory in action. Insert faulty data on one side and get faulty conclusions on the other.
We'd remind you here that a PRC analysis of the raw crash data provided by APD found that accidents didn't decrease and at some intersections actually increased (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
But don't worry; we're all just probably suffering from a case of "misconception." We don't really understand how the system works. We just need a bunch of billboards, TV ads, websites, bumper stickers, and a spokesperson or two. (Where is Trish Hoffman when you need her?)
Our concerns of due process, legality, accuracy, fairness - aren't really concerns at all. We're all guilty and apparently stupid, so pay your fine and shut your mouth because Marty's going to keep all of us sheep safe.