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No red light camera action on Friday

Tagged again.

City Council passed on an opportunity to outlaw red-light cameras during a special meeting Friday, delaying consideration of the repeal of Houston’s camera ordinance until Wednesday.

Councilwoman Sue Lovell tagged the item, a parliamentary maneuver that delays a vote. Lovell previously explained that she did not have the information she needed to make an informed decision – namely, how much it will cost the city.

At which point Andy Taylor, the attorney for camera vendor ATS, cackled maniacally, twirled his mustache, and shouted “One Twenty-five million dollars!” Well, okay, maybe he didn’t actually twirl his mustache, but that’s what ATS is claiming we’d owe. Council now has till Wednesday when it will address the Mayor’s turn-them-off resolution and an ordinance that bans red light cameras to decide if he’s bluffing. Hair Balls has more.

UPDATE: The Sunday Chron had this Q&A with Mayor Parker about the cameras and her reasons for doing what she has done.

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13 Comments

  1. what a surprise, there was no agreement made. Who wants to lay odds on it getting tagged on Wednsday’s agenda as well? http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2011/08/no-agreement-on-red-light-cameras/

  2. Byron – An agenda item can only be tagged once. After that, there must a formal motion to delay it, which must pass by majority vote.

  3. Thanks, I did not know that! of course I was kind of surprised that one council member could tag an item anyway, but I guess it makes sense if it can only be tagged once without a majority vote. The rules of order are so different in Houston vs what the council does in Baytown, there they have to actually vote to table an item, but it has to be a majority vote. Guess I lose the bet, I owe you a brew.

  4. paul kubosh says:

    What if a council member was absent when it was tagged the first time, can they tag it a second time?

  5. Paul, I don’t know where this is documented, but the absence of a given Council member is not relevant. The rule is that any agenda item can be tagged once by any Council member (multiple members may tag the same item), which delays it for a week. After that, it can only be delayed further by a motion that is adopted by majority vote. That’s my understanding; if I’m wrong I hope someone will correct me.

  6. Guess we will find out in a couple of days. I still have a gut feeling something will come up to delay it.

  7. Jules says:

    I think Paul is right, if a council member is not present for the first tag, they can tag the second time.

  8. paul kubosh says:

    Either way…we will no soon.

  9. paul kubosh says:

    I have to cut off these autofills on these smart phones. It should be “know”

  10. I have done some checking on the question of who can tag what, and this is what I have learned: Every member has the option to tag an item at a Council meeting. Someone who was not present for the Council meeting at which an item was discussed may tag an item that had already been tagged by someone else at the next meeting. By “not present”, I mean not there at all – if you had to duck out or leave early, you’re deemed to have had the opportunity to tag just like everyone else who was there. You only get one shot at it, which is why you have to have been absent for the whole meeting to get to tag it after it has already been tagged.

    In this specific case, CMs Clutterbuck and Jones were absent on Wednesday when the proposal to turn the cameras off and pursue litigation against ATS was discussed and tagged by CM Lovell, so either of them could tag that tomorrow. I think it’s safe to say that CM Jones will not do so, so watch CM Clutterbuck. Four members were not there for the Friday meeting at which the repeal ordinance was brought up and tagged by CM Lovell. Any of those four could tag this again. After all that, assuming nobody is absent for a second time, further delays will require a motion and a majority vote. Hope this clears things up.

  11. Jules says:

    Also, the Mayor can override a tag if it would make the item moot.

    She threatened to do this on the Ainbinder 380 if CM Adams tagged it for a second time (Adams did not tag) on Sept 21, 2010.

    Oddly, Parker knew enough details of Ainbinder’s financing to know the 380 would be moot if not voted on that day, but on Sept 9, 2010, characterized the 380 agreement as “interest-free” to the City, which it most certainly is not.

    http://app1.kuhf.org/articles/1284071470-Mayor-To-Hit-the-Streets-for-Feedback-on-Heights-
    Walmart.html

  12. ATS tries last minute appeal for a deal. Lovell and Clutterbuck appear to like keeping the cameras up despite the vote for another year. ATS is losing market share after LA shutting them off recently.

    http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2011/08/ats-offers-last-minute-settlement/

    ATS put out another “what planet are they from?” statement that leaving the cameras on for another year but ending the contract 5 months early would “acknowledge those voters who wanted the cameras out”

    Read more: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/local/110823-ats-proposes-deal-on-red-light-cameras#ixzz1VugYU6ev

  13. oops, 2013 is over 2 years not one.