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Rahm Bids Out Speeding Camera Contract After Political Ally Revealed As Lobbyist For Camera Firm

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 13, 2012 10:00PM

Image Credit: -Tripp-
The Emanuel Administration unveiled its speeding camera plan and ordinance to aldermen yesterday. Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein said that, if approved, the new security cameras would be rolled out slowly, a 90-day education plan would be introduced to let the public know of the plan, and motorists caught speeding during the first 30 days after a camera has been installed would receive warning notices, regardless of how many times they've been caught on camera. Klein also said installation of the cameras would begin in the fall, with revenue from them beginning to trickle in by the end of the year.

Even though the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation allowing for a massive increase in speeding cameras in November, City Council still has to approve an ordinance allowing for their installations, Klein said Mayor Emanuel would be willing to cap the number of camera installations to 360, in response to reports and criticism that as much as half of the city could be blanketed by them. Even though cameras would track motorists between 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 p.m. on Friday, they would also be used as surveillance 24 hour a day, lending credence to the Emanuel argument they're more about safety than revenue and underlining the balancing act he'll have to walk between the two.

But someone could be getting paid out of this, and the Tribune published an excellent story today on a longtime Emanuel supporter whose been lobbying hard on behalf of red light camera companies. Greg Goldner helped Emanuel when he first ran for Congress, during his mayoral campaign, and worked behind the scenes to round up the support of ministers for his plan for reforming Chicago Public Schools.

Goldner happens to be the principal partner in Resolute Consulting, LLC, a lobbying firm that represents, among others, Redflex Traffic Systems, the red light camera provider for the city of Chicago.

Redflex stands to make tens of millions of dollars with Emanuel's plan. Both Goldner and Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton told the Tribune there was nothing to see there, even though a blind man could connect the dots. (Earlier this afternoon, Emanuel announced that the contract to install the speeding cameras would go out to bid.), a website that covers red light camera and camera enforcement news, has been tracking Goldner's actions lobbying for Redflex and other camera enforcement companies in other states.

In addition to being a staunch Emanuel supporter, Goldner was a senior aide to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, worked on Rod Blagojevich's gubernatorial campaigns, and formed the political action committee For A Better Chicago. The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform last year filed a complaint against For A Better Chicago to have their donor list made public.