The city is desperate for money, but this is wrong, wrong, wrong:
The Emanuel administration quietly issued a new, shorter yellow light standard this spring that generated 77,000 red light camera tickets that would not have been allowed before the rule change, the city inspector general announced Friday.
The administration defended the $100 tickets -- and the nearly $8 million in revenue it will collect from them -- as valid. But the city agreed to Ferguson’s recommendation to end the new practice of issuing citations with yellow light times below 3 seconds.
The Tribune reported Thursday that its analysis of overturned tickets and interviews with experts suggested the Emanuel administration had made a subtle, but significant, change when it switched camera vendors this spring from the beleaguered Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. to Xerox State and Local Solutions. Hearing officers were suddenly throwing out hundreds of tickets that showed yellow light times at 2.9, below the 3-second minimum required by the city.
The shift in the city's policy has Rahm Emanuel's dirty fingerprints all over it. And, clearly, the change in the timing has everything to do with raising revenue and absolutely nothing to do with safety.
Unfortunately, most people probably just pay the ticket, not realizing that they could successfully contest it when the offense registers at less than 3 seconds into the yellow light. And while paying the fine may not present a problem for drivers like Rahm, an unexpected $100 fine can be the difference between making and not making rent for others.