Bob Buckhorn calls vote ending red-light cameras “grandstanding”

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One day after the Tampa City Council voted to reject the continuation of Red Light Cameras, Mayor Bob Buckhorn calls the decision simple election-year “grandstanding” by councilmembers.

“Sometimes, people showboat when the cameras come on,” Buckhorn told WTSP/10 News. “The reality is [red light camera technology] works. It’s reduced the number of crashes, our families are safer, [and] we’ll work with city council over the next week to see if we can come to some type of solution.”

The mayor added that it was not time to “showboat” or “grandstand” but to have serious discussions on a public safety program he said was “working.”

The entire City Council praised the way Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor administered the RLC program, but four councilmembers voting to not to renew the program after the April 6, 2014 contract end date expressed frustration with the mayor.

RLCs proved to be a significant source of income for Tampa, generating more than $3.5 million in the first two years. Councilmembers were concerned over Buckhorn’s lack of a response to questions about how the city was spending the extra revenue.

Buckhorn believes the commotion is only election-year posturing.

“They tend to ask those questions when the cameras come on as opposed to asking us privately,” Buckhorn said. “It’s an election year — I see that frequently every three years.

The city will not make improvement to “perfectly safe” intersections it does not own, the mayor said.

“The problem is people that run the red lights.”

Afterwards, Buckhorn told WTSP he promised to clarify for the City Council some of the road improvements made with RLC revenue.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.