A petition to ban red light cameras in Houston has been certified by the city secretary, making it all but certain that voters will decide in November whether the 70 devices at intersections across the city will be taken down.
“This is a great day for Houston,” said Michael Kubosh, one of three brothers that collected more than 20,000 signatures required to get the proposed charter amendment on the ballot in this election cycle. “People just need a right to vote, that’s all we’re saying. Now the citizens will have a chance to decide.”
Jim McGrath, a spokesman for Keep Houston Safe, a political action committee advocating the cameras, said the petition is illegal and represents an abuse of the city charter amendment process. He noted that Paul Kubosh, another brother behind the petition, is a lawyer who specializes in defending traffic ticket recipients and has a business interest in the outcome of the election.
“Mr. Kubosh has repeatedly stated that he went to his own clients to sign his petition, so no one should be surprised that a traffic ticket attorney and the clients he has defended are against holding red light runners accountable,” McGrath said. “We’ll see what the council has to say and we’ll abide by their decision.”
Keep Houston Safe is funded in part by American Traffic Solutions, Inc., the Arizona-based contractor that administers the red light camera program together with the Houston Police Department. An attorney representing the PAC has said it intends to challenge the validity of the ballot initiative in court.
City Council is scheduled to vote on the petition today and that vote cannot be delayed for a week as some items generally are at the discretion of individual council members, according to a memorandum City Attorney David Feldman sent council members Monday. He also advised them that it is their “mandatory ministerial duty” to order the charter amendment election.