News stories like such as one from STLtoday.com are infuriatingly common. Keep this in mind when you hear a city council enthusiastically praising the idea of installing ticket cameras. Here’s an excerpt:
When the push to install red-light cameras came to City Hall in 2005, the Board of Aldermen enthusiastically backed the plan as a boon to public safety.
But now, three years later, aldermen have themselves been caught on tape — and some have avoided the $100 fine.
In total, at least eight St. Louis aldermen have been sent camera citations, about a quarter of the board. The lead sponsor of the camera legislation went months without paying $500 in fines until questioned about it recently. Two other aldermen got their citations dismissed under ambiguous circumstances.
Alderman Stephen Gregali forwarded his ticket to the police chief’s office — which dismissed the ticket without investigating. Another alderman, Gregory Carter, said he got his ticket dismissed by calling a phone number on the back.
Carter said he did not identify himself as an alderman and doesn’t remember who was on the other end of the call.
But officials with the private company that administers the city’s camera program, Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc., said it’s not possible to get a ticket dismissed by calling the number on the back of the ticket, which is a corporate help line.
Among aldermen, there is no greater advocate for the cameras than Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. — and nobody whose car has racked up more in fines. A car registered to his home address in the Third Ward had five tickets, including citations on back-to-back days in June.
Bosley, chairman of the board’s Streets Committee, said he did not know about the violations. They were, he says, accrued by his 20-year-old daughter using the car.
He paid the fines Friday, well past the due date, after a reporter asked about them.