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Gov. Hobbs veto keeps Paradise Valley, Arizona photo radar traffic enforcement programs intact this session

Photo of Photo radar sign
Above is a breakdown of traffic data collected by the Town of Paradise Valley meant to illustrate how photo radar is being used to help keep Valley motorists safe. (File Photos/
Paradise Valley: photo radar data illustrates tech as critical public safety tool
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Albert Einstein is credited as saying, ‘the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant,’ and in the game of statehouse politicking a dash of creativity, imagination and — acting on a hunch — are all pieces of any self-respecting lobbyist’s bailiwick.

Paradise Valley Town Council employs HighGround Public Affairs Consulting to provide lobbying services at the Arizona Capitol and the firm’s chief operations officer explained back in April what has now unfolded regarding one key Paradise Valley item.

That item? The continued usage of photo radar photo enforcement.

On the 95th day of the regular session of the 56th Legislature of the Arizona capitol, Paradise Valley Town Council received a detailed update on the shifting state of affairs from the chief operating officer at HighGround.

The day was Thursday, April 13, and the place was Paradise Valley Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, which is about a 15-minute jaunt from the Arizona Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St.

Presented by Doug Cole that afternoon — COO at the state’s oldest public affairs firm — the expert political consultant provided an account of bills passed, failed, vetoed and still part of the legislative machine at the capitol.

Mr. Cole offered the local governing board an overview of general information regarding the dramatic shift in political temperament at the legislature. A bill of discussion that afternoon was SB 1234, which at the time equated to a complete prohibition of the usage of photo radar in Arizona cities and towns.

“We anticipate that this bill has the votes in the [Arizona] House and will make it to the governor’s desk,” Mr. Cole said of the current political realities but explains the temperament between key bill sponsors and the governor’s office predicts a likely veto of the proposed legislation.

“And, thank you, mayor, for creating a veto letter. We have a very convincing argument … why did it make this far? These bills normally would not pass but the dynamics have changed a bit here and members are saving their hard votes for other things, if that makes any sense.”

During that meeting, Mr. Cole predicted Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoing the prohibition of photo radar bill, which is a typical legislative effort that materializes annually at the Arizona Legislature.

Last Friday, the AZFamily Digital News Staff reported Gov. Hobbs did veto the photo radar prohibition bill.

Photo radar: A key piece of Paradise Valley public safety

Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner calls this technology, which the Town of Paradise Valley is credited with pioneering with municipal use, a key piece to keeping roads safety while maintaining a limited-government model.

“We have an outstanding external lobbying team at HighGround,” he told the Arizona Digital Free Press Wednesday, May 31. “Their work at the direction of the Town Council has been instrumental in protecting our town from harmful legislation at the capitol, year after year, across a variety of issues — including this one.”

But Mayor Bien-Willner reminds at the Town of Paradise Valley protecting the interests of the community is a team sport.

“They have tremendous expertise, know-how, and great connections to be able to get things done,” he explained of the scope of HighGround services.

“We are also grateful to Jill Keimach and Amy Rebenar for their legislative efforts overall, and to Chief Freeman Carney, Vice Mayor Scott Moore, and Councilmember Anna Thomasson for their excellent work on this key public safety issue.”

The No. 1 priority for Mayor Bien-Willner, who is pictured below? Public safety.

“Photo enforcement is a proven, critical tool to keep citizens using our roads safe and is supported by our community and also unanimously supported by our Town Council,” he explained.

“Because the bill that would ban our community from saving lives by using these tools reached the governor’s desk, I took action to ask for the governor’s veto. Fortunately, with her veto, the governor preserved the ability of local communities to use the proven technology to enhance public safety. Our Town can therefore continue to use this technology successfully, as it has for many decades.”

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