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Green light for red-light deal

first_imgCameras to catch motorists who run red lights will be installed at up to 32 Los Angeles intersections under a $12 million contract approved Friday by the City Council. Despite concerns about the bid process, the council unanimously signed off on the deal, which could run for five years. “My reservations are still there but in light of the fact that we need to put something into place I’m going to support moving forward,” said Councilman Dennis Zine, a former traffic cop. Councilman Greig Smith, a reserve LAPD officer, echoed the sentiment, saying he is still worried about the financial viability of the contractor, Nestor Traffic Systems. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Questions about Nestor’s finances have dogged the process for months. Officials with the Rhode Island-based company acknowledge that the firm has been losing money but say it has been investing in new products it hopes will lead to profitability. Some other California cities, meanwhile, have questioned the efficacy of photo enforcement. Fresno ended an arrangement with Nestor this summer because of such concerns. Los Angeles Police Department officials, though, contend that collisions dropped 18 percent at the 16 city intersections that got red-light cameras in 2000 as part of a pilot program. That test run ended this June, and while the cameras remain at the intersections, drivers have not been ticketed for months. Zine caught flak from colleagues after some media outlets reported that he exposed a secret by mentioning that the program was dormant, when in fact that information had already been made public. On Friday, Zine and Smith both said they were disappointed that the city did not call for another pilot program to evaluate Nestor’s product alongside that of Redflex Traffic Systems. Redflex’s cameras scored a close second when the LAPD evaluated bids, but officials said they chose Nestor because its technology provides for multiple images of drivers, which increase the chances of convictions. “I and the Los Angeles Police Department are confident we selected the most qualified contractor,” said Capt. Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy did express regret to Smith and Zine that the pair never received a response to a letter they sent the Police Commission last year calling for another pilot program. The commission went along with the recommendation of the LAPD, McCarthy said, which was that another pilot program was ill-advised because it would have led to even longer delays. As accusations and rumors flew throughout the protracted process, both Nestor and Redflex engaged City Hall lobbyists. Redflex contributed money in 2004 to campaign funds for Zine and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Zine was passionate in saying such factors did not influence his decision. “I’m not carrying anyone’s water,” he said. “What I’m remembering is all those fatal crashes that I visited and all those death notifications that I’ve made during my 37 years with the Police Department.” Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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