Jim Lembke, a state senator from Missouri was interviewed by KMOV’s Chris Nagus in the report about American Traffic Solutions and the Tuton brothers.
Senator Lembke has been a staunch opponent of the red light camera scam in Missouri, so we decided to reach out and ask him a few questions about going up against these scammers and the complicit legislators who allow them to operate in Missouri.
Lembke has introduced legislation to make red light cameras illegal in his state for six years in a row and plans to push for that same legislation in the next session.
He had some interesting insight about the process.
WoD: Does the state of Missouri have a law which makes red light cameras legal?
Lembke: “Actually No. That has been one of my arguments against the system. What we have in Missouri are rogue municipalities who are passing ordinances allowing for red light camera use, which is contrary to state law.”
WoD: Last year, SB 611, a bill relating to yellow light timing that you introduced, passed and has been enacted. What specifically did the bill do and did you get complaints from the scamera companies and their apologists?
Lembke: 611 addressed some of the concerns and evidence we received about yellow lights being shortened in red light camera intersections. The shortened yellows were causing the dangerous “dilemma zone” effect and making accidents more likely to occur. This bill passed because it was all about safer intersections. The camera companies spend so much time talking about safety here in Missouri that they had to back down when we showed that longer yellow light times does what they can only claim their cameras do.
WoD: So basically you used their own arguments against them, saying that you could increase safety for free, while they are busy tinkering with signal timing and costing your state a lot of money in the process.
Lembke: Yes, that’s exactly what we did.
WoD: Well congrats, I think that argument could work well in many other states. Tell me about some of the positive response you’ve received while fighting against automated ticketing.
Lembke: Those who support upholding your constitutional rights have been very happy with my work
WoD: What would you suggest that people in Missouri who are fed up with the constitutional violations of the red light camera system do to help get rid of them.
Lembke: Communicate with your state legislators and show your support for outlawing this system across the state. Don’t let these rogue municipalities continue to violate your rights and subvert state law.
WoD: In that KMOV report, Ed Dowd, a former Federal Attorney and now legal counsel for American Traffic Solutions said, “red light cameras are needed because motorists want to be able to run red lights when they are in the mood for it.” How would you counter that?
Lembke: It’s shameful that a former federal attorney, turned hired gun for ATS would insult the citizens of Missouri that way. His company has also lobbied these municipalites to change their ordinances so that red light tickets are now treated just like parking tickets. They actually made the argument that when a car is in the intersection during a red light it is “technically illegally parked.” These people do not care about safety.
WoD: That might be the worst argument for the cameras I have ever heard. Wow. It seems like citizen backlash against the photo ticketing scam in MO is at an all time high. Does that make you hopeful that a ban of that system could happen in the next legislative season?
Lembke: Yes it does. Also because of term limits in MO, some of my political opponents who are politically and financially beholden to ATS are termed out, so the path to getting this ban passed is a bit smoother this time.
WoD: That’s encouraging. Do you have a message for ATS and the Tutons?
Lembke: Well I am a capitalist and all in favor of companies making money, but not when it’s off the back of the taxpayer. That’s what this camera system is forcing on the public. They write ordinances specifically designed to make ATS more money through the force of government. That needs to stop.
This was obviously some very candid insight about the operation of ATS is in Missouri and how Lembke has attempted to curtail it through legislation.
He is up for reelection on Tuesday, November 6th and his challenger has hired a political consultant named Joyce Aboussie. Aboussie was previously outed for receiving nearly 10% of all the revenue collected by American Traffic Solutions in the state of Missouri.
We know who ATS is rooting for in this election.