Petition organizer seeking 10,000 signatures to rid city of traffic cameras

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There's a push to remove red light cameras in New Orleans.

"We just don't like them," said Mike Bowler with NOLA Initiative.

Bowler's mission is clear. He wants to put a stop to red light cameras in New Orleans.

"A lot of people don't like them for different reasons," Bowler said. "They think they're a violation of the Constitution, some people have engineering problems with them."

Bowler organized a petition and started asking for signatures Thursday. He said he only needs 10,000 people to sign to get the issue on a ballot.

"Plenty of people are unhappy with them," Bowler said. "When we're out collecting signatures, people's ears pop up when they hear we're asking for signatures to get rid of the cameras. It's kind of fun, actually."

We reached out to the city about the petition. In a statement the mayor's office said: "The purpose of the traffic camera program is to keep people safe"... by deterring red light and speeding violations. The city adds, "The technology promotes safety while using less police officers allowing the NOPD to focus more on violent crime."

"It's not," said Bowler. "It's a money grab. It's a plain and simple money grab."

The city said getting 10,000 signatures does not automatically place the issue on the ballot and that the City Council would need to pass an ordinance to do that. But Bowler disagrees and said he's confident New Orleans voters will agree with him that the traffic cameras need to go.

"I think it will win 70-30 any day of the week," he said.

The petition organizer believes it will take about 100 days to collect 10,000 signatures, and he's hoping to get the issue on the March ballot.

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