If there were ever any doubt that the people of Arlington are endowed with an uncommon love of freedom and liberty, it will be put to rest at 4 p.m. this afternoon. That's when activists will deliver a petition to City Hall, signed by 11,402 Arlingtonians, calling for the abolition of red-light cameras.
So what, you ask? A bunch of people signed a piece of paper saying they don't like something. How hard can that be?
Not very. "Almost everybody [signed the petition], and it was a joy," says Faith Bussey, who helped organize the petition drive. "They'd see our table and they'd make a beeline for it. It didn't matter which side of the aisle they were from."
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But degree of difficulty isn't the point. The point is that Texas law requires a municipality to put a proposed charter amendment on the ballot if it's supported by a petition signed by at least 5 percent of the city's qualified voters. In Arlington, the threshold is 9,291, meaning the activists met their goal with room to spare.
There are a few more legal hurdles to clear before Arlington is forced to dismantle its red light cameras. The petition signatures have to be certified; the City Council has to vote to put a red light camera-ban on the ballot; voters then have to approve the ban. The latter step is the only one that isn't pure formality, and it's hard to imagine a world in which voters in Arlington's municipal elections this May will vote in to keep red-light cameras, whose popularity there is guesstimated to be on par with members of Congress and Justin Bieber.
We predict a landslide.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.