Baltimore City Councilmen demand speed camera answers

BALTIMORE - A member of the Baltimore City Council said Monday if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration doesn't turn over all of the information it has on the city's failed speed camera program, he'll push for subpoenas to try and compel documents to be released and force members of the Mayor's staff to testify about what went wrong.

Baltimore City's speed camera program has been shut down for 10 months after reports of inaccurate tickets being issued.

Quentin Harris, of Baltimore, said when the program was up and running his girlfriend got a speed camera ticket, and just mailed in the $40 penalty.

He said to restore trust, the city should go back and review every ticket issued by its speed cameras.

"I think the city should step up for their mistake," he said. "For the faulty contracts they put in there and faulty machinery, I think it's the city's responsibility."

Harris said he's not against speed cameras in general.

"In certain neighborhoods we do need them, you know as far as the schools and her kids. I just want them to work right," he said.

In her State of the City address on Monday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that's already been happening.

"I want to make sure that you understand, whenever my administration was presented with complete information about a faulty camera, those cameras were taken off-line, tickets were voided and refunds issued," she said.

It's apparent that Councilmen Carl Stokes and Jim Kraft don't understand that. They've each called for investigations into the speed camera program.

Monday night, council members approved measures that will move the investigation into Kraft's Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee.

"We really have nothing in detail in terms of what went on here," Kraft said.

That's why he's asked the Mayor for thousands of documents regarding the city's relationship with its two failed speed camera companies, Brekford and Xerox, and any other documents on the speed camera program.

And by the way he also says -- he agrees with Quintin.

"I think if we can determine that the person paid a ticket and they shouldn't have gotten a ticket in the first place than they should get their money back," Kraft said.

Kraft says at this point he's trying to collect information about what went wrong.

He's also working to make sure his committee has the power to issue subpoenas to force members of the Mayor's staff to give up documents, or even testify under oath if they don't give up the information he's looking for.

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