Red Light Cameras: Tamarac’s Terrible Towers


By: Sharon Aron Baron

I received my September issue of Money Magazine the other day and on the front cover was “Best Places to Live 2013.” As I was flipping through all the pages of ideal places to live around the country, I was hoping that Tamarac would one day be listed among them. That was before I took a drive down University and saw the red light ticket camera monstrosities being installed in our city today.

There’s no going back: Red light cameras are going up, and sadly, they are so aesthetically unappealing.

The Mayor and Commissioners voted yes to these back in 2012 after hearing the pitch from American Traffic Solutions. In 2010, the city commission in Coral Springs voted on the cameras as well and went with Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS). ACS’s cameras were at least more aesthetically pleasing, blending in a little better with the roadway instead of standing out.

I’ve looked at both types, and American Traffic Solutions are the ugliest of the two – the company the Tamarac City Commission chose.

Tamarac's Towers of Terrible Taste

Do looks matter in Tamarac anyway?

This is the city that has a Public Art Committee, but no beautification committee. That would be like “putting lipstick on a pig” as we would say in Texas, before Sarah Palin made the phrase famous.

Our City Manager Michael Cernech praises Tamarac as a “great place to raise a family” in the 50th Anniversary video that came out this spring, however, before being promoted from Deputy City Manager to City Manager in 2009, he set his sights outside the “City for your Life” and moved his family into a $570,000 home in Parkland, Florida.

Financial Services Director Mark Mason who led the project for the red light cameras, doesn’t live in Tamarac as well. In 2010 after working as the Financial Director for the City of Cape Coral, he was hired by the City of Tamarac and moved to Coral Springs.

The question really isn’t why they moved to those cities, but why didn’t they choose to live in Tamarac?

How are we going to ever be one of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live if those that are making decisions that affect the aesthetics of our city don’t even want to live here?

If you are going to be making decisions that sets precedent in our city, then please do a better job of making our community look like the neighborhood that you live in before the “City for your Life” becomes more like “Run for your life.”

Just don’t run through those red lights though, or that will be $158.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident’s a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That’s why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.


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  • Lori

    How about planting trees along university instead of planting these? This way you wouldn’t know the difference between us and Coral Springs! Surprised we don’t have a beautification committee. Seems like that would be important

  • Alex Johnson

    $158 = 3 days pay for a minimum wage worker. Unfair tax on the poor ? Welcome to Tamarac.

  • David Shaw

    How about also getting rid of these scameras based on the fact that they have everything to do with revenue, and very little with safety. News outlets across the state are increasingly exposing these devices to what they really are – ca$h cow$. See and for just a couple of examples.

    Once cities start timing their yellow lights properly (according to USDOT guidelines) and get rid of the right on red violations (which only account for 0.4% of all accidents anyway – another sign its all about the money), communities won’t be able to afford the $4000-$5000 per month per camera lease plus administrative costs for officers to review footage, attend court hearings, etc., and the cameras will come down.

  • NewRomeSucks

    I only wish I lived close enough to boycott Tamarac.

  • NamVet1971

    Questions to ask your accuser, if it is a red light camera, when you contest a red light ticket: When was the last time you were calibrated? Are all your circuits surge protected? How many surges, voltage spikes and other electrical noise events have you experienced since you were last calibrated?
    How can you be sure you were calibrated correctly? Can’t answer these questions?

    Your Honor, I request that this case be dismissed on the grounds that the evidence can not be trusted or verified and I can’t question my accuser as required under the law.

  • Paul_Henry1

    If the city ever gets an “adherence to the principles of American justice” committee, maybe then the automated for-profit scheme will go away. In the meantime, vote OUT any politician that supports this scheme.

  • Tamacrap

    They need some way to pay for thier golden parachutes, 200K a year salaries and free medical care.

    It won’t stop until people unite and protest.

  • Mitch P.

    First: How many of you here have attended your City Hall meetings to let your elected officials know how you feel about this issue? I’m sure you do Sharon – at times, but how about you others. Though I sense your passion here, government requires more than your spewing on a blog. Effective government requires your participation. It seems as though your City lacks this. It’s why you got stuck with Grad. Same with us in Margate and McLean. Your City needs you to show up at meetings.
    Second, I don’t think it’s proper to drag Money mag’s cover into this, especially since the publication has nothing to do with the issue. You’ve just drummed up the connection in your mind Sharon. Sorry. But in poor taste.

  • clarice

    Mitch P., the commission meetings appear on TV. You can see what’s going on very well plus you don’t have to be in the same room as this bunch. I do agree that being there and objecting to some of this from the floor would be good. Can’t wait for the next election. We need to start afresh with ALL new commissioners, Mayor and Vice-Mayor. So many of them are an embarrassment to the City and I’m not referring to Grad alone. Hearing some of them carry on about Grad in such undignified, bullying words was a very poor reflection on each of them as well as our City. I’m embarrassed by them all.

  • Rose M. Hodges

    I live in Florida City. I received 3 of these photo tickets. I challenged each one by requesting a court date. I won all three. I would rather be pulled over by a person, not a camera.

  • Rose M. Hodges

    I live in Florida City, Fl. I received 3 of these photo tickets. I would rather be ticketed by a live person, not a camera. I requested a hearing for each one and I one. Don’t pay those tickets. I found out from a Police Department and a Clerk of the courts that those cameras have defects. Don’t give up your hard earned monies.

  • Can we protest this as well?