CHICAGO (CBS) — A frequent critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel was applauding his actions, if not his words, in the wake of a Chicago Tribune report finding thousands of erroneous red light tickets might have been issued during mysterious spikes in citations.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) was glad to hear the mayor has asked Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to look into unusually high numbers of questionable red light tickets during some periods.
It’s an investigation Waguespack called for after a detailed Tribune report on unexplained spikes in red light violations since 2007.
“I think it’s a good sign that he’s finally listening on this one issue, instead of being silent about it for so long,” Waguespack said.
The mayor did not comment publicly on the Tribune investigation for four days, and Waguespack objected to Emanuel’s brief statement that it’s not up to him to say if some motorists should get refunds for red light tickets that might have been mistakes.
“It’s absolutely his issue. I think … as mayor of the city, he needs to take the lead on it, and say ‘We’re going to look at this particular issue. We’re going to look at the whole system. We’re going to revamp it where necessary. And I’m the mayor of the city and I will do this on behalf of the citizens and the drivers of the city,” Waguespack said.
He noted Ferguson’s office last year criticized the city’s record-keeping in regards to red light cameras, The audit found the city was not keeping sufficient records or documents to substantiate claims that red light cameras are placed at the city’s most dangerous intersections in terms of right-angle crashes caused by drivers running red lights.
The alderman said the inspector general’s office now must dig deeper.
“Unfortunately, our scope at that time was a lot narrower. I don’t think we realized the fraud or the problems that were going on with it, as we do now with this Trib investigation,” he said. “The problem is there’s no oversight from City Hall. There’s no oversight from CDOT [the Chicago Department of Transportation], and that’s the problem I still have with this, is that we need people in charge of it, and taking responsibility for it.”