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Anti-Red-Light Camera Group Backs Chuy, 5 Aldermanic Candidates

By Kyla Gardner | April 6, 2015 3:23pm
 Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras endorsed Chuy Garcia for mayor.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras endorsed Chuy Garcia for mayor.
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CHICAGO — An activist group against red-light cameras in Chicago endorsed Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for mayor as well as five aldermanic candidates ahead of Tuesday's runoff election.

Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras gave its official support to candidates who have signed a pledge to abolish all red light cameras in the city.

Along with Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, others endorsed by the group are Rafael Yanez for the 15th Ward, Toni Foulkes for the 16th Ward, Derrick Curtis for the 18th Ward, Kevin Bailey for the 20th Ward and Marvin McNeil for the 21st Ward.

The group calls red-light cameras "unsafe, unfair, and unconstitutional," and holds weekly protests at intersections with the cameras.

The program, which began under former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2003, has been controversial.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan on March 8 to remove 50 red-light cameras and reform the program for 300 others, such as offering offending drivers the option to take an online class instead of pay a $100 fine.

Alderman failed to force a vote on a proposal to remove all red-light and speed cameras by 2018 in City Council March 18.

Emanuel said the cameras have reduced crashes at 25 intersections, but critics say the program is a cash grab by the city. It takes in about $70 million a year, and Garcia has not said how he'd replace that revenue.

Also controversial for the program was a corruption probe into the original winning contract bidder.

Redflex Traffic Systems was banned from bidding on the new contract in 2013 by Emanuel after investigations revealed improper spending on luxury hotels and sporting events for a Chicago Department of Transportation official.

Chicago's red-light program is the largest in the nation, and combined with the shortest yellow light length, could lead to more dangerous driving conditions, a Tribune investigation found.

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