Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville seeks court ruling on red-light camera petition

A petition seeks to change the city charter and ban red-light cameras, such as this one at U.S. 41 near Wiscon Road.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times (2012)

A petition seeks to change the city charter and ban red-light cameras, such as this one at U.S. 41 near Wiscon Road.

BROOKSVILLE — What many people thought was a surefire measure to forever rid Brooksville of red-light cameras is now a question for a judge.

On Wednesday, the city filed a request with the Hernando County Circuit Court for a ruling about the validity of a grass roots petition that seeks to change the city charter and permanently ban cameras and other automated traffic-monitoring devices.

The City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to seek the judge's opinion. The special meeting had been called to decide whether to put the proposed ban to a vote of residents in November.

In a chamber packed with camera opponents, Assistant City Attorney Cliff Taylor laid out several problems he found with the ballot question: its language was overreaching; some parts of it appeared to conflict with established state laws; and it was too vague in its additional ban of other traffic-infraction recording technology.

Specifically, Taylor said, this could be interpreted to forbid radar guns currently used by the city Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

Taylor also said that if the measure passes, supporting a charter amendment based on a flawed ballot question could make the city legally vulnerable.

"To me," he said, "it is not a proper measure for the ballot."

Mayor Kevin Hohn and council members Joe Johnston and Lara Bradburn agreed, saying that while they could support a citizen-led referendum, they didn't favor anything that would be imprudent.

Two other council members who staunchly oppose the cameras said they hoped their fellow council members would agree that the initiative had gained enough steam to be worthy of an up-or-down nod from voters.

"Why are we trying to thwart the will of the people?" council member Joe Bernardini asked. "If the public wants to vote on it, we should let them decide."

Taylor's firm filed the request of a declaratory judgment on Wednesday. He said it asked for the ruling to be expedited so that if the language is rejected, proponents will still have time to change the wording and place the measure on the ballot.

Shirley Miketinac, who along with her husband, Pat, spent nine months collecting the 536 signatures needed to have the petition certified, said she is hopeful that a judicial review will keep the measure's existing wording. But if it doesn't, she believes a simple question asking people whether or not they support the cameras would serve the same purpose.

"We went into neighborhoods and stood on street corners to see what people think," she said. "The support was overwhelming. People want to get rid of the cameras."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@tampabay.com.

Brooksville seeks court ruling on red-light camera petition 06/11/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. President Donald Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel walk together during arrival at Melsbroek Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium on Wednesday. US President Donald Trump is in Belgium to attend a NATO summit and to meet EU and Belgian officials. [AP photo]
  2. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC

    Bucs

    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]
  3. Tampa Bay home prices still soaring amid tight supply

    Real Estate

    But despite Tampa Bay recording its most expensive residential sale ever — $11.18 million for Clearwater's fabled Century Oaks estate — there were signs that the pace of price increases may be slowing just a bit for single-family homes.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor has sold for $11.18 million, the most ever paid for a home in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group]
  4. These days, don't hit the theme park without an app and a phone charger

    Florida

    Emile Crawford stocks two back-up phone battery chargers these days when she takes her kids to Disney World. But she dare not venture into a theme park without a smart phone app, an accessory becoming as necessary as sunscreen in Florida theme parks.

    A wristband visitors will wear at the new Volcano Bay water park in Orlando, Florida. The wristband, called Tapu Tapu, tells you when it's your turn to get on a ride. It also lets you pay for food so you don't have to carry a wallet and opens lockers so you don't have to  carry a key. (Universal via AP)
  5. Rick Baker releases first campaign ad

    Blogs

    Rick Baker's campaign released its first TV ad Wednesday