The council will not act today on Mayor Annise Parker‘s resolution seeking its approval to shut off the city’s red-light cameras and fight its vendor in court over breach of contract. Councilwoman Sue Lovell tagged it, delaying a vote until at least next week.
The city contends that it canceled its contract with ATS in mid-November when Parker ordered the shutoff of the cameras after a referendum in which 53 percent of Houston voters called for an end to them. The mayor ordered the cameras turned on again last month after a federal judge declared the referendum invalid.
Last weekend, three weeks after the cameras began issuing notices of violation again, Parker submitted the resolution asking the council’s approval to turn off the cameras while she fights ATS in court or pursues a settlement.
The resolution states that ATS asked for $18 million, then rescinded that offer three days later when Parker decided to recommend that the council reject it.
“That’s not negotiating in good faith. Now they’re just jerking us around. I’m doing what I always intended to do,” Parker said.
“As long as ATS was productively engaged with us, we were negotiating an end to the cameras,” the mayor said. “But ATS is not negotiating in good faith on an end to the cameras, so we’re just going to deal with them. We’re going to rescind the ordinance.”
Unlike the previous article, this one has happy quotes from camera opponents, though I’m sure they’re somewhat less happy now that it’s been delayed for a week. I strongly suspect the Mayor, who said she thinks ATS is trying to draw things out till the end of the contract, just wants to get this resolved. There’s still the matter of how much the city would owe ATS, and I daresay some people’s resolve might quiver a bit if the price is $10 million or more. We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.