SSF mayor to red light runners: Don't pay your ticket

February 12, 2010 6:27:43 PM PST
The mayor of South San Francisco's message to those captured on red light cameras at two heavily traveled intersections in the city before Jan. 27 is this: Don't pay your ticket!

"We don't want any more money to refund, so please don't pay your ticket." That is South San Francisco Mayor Mark Addiego's answer to drivers who were nabbed by red light cameras in the city between Aug. 15 and Jan. 27. If you have already paid your ticket, the mayor says you will be reimbursed.

It all stems from one big snafu in which the City Council failed to seal the deal with the manufacturer of the cameras.

"The ratification of the contract somehow fell off the radar," Addiego said.

City officials believe some 3,000 drivers were ticketed, amounting to more than a million dollars in citations. They occurred at El Camino and Westborough, and El Camino and Hickey. Fixing the mistake will be costly for this small city, especially during lean times.

"It could range up to $50,000 to undo it, just administratively with manpower," Addiego said.

Not to mention all the money the city would have received from those huge fines.

Annalyn Chacon was caught on camera twice just one month after she moved to the area. Both times Chacon was making what is called a "California stop," a rolling stop as you make a right against a red light. The tickets have cost her almost $900.

Almost all of the many e-mails we received since we broke the story last week were from motorists who made those California stops.

Paul Ault was cited in September making the same kind of stop as Chacon did.

"I know it's a big revenue line for the city, but it doesn't seem responsible," Ault said.

Believe it or not, the mayor seems to agree.

"I don't think they rise to the same level as someone who blows a red light, so I think we need to look at the red light cameras for right turns versus through the intersection," Addiego said.

The mayor says a letter will be sent in two weeks to all those cited explaining how they can obtain a refund.

For information about obtaining a refund, call the red light ticket hotline at (650) 829-3777.


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