Speed camera debate moves to Chicago's city council

February 15, 2012

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The debate over automated speed cameras in Chicago is not over yet, as the city council must iron out the details.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law earlier this month allowing Chicago to use the cameras, and fine speeders near parks and schools up to $100.

First, though, aldermen get a say. Ald. Anthony Beale of the 9th Ward said he wants to scale back the hours speed cameras are turned on near schools, and also look at the fines.

"We don't just vote on everything that's presented to us. We have to look at it and try to make it better," Beale said Wednesday in the back room of the city council chamber.

Ald. Leslie Hairston of the 5th Ward took a harder stance. At this point, she said, she's "absolutely" against the cameras.

"Not big brother, not big brother," Hairston warned. "And at what point do the citizens right's matter? At what does the constitution matter? At what point do our freedoms matter?"

"The victim is a child hit by a car going 10 to 15 miles an hour [over the speed limit] near a school zone. The victim is not a speeder," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said to reporters in a press conference Wednesday.

Emanuel lobbied hard for the speed cameras to pass the state legislature and now has to sell the idea to the city council.

A spokesperson for the mayor said an ordinance will likely be introduced by the next council meeting.