Despite cleaning up shop in South Miami, I find myself the target of a manure-packed cluster bomb in the Neighbors section (Antoinette Fischer, Soapbox, July 26, 2015). Let me set the facts straight:
Headline: “South Miami could have avoided the red light cam scam”
Fact: There was no scam in South Miami — nobody paid for services not provided the city. The red light cameras are being installed at this time, as per the contract, at no cost to the city.
Allegation: “Due diligence was not performed” on the city’s red light camera contract.
Fact: Staff worked on this contract since 2011, researching all the red light camera contractors multiple times over. I did as well. Just a couple of weeks ago, only after the contract was approved did the city learn from the Herald that the former CEO at Redflex had bribed government officials in some states. Ethical contracting is extremely important to our staff. I’m sure the same is true for Pinecrest, which also contracted with Redflex.
Allegation: “Taxpayers suffer the consequences”
Fact: South Miami taxpayers are not out one red cent on red light cameras. Redflex has provided the financially safest red light camera deal on the market, a “Cost Neutrality Payment Option” that guaranteed the city will lose no money, even if drivers wise up and begin driving carefully through our intersections (which is our goal).
Allegation: “A prima facie example of a public private partnership that is tainted”
Fact: The contract was not “tainted” in any way. No one in this city administration who reviewed this contract was offered or accepted any bribe or consideration.
Allegation: “Mayor Philip Stoddard pushed the Redflex contract very aggressively”
Fact: I did not push the Redflex contract per se, but I have pushed for five years to get red light cameras at key intersections where pedestrians are at greatest risk from reckless motorists. Last winter, my entire family was nearly taken out by a reckless driver who blew the red light at U.S. 1 and Sunset — he dodged around us in the crosswalk and hit another car, injuring the driver, then sped away unidentified. A red light camera would have ID’d his plate. No municipality can afford to post a cop at every intersection 24/7, so red light cameras remain sanctioned by Florida Statute 316.0083 and endorsed by the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Police Chiefs Association because they improve public safety.
Dr. Philip K. Stoddard, Mayor of South Miami
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