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Iowa City Traffic Camera Debate

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Some people love them.

I'm a hundred percent in favor of it...why should we deny law enforcement a valuable tool," resident Jim Walters said.

Others, however, see technology like red light cameras as a threat.

"Our city's motto is big city choices, small town atmosphere, and that type of surveillance isn't part of our small town atmosphere," resident Martha Hampel said

Two thousand signatures later, the city is paying attention.

"Petitioners have obtained the necessary signatures to put before council a proposed ordinance," Eleanor Dilkes

That ordinance would ban not only traffic cameras, but also license plate readers and drones.

10 intersections were being looked at for potential implementation of the cameras.

Today the city directed the city attorney to take a look at the petitioner's ordinance, making modifications, before bringing it back to the council.

"Just having the council say alright we'll pass a similar ordinance isn't the same as being able to put it on the ballot," said resident and petition supporter Caroline Dieterle.

But the city says too much time has passed since the red camera light ordinance was passed in February of 2012.

"There are time lines for when a referendum can be done, and they missed the first 60 day timeline," Dilkes said.

Petitioners are happy that their cause is under consideration.

"It's just the natural reaction to being watched and then having the city government using that watching to ticket people and take in revenue," Dieterle said.

Not everyone supports the petition, like Walters.

"Traffic cameras have been a very effective tool for reducing speeding," Walters said.

He says the cameras are welcome.

"Nobody is watching you, they're watching what you do with your car!"
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