Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Red-light camera plan pits Cook County against suburbs
Opponents, proponents debate legality of move

Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Chicago Tribune
by Dan Hinkel


Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder paused for a long moment before finishing her suggestion about what Cook County can do with its recently announced plan to use red-light cameras to ticket suburban drivers.

"Cook County can just take their cameras," Mulder said, "and put them anywhere they want, but not in my town."

Several communities have launched efforts to try to keep the cameras out after county commissioners last week voted to install them, releasing a list of 30 "top candidate intersections" — crossings with at least one county-maintained road in towns from Tinley Park to Schaumburg to Wilmette.

So far, only 20 intersections are expected to get cameras when the devices are rolled out, according to county officials, who said they hope to have them up and running sometime this year.

Opposition has been loudest in the north and northwest suburbs. Leaders in Schaumburg, which has six intersections on the list, said they may seek an injunction to block the devices. At least one community, Wilmette, drafted a resolution opposing the plan and blasting the county for what suburban officials claim is a revenue grab.

James Ramos, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, said no information was available on potential revenues the devices would generate. But he said estimates indicate the plan should at least break even.

The county, Ramos said, has no plan to share camera revenues with the municipalities.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin said tentative budget calculations have placed the cameras' possible revenue haul at $2 million in the first year. Suffredin, who voted in favor of the contract, said he thinks the cameras could make the intersections safer.

Addressing concerns that the move is a gambit to boost revenue, Stroger spokeswoman Chris Geovanis said the plan's only goal is to "enhance safety." She said the county would strive to avoid inaccurate citations, and said the intersections were chosen using state-provided accident data.

"It's a safety-first thing," she said.

Cook County Highway Department Superintendent Rupert Graham Jr. said the intersections were chosen using traffic statistics and information on the number and severity of accidents at the intersections. The cameras would only record traffic on the roads that are maintained by the county, he said.

Some municipal leaders were casually receptive to the plan. Officials in Buffalo Grove and Tinley Park said they would not oppose a thoughtfully deployed camera program. Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said the legal department was looking into jurisdictional issues, but said he generally supports red-light cameras.

But leaders in several suburbs question how intersections in their municipalities were chosen.

Wilmette Village Manager Timothy Frenzer said the intersection at Lake Avenue and Ridge Road was once a trouble spot, but changes in lane configurations and new traffic signals have reduced crashes there. Wilmette has no red-light cameras, he said.

Burr Ridge Village Administrator Steven Stricker and Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett both said they weren't sure why intersections in their municipalities were chosen. Stricker said Burr Ridge has no cameras, and Bennett said Palos Hills has two.

"It sounds to me like they haven't done their research," Stricker said.

Commissioners Timothy Schneider and Tony Peraica have vowed to try to halt the plan.

Schneider said he has asked the state's attorney's office to examine whether the county can legally use the cameras to monitor intersections in municipal jurisdictions. Some suburban leaders have questioned the county's right to do so.

Chicago attorney Eydie Glassman said she sees no jurisdictional reason the county couldn't use cameras to remotely patrol county-maintained roads, even if those roads cut through municipalities.

Municipal leaders are united on one point: They say Cook County officials didn't consult them during the plan's formulation.

"We just found out through the media, which does not make us real happy," Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said.

Graham said the county would notify municipalities once the intersections are selected.

Schwantz said residents in Palatine, a community where a wide majority voted symbolically in favor of seceding from Cook County last spring, would not be "excited" by the prospect of being monitored by the county.

Schneider agreed, saying, "This just gives everybody all the more reason to want to secede from Cook County."

Sitting on the patio at a coffee shop a few hundred feet from the Schaumburg and Roselle roads intersection in Schaumburg, Karen Groves and Kathy Boyd disagreed on whether a red-light camera there would improve safety.

Boyd said the light would increase the danger by encouraging drivers to speed up or slow down. Groves said she thinks the cameras are good for safety.

But neither Schaumburg resident wants to give any more revenue to Cook County.

"I don't trust any of these people in office now," Boyd said.

Freelance writer Graydon Megan contributed to this story.

dhinkel@tribune.com


Recent Headlines

Choosing Cook County judges, Justice Ginsburg reminds us, should not be a popularity contest
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx interested, wary of working with Trump White House on criminal justice reform
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Is Clerk Karen Yarbrough ‘best official’ in county — or is patronage hiring flap only ‘tip of the iceberg’?
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A secret vote will choose Cook County’s next judicial chief. A $270 million budget, thousands of employees, and the future of a huge court system are at stake.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Evans Faces Challenge Thursday For Position As Cook County Chief Judge
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Cook County Health's John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Receives $5M Federal Grant to Support Cancer Research
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County Forest Preserves Might Pitch Property Tax Hike To Voters
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Column: Ethically, Todd Ricketts owes Cook County six more years of property taxes on his Wilmette house. He should pay up.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Watchdog accuses County Clerk Karen Yarbrough of running ‘illegal patronage’ operation, wants court oversight
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Prosecutors Decline To File Charges In About 1 In Every 5 Murder Cases
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Maps Story of Opioid Epidemic with New Website
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ News

Slow refund checks for Water Tower residents—including the county treasurer—lead to proposed fee
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Criminal history vs. compassion? County debate over role of rap sheets in rental decisions
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County’s new law barring landlords from turning away tenants with certain criminal backgrounds faces controversy
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Upholding Cook County’s assault weapons ban
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Hospital rehab awarded $3 million in state tax credits
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Curbed Chicago

Cook County Finance Committee to approve $3 million settlement in medical malpractice case
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot, Preckwinkle must stop feuding with each other, work together on gun violence
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Here’s Why Cook County’s Property Tax Freeze Might Thaw
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
WBEZ News

South, southwest suburbs getting grants to beef up security
Friday, August 30, 2019
Daily Southtown

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP