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Arnold City Administrator Responds to STL Red-Light Camera Ruling

Administrator Matt Unrein said the St. Louis law is isolated.

Arnold City Administrator Matt Unrein said today that red-light camera laws in St. Louis City are not relevant to Arnold.

St. Louis City will continue to use its red-light cameras, despite Circuit Court Judge Mark Neill’s ruling, on Feb. 17, that upheld a partial judgment he made last May, that found the city .

As reported in STLtoday, the judge said the law is unconstitutional because it offers little way for someone to contest the violation.

Unrein said the St. Louis law has no relevance to the Arnold ordinance.

“From my understanding of the case, all it did was throw out that individual’s ticket that was issued,” Unrein said. “It didn’t do anything as far as what effect it is has on developments of other tickets.”

Unrein recognized he’s speaking without the benefit of the knowledge of an attorney.

“The tickets that are issued in St. Louis City, are of course under a different ordinance, and different laws, than regulations than are written here in Arnold,” he said, “so it has zero effect on our ordinance, or continued future legality.”

He said Arnold’s City Attorney, Bob Sweeney, had explained the situation to him.

“It’s isolated, and in our case, irrelevant,” Unrein said.

Doris Borgelt February 24, 2012 at 10:38 AM
If that is the case, then why did Bob Sweeney and Matt Unrein state previously in this on-line forum, that all of the class action red light camera cases were related in regards to Mr. Sweeney sitting in on the class action cases of Florissant, St. Louis, Creve Coeur, Hazelwood, etc. to plan strategy for Arnold and authorize his billing for all of those extra hours? Which is it? Are the cases related as was stated previously, or are they not relevant as was just stated? Sorry, attorney or not, you cannot have it both ways.
Matt Hay February 24, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Perhaps Matt Unrein and Bob Sweeney need to read Count VII of Judge Neill's Ruling: "As this Court originally stated in its May 20,2011, Order, the City's "red light camera ordinance" does nothing to regulate and control the streets or traffic and the City presented no evidence to the contrary. The Court does not believe that the ordinance has a substantial and rational relation to the health, safety, peace, comfort, and general welfare of the inhabitants of St.Louis.This Court concludes that without specific enabling legislation passed by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, the ordinance is void." Maybe instead of acting like Baghdad Bob in the face of the American Invasion of Iraq and doubling down on their poor decisions, they should mitigate the damage caused by them. Perhaps Matt Unrein could provide us with specifics as to "how" they are different? The St. Louis City Ordinance was drafted using the ordinance which ATS drafted for Arnold as a guide. Bob Sweeney said as much in the Feb 1, 2006 RFT Piece http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2006-02-01/news/red-light-green-light/ "Of course, we were in contact with [ATS] when drafting the ordinance," confirms Arnold City Attorney Bob Sweeney, who says he received draft legislation for the ordinance from Stinson Morrison Hecker attorney Jane Dueker." With regard to St. Louis City "Dueker says she sent a draft ordinance to the city counselor's office last summer".
Tommy Yeager February 24, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Reducing the amount of red light violators is clearly in the public interest. Even I can see the error in this ruling
Tommy Yeager February 24, 2012 at 06:47 PM
The traffic code enables enforcement of red lights. Makes me wonder what this Judge was smoking!
Brian February 24, 2012 at 08:42 PM
@Mr. Yeager: The City of Arnold and MODOT have released statistics showing that red light violations and accidents INCREASED at our RLC intersections after the camera technology was introduced. Cameras are a poor solution to changing driver behavior. Unfortunately, they happen to be a fantastic revenue generator for local governments and for-profit companies like American Traffic Solutions. These entities team up, proclaiming an interest in public safety, when the obvious motive for the cameras is to generate dollars. To really change driver behavior takes a police officer who can cite a driver (not just the owner of the vehicle) immediately after the offense with a fine and points against that person's license. Last year MODOT lengthened the duration of the amber lights at the intersections that have the cameras. This has had a significant effect on reducing the number of red light violations. Proper traffic engineering has proven itself to be the better solution in our case.
Don Rose February 24, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Don Rose It seems to me that the City of Arnold A.K.A (Wrong-way Kids) lack the maturity to understand the basic principles of the roles of local govt. " Let the welfare of the people, be the supreme law" This controversy can easily be dealt with in one of two ways. "Put it on the ballot, let the residents you work for DECIDE!" or if you don't have the "Cojones" for that and you feel it is in our BEST INTEREST to keep the camera's... Then the city should not profit (AT ALL) by these cameras and the cost of the review of tickets by officers be paid for by the police budget. The money that Arnold gets from the Camera's should be used to serve the people of Arnold, maybe money to the Arnold Pantry or other useful Arnold Charity!
Doris Borgelt February 25, 2012 at 04:33 AM
The red light camera violations in Arnold doubled from 2006 through 2010. In January and April of 2011, MoDOT lengthened the yellow light times and the all red period at each camera'd intesection. There were 1092 violations in the month of December 2010, in December of 2011 there were only 91 violations. The extended yellows and all red have reduced the number of red light violations by over 90% in less than one year. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the red light cameras did little to nothing to improve the safety of those same intersections over a five year period. Now the highest number of violations come from the camera in front of Rockport which is only operational for an hour a day M-F, that tells me there is something drastically wrong with the quality of safety engineering at that intesection that warrants further investigation.

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