Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 9:36 p.m.
MUKILTEO — Voters here sent a strong signal to city officials who once had planned to install red-light and speed-zone cameras for enforcement, voting overwhelmingly to impose a complicated process and a lid on fines.
Mukilteo Proposition 1, sponsored by hometown initiative proponent Tim Eyman, was winning handily Tuesday evening.
The measure makes it more difficult and less lucrative for the city to install red-light or speed-zone cameras by limiting fines to $20 instead of the typical $124, requiring two-thirds City Council approval for a proposed installation and requiring a public vote to ratify that council action.
Eyman and co-sponsors Nick Sherwood of Puyallup and Alex Rion
of Kirkland had argued that residents should have a say. The cameras document violations, and tickets are mailed to registered owners.
Eyman began gathering signatures for his initiative in May, after the council approved a plan to hire Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions to install and operate red-light cameras where Harbour Pointe Boulevard meets the city's main thoroughfare, the Mukilteo Speedway. The plan also called for adding cameras that record speeders in front of Olympic View Middle School, farther north along the Speedway. Mayor Joe Marine cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the cameras. The council later rescinded that plan.
In July, a group called Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government
sued to stop the initiative from going to a public vote. A Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled the measure should go on the ballot, and the state Supreme Court agreed.
Eyman said late Tuesday the margin of support “far exceeded what I expected” and might end expanded use of the cameras statewide.
“I think any city that is thinking about putting them (in), it kills the idea,” he said. “At a minimum, this says voters want to have the final say in these cameras.”
Marine said he wasn't surprised by the vote.
“I assumed this is probably the way that would go,” he said. “People are just concerned they've got government watching them too much.”
Oscar Halpert: 425-339-3429; firstname.lastname@example.org