Posts Tagged ‘Municipal Government’

Miami Officials Vote to End Revenue Generating Red Light Camera Program

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

City commissioners in Miami agreed on Thursday to pull the plug on their red light camera program early next year.
The city voted unanimously to cancel its contract with American Traffic Solutions, which operates has 147 cameras placed around the city.
Ninety-eight of them are operational.
Now the company has 60 day to discontinue its lucrative operations in the city.
Citations of $158 per ticket will stop after the program vanishes.
But anyone who receives a ticket before the program ends will be responsible for dealing with it.
So-called activists who profit from the program, along with an ATS spokesman, criticized the move.
“Don’t be responsible for more people losing their lives,” Marc Buoniconti, an activist for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, said.
“Are you going to go to the funerals of these families if you turn these cameras off?”
American Traffic Solutions spokesman Charles Territo said in a written statement that videos from the cameras were used for nearly 2,500 police investigations, according to the Miami Herald.
Territo said fatal crashes at intersections equipped with red light cameras fell from 16 in 2015 to four in 2016.
“Nearly 65 percent of the violations issued were given to drivers who didn’t even live in the city,” Territo said.
“Regardless of today’s decision the fact remains that Miami is one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
“We wish them the best on their efforts to reduce traffic related collisions, injuries and fatalities,” Territo added.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, along with City Commissioner Joe Carollo can now say they kept a campaign promise.
City of Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo and Mayor Francis Suarez discuss the red light program at Miami City Hall on December 14. (Photo from Miami Herald)
“We have a very poor city,” Commissioner Carollo said, who campaigned on the fact Miami has more red light cameras than any

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Florida Man Fights Extensive Public Records Request Abuse

Friday, May 26th, 2017

INTRODUCTION
 
The City of Homestead has a torrid reputation, and a pattern of willfully refusing to comply with the public records law. Homestead is a little town at the southern end of Miami-Dade County, rarely receiving the scrutiny it deserves as a cesspool of public corruption and maleficence.
 
I have used the records request process, as a pre-discovery method for investigating my civil rights claims. Homestead has failed to comply with the public records law on the majority of the nearly one hundred requests I have filed.
 
Homestead has a pattern and practice of unlawful noncompliance as it relates to the records law including but not limited to: excessively overcharging for records, claiming inapplicable exemptions, creating automatic and/or unreasonable delays in production, claiming incriminating records do not exist, falsifying records and destruction of records.
 
Florida has some of the strictest public records laws in the nation. The records law is thoroughly explained in the Government in the Sunshine Manual (GSM), and the city owns several copies. Yet, you could be easily fooled into thinking otherwise, based on the behavior and actions of Homestead and their attorneys.
 
I hope the information provided herein, while extensive by nature, will educate the readers on the public records law and how some public entities create costly issues.
 
BACKGROUND
 
PINAC published the original story of my abuse by Homestead officer Alejandro Murguido, beginning in 2012. I was falsely arrested in April 2013, after attempting to file a complaint, and charged for simply asking my neighbor to not speed and recklessly drive his city owned police car, in our community. Children regularly play in the street, and Murguido had previously asked me to contact him directly versus filing a formal complaint with his department.
 
I met with Homestead Chief of Police Alexander Rolle to file a complaint in February 2014. All false charges against me had been dismissed shortly

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Missouri Police Association Sues Missouri Police Department Over Public Records Violations

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

A Missouri police association filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbia, accusing its police department of violating the state’s public records law by refusing to provide records in a timely manner, then charging an exorbitant amount for the requested records.
Last summer, the Columbia Police Officers’ Association requested two months worth of email correspondence between Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton Deputy Chief of Police Jill Schlude.
But the emails were not produced within three days as required by state law nor did the association receive a detailed explanation providing “reasonable cause” of the delay as outlined in Section 610.023 of the Missouri Sunshine Law.
And when the department finally responded to the records request, it was charging the association $893.59, claiming it will take several high-ranking officers to spend hours compiling the records.
Evidently, they’ve never learned how to use the search function in their email system, which would allow the lowest paid clerk to compile the emails within an hour.
The police association was asking for emails from the months of June and July of this year. And it filed its lawsuit in October, which can be read here.
The Columbia Police Officers’ Association is a private organization that is not part of the Columbia Police Department although the majority of the department’s officers are members.
However, the organization is not a police labor union, even though it is lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Missouri is a right-to-work state and thus does not have collective bargaining. Instead, the police association provides legal services to officers of the Columbia Police Department in the event that an officer is sued or is on trial in need of a defense attorney.
On September 22, the police association submitted a records request for copies of all completed morale questionnaires submitted to the city manager by Columbia Police Department officers.
Earlier that month,

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Red Light Camera Company CEO Sentenced to Prison for Bribing City Officials for Municipal Contracts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Karen Finley, former CEO of the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges over backroom bribes in Ohio.
Finley offered political campaign contributions to city council members in Cincinnati and Columbus in exchange for municipal contracts with the company.
She faces a separate sentencing in Chicago next month after pleading guilty to charges there.
Karen Finley said she knew bribing city representatives was illegal, but did it anyway in order to obtain municipal contracts.
“I knew of the solicitations and agreed along with Redflex to provide the campaign funds in exchange for the offcials taking action so Redflex could obtain and retain municipal contracts,” read Finley’s letter to US District Judge Michael H. Watson earlier this month, admitting she conspired to pay bribes to city representatives at the request of Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael.
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“Raphael was used as a pass-through to conceal the nature of the money going to Raphael and, ultimately, the elected officials.”
In addition to her time at the minimum security federal pen in Phoenix, Finley was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee, spend a year on probation after her release and turn in any firearms.
Prosecutors asked for 30 months, but Finley’s defense team persuaded the judge to hand down 14 months, arguing the culture of corruption at Redflex was to blame.
“Karen walked into a position with the company where fraud was already occurring. And as a result, she put herself in a place where she became a party to it,” Michael D. Kimerer, Finley’s attorney argued.
“Although Karen might not have known at the time the full extent of her criminal conduct, at the very minimum, she acted with willful blindness,” he admitted.
Federal investigators were willing

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Red Light Camera Company CEO Sentenced to Prison for Bribing City Officials for Municipal Contracts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Karen Finley, former CEO of the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges over backroom bribes in Ohio.
Finley offered political campaign contributions to city council members in Cincinnati and Columbus in exchange for municipal contracts with the company.
She faces a separate sentencing in Chicago next month after pleading guilty to charges there.
Karen Finley said she knew bribing city representatives was illegal, but did it anyway in order to obtain municipal contracts.
“I knew of the solicitations and agreed along with Redflex to provide the campaign funds in exchange for the offcials taking action so Redflex could obtain and retain municipal contracts,” read Finley’s letter to US District Judge Michael H. Watson earlier this month, admitting she conspired to pay bribes to city representatives at the request of Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael.
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“Raphael was used as a pass-through to conceal the nature of the money going to Raphael and, ultimately, the elected officials.”
In addition to her time at the minimum security federal pen in Phoenix, Finley was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee, spend a year on probation after her release and turn in any firearms.
Prosecutors asked for 30 months, but Finley’s defense team persuaded the judge to hand down 14 months, arguing the culture of corruption at Redflex was to blame.
“Karen walked into a position with the company where fraud was already occurring. And as a result, she put herself in a place where she became a party to it,” Michael D. Kimerer, Finley’s attorney argued.
“Although Karen might not have known at the time the full extent of her criminal conduct, at the very minimum, she acted with willful blindness,” he admitted.
Federal investigators were willing

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Red Light Camera Company CEO Sentenced to Prison for Bribing City Officials for Municipal Contracts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Karen Finley, former CEO of the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges over backroom bribes in Ohio.
Finley offered political campaign contributions to city council members in Cincinnati and Columbus in exchange for municipal contracts with the company.
She faces a separate sentencing in Chicago next month after pleading guilty to charges there.
Karen Finley said she knew bribing city representatives was illegal, but did it anyway in order to obtain municipal contracts.
“I knew of the solicitations and agreed along with Redflex to provide the campaign funds in exchange for the offcials taking action so Redflex could obtain and retain municipal contracts,” read Finley’s letter to US District Judge Michael H. Watson earlier this month, admitting she conspired to pay bribes to city representatives at the request of Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael.
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“Raphael was used as a pass-through to conceal the nature of the money going to Raphael and, ultimately, the elected officials.”
In addition to her time at the minimum security federal pen in Phoenix, Finley was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee, spend a year on probation after her release and turn in any firearms.
Prosecutors asked for 30 months, but Finley’s defense team persuaded the judge to hand down 14 months, arguing the culture of corruption at Redflex was to blame.
“Karen walked into a position with the company where fraud was already occurring. And as a result, she put herself in a place where she became a party to it,” Michael D. Kimerer, Finley’s attorney argued.
“Although Karen might not have known at the time the full extent of her criminal conduct, at the very minimum, she acted with willful blindness,” he admitted.
Federal investigators were willing

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Red Light Camera Company CEO Sentenced to Prison for Bribing City Officials for Municipal Contracts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Karen Finley, former CEO of the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges over backroom bribes in Ohio.
Finley offered political campaign contributions to city council members in Cincinnati and Columbus in exchange for municipal contracts with the company.
She faces a separate sentencing in Chicago next month after pleading guilty to charges there.
Karen Finley said she knew bribing city representatives was illegal, but did it anyway in order to obtain municipal contracts.
“I knew of the solicitations and agreed along with Redflex to provide the campaign funds in exchange for the offcials taking action so Redflex could obtain and retain municipal contracts,” read Finley’s letter to US District Judge Michael H. Watson earlier this month, admitting she conspired to pay bribes to city representatives at the request of Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael.
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“Raphael was used as a pass-through to conceal the nature of the money going to Raphael and, ultimately, the elected officials.”
In addition to her time at the minimum security federal pen in Phoenix, Finley was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee, spend a year on probation after her release and turn in any firearms.
Prosecutors asked for 30 months, but Finley’s defense team persuaded the judge to hand down 14 months, arguing the culture of corruption at Redflex was to blame.
“Karen walked into a position with the company where fraud was already occurring. And as a result, she put herself in a place where she became a party to it,” Michael D. Kimerer, Finley’s attorney argued.
“Although Karen might not have known at the time the full extent of her criminal conduct, at the very minimum, she acted with willful blindness,” he admitted.
Federal investigators were willing

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Red Light Camera Company CEO Sentenced to Prison for Bribing City Officials for Municipal Contracts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Karen Finley, former CEO of the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges over backroom bribes in Ohio.
Finley offered political campaign contributions to city council members in Cincinnati and Columbus in exchange for municipal contracts with the company.
She faces a separate sentencing in Chicago next month after pleading guilty to charges there.
Karen Finley said she knew bribing city representatives was illegal, but did it anyway in order to obtain municipal contracts.
“I knew of the solicitations and agreed along with Redflex to provide the campaign funds in exchange for the offcials taking action so Redflex could obtain and retain municipal contracts,” read Finley’s letter to US District Judge Michael H. Watson earlier this month, admitting she conspired to pay bribes to city representatives at the request of Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael.
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“Raphael was used as a pass-through to conceal the nature of the money going to Raphael and, ultimately, the elected officials.”
In addition to her time at the minimum security federal pen in Phoenix, Finley was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee, spend a year on probation after her release and turn in any firearms.
Prosecutors asked for 30 months, but Finley’s defense team persuaded the judge to hand down 14 months, arguing the culture of corruption at Redflex was to blame.
“Karen walked into a position with the company where fraud was already occurring. And as a result, she put herself in a place where she became a party to it,” Michael D. Kimerer, Finley’s attorney argued.
“Although Karen might not have known at the time the full extent of her criminal conduct, at the very minimum, she acted with willful blindness,” he admitted.
Federal investigators were willing

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Red Light Camera Company CEO Sentenced to Prison for Bribing City Officials for Municipal Contracts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Karen Finley, former CEO of the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges over backroom bribes in Ohio.
Finley offered political campaign contributions to city council members in Cincinnati and Columbus in exchange for municipal contracts with the company.
She faces a separate sentencing in Chicago next month after pleading guilty to charges there.
Karen Finley said she knew bribing city representatives was illegal, but did it anyway in order to obtain municipal contracts.
“I knew of the solicitations and agreed along with Redflex to provide the campaign funds in exchange for the offcials taking action so Redflex could obtain and retain municipal contracts,” read Finley’s letter to US District Judge Michael H. Watson earlier this month, admitting she conspired to pay bribes to city representatives at the request of Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael.
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“Raphael was used as a pass-through to conceal the nature of the money going to Raphael and, ultimately, the elected officials.”
In addition to her time at the minimum security federal pen in Phoenix, Finley was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee, spend a year on probation after her release and turn in any firearms.
Prosecutors asked for 30 months, but Finley’s defense team persuaded the judge to hand down 14 months, arguing the culture of corruption at Redflex was to blame.
“Karen walked into a position with the company where fraud was already occurring. And as a result, she put herself in a place where she became a party to it,” Michael D. Kimerer, Finley’s attorney argued.
“Although Karen might not have known at the time the full extent of her criminal conduct, at the very minimum, she acted with willful blindness,” he admitted.
Federal investigators were willing

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Red Light Camera Company CEO Sentenced to Prison for Bribing City Officials for Municipal Contracts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Karen Finley, former CEO of the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges over backroom bribes in Ohio.
Finley offered political campaign contributions to city council members in Cincinnati and Columbus in exchange for municipal contracts with the company.
She faces a separate sentencing in Chicago next month after pleading guilty to charges there.
Karen Finley said she knew bribing city representatives was illegal, but did it anyway in order to obtain municipal contracts.
“I knew of the solicitations and agreed along with Redflex to provide the campaign funds in exchange for the offcials taking action so Redflex could obtain and retain municipal contracts,” read Finley’s letter to US District Judge Michael H. Watson earlier this month, admitting she conspired to pay bribes to city representatives at the request of Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael.
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“Raphael was used as a pass-through to conceal the nature of the money going to Raphael and, ultimately, the elected officials.”
In addition to her time at the minimum security federal pen in Phoenix, Finley was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee, spend a year on probation after her release and turn in any firearms.
Prosecutors asked for 30 months, but Finley’s defense team persuaded the judge to hand down 14 months, arguing the culture of corruption at Redflex was to blame.
“Karen walked into a position with the company where fraud was already occurring. And as a result, she put herself in a place where she became a party to it,” Michael D. Kimerer, Finley’s attorney argued.
“Although Karen might not have known at the time the full extent of her criminal conduct, at the very minimum, she acted with willful blindness,” he admitted.
Federal investigators were willing

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82 Y.O. Alabama Commissioner Struck TV Reporter in Video For Asking About Fraud Allegation

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

When a television journalist tried to fight public corruption in Alabama, things got far more physical than he expected.
Dothan City Commissioner Amos Newsome was arrested and charged Tuesday with third-degree assault after he deliberately struck southern Alabama WTVY television news reporter Ken Curtis twice in the face caught on the video seen below.
Newsome – who is 82 years young – was released from jail on Tuesday evening on a signature bond, according to local new site dothaneagle.com.
In a brief video clip of the incident, which was recorded by another journalist, Curtis is seen persistently asking Newsome if he will resign in light of the voter fraud allegations linked to the politician’s 2013 election.
“Would you be willing to resign if it would mean a better deal,” Curtis asked Amos as the local official was leaving the Dothan, Ala., City Commission meeting.
Newsome can be heard as he begins to answer the question, but does not finish his sentence and decides to lunge for Curtis instead.
“Let me tell you something… Get!” Newsome says, before clawing his fingers onto Curtis’ face.
Spencer Bienvenu, Vice President and General Manager of WTVY said in a statement on Tuesday that the station was “horrified” with Commissioner’s Amos’ behavior, saying:
“WTVY is extremely disappointed and horrified by the actions of Dothan City Commissioner Amos Newsome for his unwarranted physical attack on one of our employees.
We understand that holding political office can be stressful, but that never warrants unwanted physical contact, let alone an open, public assault.”
“Our employee was attacked in the course of doing their job, which they are entitled to do without the fear of physical violence. Freedom of the press is a guaranteed right, one that should allow us to do our jobs in a safe, non-threatening environment.”
The station also said they’ll be seeking legal representation for the damages caused by

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New Mexico Cops Settle “Fuck” Lawsuit for $25,000, Taxpayers Will Pay

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

New Mexico cops falsely arrested a grown adult citizen in public for saying “fuck”, now Farmington taxpayers agreed to pay $25,000 to settle the resulting censorship lawsuit under the 1st Amendment.
Three Farmington officers grossly overstepped their boundaries acting as censors, when they arrested Trujillo for violating the local Disorderly Conduct ordinance, in the absence of any provoked parties when he said “fuck” in an IHOP restaurant.
In fact, the family with small children whom police claimed to be protecting refused to give their names or in any way become involved in the three officers’ false arrest “to ensure the obscene language didn’t continue.”
Without threat of a fight or injury, there’s no probable cause for a Disorderly Conduct arrest which is commonly called a “contempt of cop” charge for its frequent use by police in punishing citizens for disagreement, with false arrest.
The police were disorderly in this case, starting a fight that’s gone on in courts for years.
New Mexico’s state constitution also has extra safeguards against this type of law enforcement overreach, as Trujillo’s counsel pointed out in his lawsuit against the a City of Farmington for arresting the man who said “fuck”, as you can see below.
Source: Twitter
Unfortunately, the town of Farmington’s Police Chief Hebbe doesn’t seem to give even one flying fuck about the un-American actions of his cops, since the settlement doesn’t admit guilt.
Local news outlet KOB reported:
“In the course of a conversation that’s one thing, but in the course of loud, boisterous or intoxicated language in a restaurant with children and families around who are objecting to it – that is something different,” said Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe.
You can’t say it on TV or radio, but can you say it loudly in a restaurant with in ear shot of small children?
“It certainly depends on the circumstances,” says Hebbe. “In this

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Federal Judge Rules New York Town Named Liberty Violated Man’s Rights When Arresting Him for Calling It a “Shitty Town”

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

A New York town called Liberty proved to be against liberty after it arrested a man for calling it a “shitty town” in protest over a speeding ticket.
But now that the New York Civil Liberties Union stepped in, the town of Liberty will now learn a lesson in liberty, specifically the First Amendment which gives us the right to criticize government officials.
Even if that criticism includes profanity. Or in this case, three profane words in a five-word sentence.
“Fuck your town, bitches” is exactly what William Barboza wrote on his payment form after pleading guilty for a speeding ticket in 2012.
He also scratched out the name Liberty and replaced it with the word “Tyranny.”
Tyranny Liberty officials were so offended that they refused the payment, ordering Barboza to drive into town to face a judge, a two-hour drive from his Connecticut home.
When he stepped into the courtroom, a prosecutor named Robert Zangla ordered him arrested, claiming that “court clerks felt threatened” by his words and were “worried for their safety because of it,” according to last week’s summary judgment against Liberty.
According to the NYCLU:
In 2012 Barboza was pulled over for speeding in the Town of Liberty, located in Sullivan County in upstate New York. He pleaded guilty by mail, and when he paid his fine expressed his frustration by scratching out “Liberty” and replacing it with “Tyranny” and writing “fuck your shitty town bitches” on the payment form. His payment was rejected, and he was instead ordered to travel the two hours from his home to make a court appearance. At that court hearing, two police officers acting on the orders of an assistant district attorney arrested Barboza for allegedly violating the state’s former “aggravated harassment” statute. He was fingerprinted, handcuffed to a bench, and then driven to a different court in a separate

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