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Mukilteo's red-light camera fight on radar of others

A Puyallup couple battling red-light and speed cameras elsewhere are throwing their backing behind an anti-camera effort in Mukilteo.

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By Oscar Halpert
Herald Writer
MUKILTEO -- Nick Sherwood lives a long way from Mukilteo.
That didn't stop him from driving more than an hour from his home near Puyallup to Mukilteo several times this year to weigh in on whether red-light and speed-zone cameras should be installed here.
Sherwood, 35, and his wife, Tiffany, 32, are so passionate about the issue they created an anti-traffic-camera blog,, in February.
Their goal, as the name suggests, is to ban cameras used to take video and photographs of vehicles in the act of running red lights, speeding or turning after an incomplete stop.
"There's no resource statewide, nobody organizing an effort to get rid of these things or help people who are victims," Nick Sherwood said.
Mukilteo has been one focus in the fight over red-light cameras this year. The Mukilteo City Council voted in May to add the cameras, but later shelved the plan after opposition was raised by Tim Eyman, a city resident best known for his statewide anti-tax initiatives.
Eyman is pushing a local ballot measure that would require a public vote before those cameras go up in the city. A group called Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government is fighting him over the issue.
And that's where the Sherwoods come in.
The Sherwoods may be new to blogging about red-light cameras, but they aren't new to politics.
They're the Pierce County coordinators for the Washington Campaign for Liberty, part of a nationwide political advocacy group started by Ron Paul, the Republican Texas congressman who ran for president in 2008.
Campaign for Liberty's mission, according to its national website, is "to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets and a non-interventionist foreign policy."
Eyman has teamed in the past with Alex Rion, the Washington interim coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty who is a real estate agent from Kirkland.
Campaign for Liberty has been outspoken in its opposition to photo-enforced ticketing systems embraced by cities nationally and by several in the Puget Sound region, including Lynnwood.
Cities lease those systems from one of two Arizona-based companies: Redflex, of Phoenix, and American Traffic Solutions, of Scottsdale.
The Sherwoods' main argument against the cameras is that city governments have been dishonest by selling the technology as a means to improve safety.
Money, not safety, is the cities' true motivation, the Sherwoods say. Lynnwood has made millions off the cameras since installing them in 2007.
"Most people realize it's a scam," said Tiffany Sherwood, the technological brains behind When she isn't updating the blog, she's busy home-schooling the Sherwoods' four children.
The couple say they've funded themselves. They've also set up a Facebook fan page.
Tiffany Sherwood says the couple, who have not formed any business structure around, are considering forming a political action committee to push anti-red light camera initiatives in the Legislature.
They've already found some sympathetic ears in Olympia.
Rep. Christopher Hurst, a 31st District Democrat, is one.
Earlier this year, he introduced House Bill 2780, which would set a minimum yellow light time of four seconds, limit red light tickets to $25 and gives the vehicles' registered owner more say in challenging a ticket. Hurst's bill was cosponsored by 22nd District Rep. Brendan Williams, and 47th District Rep. Geoff Simpson, both Democrats.
"I think they're on the right track trying to alert the public with what the dangers of these things actually are," Hurst said.
Oscar Halpert: 425-339-3429;
Story tags » LynnwoodMukilteo32nd DistrictLocal electionsTraffic SafetyKirkland

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