Southern California breaking news and trends

Gone in a flash: The end of the red-light camera era

red light camera sign

Photo by Purple Wyrm via Flickr Creative Commons

Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red-light camera anymore. 

A Police Commission vote on Tuesday to end the contract with its red-light camera operator means that the program is over, effective this weekend. LAPD will no longer have access to the data, video, and photos of you gesturing offensively at the traffic signal as it snapped your picture and stole your soul. 

In July, the L.A. City Council voted to shut down the expensive and controversial program, amid questions about whether it actually saved lives. Since that time, the city has not aggressively pursued outstanding tickets and has no plans to do so. 

The police department kept alive the contract with American TrafficSolutions to collect revenue from unpaid tickets on a voluntary basis. Gross revenue has declined from $191,539 in September to $69,905 in January, says the L.A. Times.

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No more red-light camera tickets in Glendale

red light camera sign

Photo by Purple Wyrm via Flickr Creative Commons

Glendale police, like their Los Angeles counterparts, will no longer issue citations for violations caught on the city's red-light cameras. 

Officials said the decision, which took effect Feb. 24, was made because the program had become a burden on resources -- the officier assigned to reviewing violations was needed out in the field, reports the Glendale News Press.

Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, camera system's operator, received a letter from police last month notifying the company that they were terminating the program. 

Program costs had been paid by camera-caught citation revenue, according to officials, but the city was just breaking even after a drop in violations.

Glendale's move comes eight months after the Los Angeles City Council and Police Commission unanimously voted to terminate their red-light camera enforcement for an array of reasons, including its cost effectiveness and payment of the tickets.

While state laws allow police agencies to use red-light cameras for enforcement, recent successful litigation challenging the legality of those citations also played a role in the decision to stop the program, Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.

More than 5,800 red-light camera citations were issued last year. Motorists with pending tickets should check the status with local courthouses.

Police say they will not pursue citations issued before Feb. 24, and will not contest a ticket that's challenged in court. Those who paid fines and pleaded guilty to tickets before Feb. 24, however, will not be reimbursed.

Maybe the cameras could be repurposed to keep an eye on bears?

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Well, well, well... EPA digs for chromium-6 in Burbank and Glendale

well

Photo by Mark Kelley via Flickr Creative Commons

The San Fernando Valley's aero-tech industry may have been dismantled decades ago but its carcinogens live on in local water wells. 

Chromium-6, the toxic contaminant brought to widespread attention by Erin Brockovich, has been detected in groundwater, however the extent of contamination in unknown.

In an effort to determine the reach of the underground spread, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be installing thirty wells in Glendale and Burbank "to figure out whether the areas [where] we don't have wells have contamination," EPA project manager Lisa Hanusiak told the L.A. Times

Data from the new wells will enhance the picture already being developed from the area's existing monitoring stations. For the next two years, groundwater samples will be collected by the EPA every three months, according to a city report.

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Super size signs causing indigestion and bites in Glendale

fast food signs kfc kentucky fried chicken

Photo by Roadsidepictures via Flickr Creative Commons

Glendale is cracking down on oversized fast food signs.

Glendale is looking to chop down super size signage from the streets of the Jewel City. Recent outspoken arbiters of taste and beauty, the Glendale City Council is targeting large pole signs often associated with fast food chains. 

A council member, perhaps suffering from acid reflux-induced insensibility, took a verbal bite at East L.A. as officials were directed to find codes that will force companies to remove offending beacons, reports the Glendale News Press

"It’s a matter of aesthetics," said Councilman Ara Najarian. "These signs are something you see in East L.A." Under the first phase of the effort, Glendale would give businesses two years to comply with city size restrictions due to the protracted recession and high costs involved.

The signs — most of which are on West Glenoaks and Verdugo boulevards and Honolulu, La Crescenta and North Pacific avenues — are too big, according to city code. Some reach as high as 25 feet, with surface areas of up to 200 square feet, far larger than the 6- to 8-foot height limits. The city also restricts surface areas to between 40 and 75 square feet.

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How could Glendale not want this artistic masterpiece?

glendale public art donation denied

Courtesy of the City of Glendale

Anita Garouni's painting "Home" was rejected as a public art donation by the City of Glendale.

Noses are up and thumbs are down in Glendale where officials have rejected a donated public art piece for the first time in more than ten years.

The colorful piece, featuring Armenian figures floating near the Statue of Liberty and Turkey's Mt. Ararat, was praised for its "beautiful theme" but considered not culturally inclusive enough. It also "wasn’t of the highest aesthetic quality," according to a report that appraised the 18-by-24 inch oil painting at $1,800. 

Robbed of this diamond in the rough, residents of The Jewel City will have to look elsewhere for their daily recommended allowances of floating heads, Armenian princesses and Noah's Arks once destined for a city-owned office wall.

A 15-year resident of Glendale, artist Anita Garouni said of her creative tour de force, it is "an expression of deep gratitude for America, my country, who accepts all…and gives safe haven for the immigrants of the world," explains the Glendale News Press.

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