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Burns Urges Passage of Red-Light Camera Legislation—A Day Before Lauzen Press Conference

A day before his opponent in the Republican primary holds a press conference on the topic, Kane County Board chairman candidate Kevin Burns puts out a press release endorsing the proposed legislation.

It's curiouser and curiouser, move and countermove time in the race for the Republican nomination for Kane County Board chairman.

Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns issued a press release today supporting the "common-sense direction" of two state Senate bills regulating the use of red-light cameras.

Not coincidentally, the press release comes about 24 hours before Burns' GOP primary opponent, state Sen. Chris Lauzen, announced he would be holding a press conference on that topic.

The press conference is to be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at the northeast corner of the intersection of Randall Road and Williamsburg Drive—one of the two places where red-light cameras have been installed in Geneva.

In the Burns press release, the mayor announces his support for SB 2863 and SB 3504, introduced by state Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Barrington), who is a scheduled speaker at Lauzen's Thursday press conference. The bills address the issue of ticketing on right-turn-on-red and the timing of the yellow light, according to the Burns release.

“This is the common-sense direction we took with the installation of cameras while I have been mayor,” Burns said. “These two bills reflect exactly what we have done here in Geneva. It’s a shame that no senator, including Sen. Lauzen, has supported them.”

In reference to the press conference Lauzen and Duffy have announced, Burns said, "This technology has been in place in Geneva for two years and just now Chris is expressing his dissatisfaction? Typical political opportunism by the senator." 

Burns pointed out that Geneva has two intersections where red-light cameras are in use, and tickets are not issued for right-turn-on-red. The cameras are at Williamsburg and Randall Road and at Fargo and Randall Road, both considered dangerous intersections.

“The most dangerous intersections in Geneva required a new way to enforce the problems we've seen for years,” said Burns. “There is no room to post a police officer at these two intersections, so we explored ways to address the dangerous situations. The red-light cameras were approved by the city and county, and the permit authorizing the technology was granted by the county with a three-year sunset clause, meaning it expires in less than a year. It's unlikely that a request for a permit extension will be filed by the city.”

The process Geneva has in place includes review by police officers before any
violation is issued, the Burns press release states.

“Our review is clear,” said Burns. “We don’t issue tickets for right-turn-on-red, and we use as a guide the question: ‘Would we issue a ticket if a police officer were present?’ Our statistics are public and the hearings are public. The city entered into this innovative approach to help improve safety as were asked again and again to do by residents and guests alike."

According to the Lauzen press release, Duffy will speak against red-light cameras as the lead sponsor of legislation that would restrict and eliminate these devices. Peter Breen, chairman and founder of BanRedCams.com, will also speak and endorse Lauzen based on his opposition to red-light cameras.

Dennis C. Ryan February 16, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Another nail in Burns' political coffin.
Rudy February 16, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Wow!! Chris Just got my Vote!! Less intrusion!! I think Kevin has done a good job over all I strongly disagree with him on this topic! I always felt we were a better community that didn't need heartless Robo-Cops in the sky. I haven't had a ticket in 10+ years and have never been ticketed by a red light cameras. It just seems like presumed guilt until you prove your innocent. Not to mention an eye sore that makes Randall road feel even less like Geneva more like Chicago.
Larry J. Frieders February 16, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Red Light Cameras. What's next? Stop sign cameras, public park cameras, school cameras, restaurant cameras, bar cameras, liquor store cameras, house cameras, bookstores cameras, library cameras, parking lot cameras. Can you say slippery slope?
Robert miller February 16, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I love Kevin Burns quote "typical political opportunism by the senator". So he releases a public statement a day before his opponent has a press conference about the cameras. Wouldn't that be a typical political opportunist? So Kevin must be the typical politician?
Larry J. Frieders February 16, 2012 at 04:33 PM
My friend, Richard, says that heaven and politics are mutually exclusive. I think he's correct.
Chad Baker February 16, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I hadn’t even planned on voting in the Republican primary. But based on this article I will be voting for Chris Lauzen. I was against red light cameras years before Geneva installed them. I’m even more against them now since the Williamsburg camera’s flash fires in my bedroom window all night long. I’ve worked with my aldermen (one who voted for the cameras and one against) on trying to get this resolved. They’ve worked with the red light camera company on my behalf, but determined they could not fix this without making the camera inoperable. I also sent Kevin Burns several emails asking him about the statistically incorrect comments he had made to the Kane County Chronicle about the red light cameras effectiveness and I never received a response.
Justin Eggar February 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Larry - are you suggesting there is a slippery slope by allowing these things to erode rights, or that there is a logically slippery slope to assume that red light cameras ultimately end in these things? On a side note, there are already cameras in liquor stores, parking lots, banks, taxis, etc. I'm interested in which of those you think should have cameras in them and which shouldn't? I dislike red light camera because research has proven them ineffective. A red light camera isn't an issue of freedom (any more than increasing patrols in that area to catch more offenders is an issue of freedom)... it's a matter of whether it does what is intended, and that is to improve the safety of our roads.
Justin Eggar February 16, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Are you really choosing a candidate based upon whether or not they agree with red light cameras?
Dave S. February 16, 2012 at 10:12 PM
You don't issue tickets for right turns on red? What a joke. I find it amazing that Geneva's own website states that tickets are issued for rolling right turns on red. Just check out the Red Light Enforcement Program. Even better, check out the Citation and Traffic Crash data, also clearly available on the Geneva website. While the data is not fully up to date, a total of 22 tickets were issued at these two intersections in 2009. An astounding 6274 tickets were issued in 2010. At a hundred bucks a pop. Thats a $625,200 increase in revenue. Less 30% for the RedLight Camera company. Looks more like a money making opportunity than a safety issue. Again, your own data does not support any claim that these intersections are any safer. You claim your trying to fix a problem where no problem existed. The first post is correct. Keep the nails coming.
Larry J. Frieders February 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Justin, my answer is "both". Yes, I am aware that there are cameras "everywhere" and they are an appalling affront to liberty. We're being s[pied upon at every turn. I mentioned slippery slope because I see that we're already sliding down. The fact that our "leaders" are actively searching for more ways to invade our privacy and raid our pockets should be upsetting to most of those of us who cherish liberty. The sad thing is that a LOT of people probably applaud these innovations. Heck, NCIS and the rest use all that data to catch the really bad guys. The good citizen isn't aware that Big Bro is also watching when we pick our noses - or our butts. All of that data is alive someplace and can easily be used to embarrass or burn us. I warn that we're already ON that slope and we should be making plans to halt our slide and reverse it. Personally, I'd prefer to have NO CAMERAS anywhere watching me. When I notice that I'm being recorded I make a point to issue a proper salute to the camera - even though the vast majority of the captures remain in storage.
Larry J. Frieders February 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Chris Lauzen has numerous qualities that make him the best Republican choice for that position. He is principled almost to a fault. He staunchly believes in our rights and does everything in his power to protect them. He is fiscally conservative and an excellent accountant. I can guarantee that Chris will find the excesses in our county mess and resolve them. He needs to be the person we place in that powerful position.
stacey villanueva February 16, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Let's compare apples to apples. There is a difference between a rolling stop and a stop. A rolling stop regardless if at a red stoplight or not is illegal. The question that Burn's said was their standard .. If there was a Police officer present would there be a ticket issues... defines the problem. If there was an officer present and the car made a rolling stop, there would be a ticket. There has. Ot been any tickets issued for turn on right in a legal manner.
Jon Zahm February 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Don't forget the data from other intersections across the country that indicate the dangerous acceleration through the intersections and slamming on the brakes before the light, that are caused by fear of receiving the ticket.
Dave S. February 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Then why even mention they don't ticket for right turns on red. He might as well said they don't issue tickets for going the speed limit, proper turn signal use, and following at a safe distance. My guess would be that 90 percent of those tickets issued were for a right turn on red, to somebody heading to the 7-11 for a cup of coffee, or a shopper at the Commons. I've never received a ticket for slightly rolling a right turn on red. I've also never received a ticket for going 57 in a 55. Both illegal, I guess.
Justin Eggar February 16, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Thanks for your feedback Larry, but the question was really meant for Chad. I'm always interested when I hear a political statement that is the equivalent of "I don't agree with this one minor thing so I'm voting for somebody else". I'm trying to understand if any little thing is potentially a deal breaker, or if it's an excuse to verbalize a load of other feelings that a person has for a candidate. It's an interesting thing to chose a candidate based on the fact that their competition supports a few red lights in town. To me that is minor... if it was something along the lines of "they have put is $50 million further in debt, there was an example of unethical action, the town is dying, etc". Those are things that one would think people would vote on, not necessarily a minor issue. So, I'm trying to understand how a minor issues essentially overtakes a larger issue in someones mind.
Sandy Scholl February 16, 2012 at 11:39 PM
What do you mean you do not issue tickets? What would the purpose be of the cameras then? The revenue these 2 intersectons has produced for the city are enormous, yet the street I live on still remains in disrepair - sorry I digress. We all know the most dangerous intersection is Kaneville and Randall. Fargo and Randall as well as Williamburg and Randall are turns into shopping centers. It is a total farce to attempt to guise something under safety when it is really all about the revenue.
Chad Baker February 17, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Justin - I actually have a long list of Kevin Burns issues. I was just trying to stick to the subject of the article. My #2 issue is the train station parking lot payment machine fiasco.
Justin Eggar February 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Larry, out of curiosity.. is it that you dislike the technology component of it? For instance, if a police officer was stationed at an intersection that is prone to accidents... would that be an affront to liberty as well? Or if an officer was tasked to a park to decrease <insert crime here>. Is the affront that the deed is captured when there wasn't enough effort put into the capture? Or, that we as humans dislike the fact that we have a harder time beating the system? Or that it dehumanizes us to some extent? That's specifically in regards to the red light cameras. As I said, I'm not a fan because they cause additional issues. I understand the Orwellian nature of the issue... just trying to understand the "affront to liberty" if you will. Thanks Larry!
Justin Eggar February 18, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Thanks for your answer Chad - I had thought that it was the "deal breaker" based on: "I hadn’t even planned on voting in the Republican primary. But based on this article I will be voting for Chris Lauzen." As a piece in a larger puzzle though it makes a lot more sense for me. Have a good weekend.
Larry J. Frieders February 20, 2012 at 03:45 PM
The affront to liberty is the growing list of methods being deployed to keep an eye on free citizens. If there is such a thing as an intersection that is prone to accidents, the solution is to fix what it is that makes that place more vulnerable to accidents. Merely watching and collecting fines doesn't resolve whatever the underlying issues may be. In a similar manner, adding watchful eyes to a supposedly dangerous park doesn't make the park safer - unless every possibility for an area of crime is under observation. Again, the park can probably be made safer without the need for additional police officers. Mere observing is one thing. Making a record of it is something else. We're free to watch people. WE're not free to photograph them without permission, and we certainly are prohibited from posting their photographs publicly or profiting from the sale of their pictures without permission. Yet, the government sees no issue with photographing our vehicles - and the occupants. We seem to be confusing the acts of missing a red light with actual accidents. Using the accident conversation makes it easier to "sell" the invasion of personal liberty that happens each time the government takes my picture or records my activities. The camera issue is designed to look like a safety issue when it is actually generating revenue. That is a form of taxation that involves spying on otherwise innocent citizens - illegal in the basic sense of liberty, but tolerated nonetheless.

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