I’ve been expecting this to happen for awhile now.
Two lawyers who are suing the city over Houston’s red-light camera program and their supporters said Friday they need 20,000 signatures for a citywide referendum to end what they called a dangerous profit-driven scheme.
Lawyers Paul Kubosh and Randall Kallinen announced a petition drive on the steps of City Hall to get an amendment to the city charter on November’s ballot.
“This will stop the actual enforcement of the cameras for all tickets issued prior to the adoption of this petition and for all tickets going forward,” Kubosh said. “It will force the city to stop it completely, if it passes.”
The group, including Kallinen and Kubosh and his brothers Randy Kubosh and Mike Kubosh, also announced Friday the creation of a PAC, Citizens Against Red Light Cameras, to get the required number of signatures by July 1.
“I have at least 50,000 registered voters in my client base,” Paul Kubosh said. “They’re all getting mailers.”
Twenty thousand signatures isn’t that high a hurdle, so I won’t be surprised if they succeed in getting their proposition on the ballot. And if they do, I won’t be surprised if it passes. Not because I think it’s the more popular position – I actually suspect it isn’t, but I’m not aware of any polling data, so I really have no idea – but because I don’t think there will be an organized effort on the part of the pro-camera forces to get out the vote. Frankly, the person who would need to push this is Mayor Parker, and I don’t know how she feels about the red light cameras, as they weren’t an issue in the campaign. I’m sure she favors them, but that’s not the same as being willing to risk political capital by publicly fighting for them. I really don’t know how this might play out.
On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that the vast majority of support that Kallinen and his merry band of Kuboshes claims comes from people who, like Paul and Michael Kubosh, do not live in the city of Houston and thus would be ineligible to actually vote for this referendum. I believe these guys have intensity, but I don’t know how broad their base is. It’ll be interesting to watch, that much I know.