It's Up To The Judge

A federal judge will now decide whether to nullify a referendum vote against red light cameras. This comes after the judge ruled that sponsors of the measure cannot intervene in an ongoing lawsuit on the future of the controversial cameras. More from Pat Hernandez.

Houston's 70 red light cameras generated some 44-million dollars in fines from more than 800-thousand citations issued after they were installed in 2006. But their use was challenged, as attorneys Paul and Michael Kubosh collected
thousands of signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. 

Proposition 3 barely failed, outlawing the cameras. They were turned off once the vote was certified. The City of Houston then filed a federal lawsuit, asking a judge to decide whether its contract with the camera's vendor, American Traffic Solutions, was now void because of the vote. The Kuboshes filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, but Judge Lynn Hughes denied their request. Attorney Michael Kubosh is disappointed with the ruling.

"We have knowledge of all this process, and we should be allowed in. But the city doesn't want us in. They opposed our intervention, the red light camera company opposed our intervention. And so, what else are we led to believe? That's why I keep saying 'I see trickery.'"

Kubosh says at issue, is the people's right to petition the government for changes. Houston City attorney David Feldman says his office will continue to defend the legality of the referendum.

"The addition of other parties such as the Kuboshes, which is served to delay the proceeding, and we want to try to get this over with as quickly as possible, and obviously we feel that we can continue to vigorously represent the interests of the citizens that argue in favor of the validity of the election."

South Texas College of Law professor Rocky Rhodes says its been a very contentious political issue to wind up in Judge Hughes' court.

"This doesn't necessarily mean ,of course, that the judge is gong to rule in favor of the vendor. Judge Hughes felt that the city did have an adequate stake in this controversy and would with its financial commitments be an adequate representative of the interests of those who were opposed to the red light cameras."

Judge Hughes set next Tuesday as the deadline for the responses to the motion by camera vendor ATS to cancel the election results.
 

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...