Red light refund? St. Pete camera debate continues - FOX 13 News

Red light refund? St. Pete camera debate continues

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Received a ticket at an intersection with a red light camera in St. Petersburg? Some say you may not have deserved it.

"You go frame by frame. You count the number of frames. You do the seconds. I've had a Chicago video forensics expert, who goes and testifies at trials, look at these videos," said Matt Florell, a St. Pete resident who runs a website called StPeteCameras.org.

He says the city wrongly issued about 1,000 tickets in the first two years. Part of the problem, he says, is that some of the yellow lights don't stay yellow long enough.

"In a specific example, at Tyrone and 66th, you can clearly see the light changes at 3.9 seconds. And there's a clear 1/10th of a second delineation between that and when it should be done," Florell explained.

Councilman Wengay "Newt" Newton is not only pushing to refund those drivers; he also wants to get rid of the cameras altogether.

"Now, if you've got equipment that is malfunctioning during the time we're issuing tickets, and we issue the tickets and we're getting money from that, in some kind of way that's wrong to me. Somebody's got to stand up for these people," Newton said.

But the city's transportation chief disagrees.

"I think the public is being fed misinformation," insisted Joe Kubicki.

He says there are no short yellows and no bad tickets. He also says crashes at these intersections are down 42 percent and injuries are down by 70 percent.

"Our position is that we haven't issued any notices in violation. That would be a terrible thing and we don't do that. If you don't want a ticket, don't break the law. Simple as that," Kubicki continued.

But with two new city council members on the board, support may be wavering.

"I am still against the program," said councilmember Amy Foster.

"There are too many questions we don't know," offered council member Steve Kornell.

The City Council decided to table the issue for now. They will take it up again at a workshop next month.

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