Much is being made of a Texas A&M study recently released saying that red light cameras reduce accidents by 30 percent across the state.
But Hair Balls has gotten a whiff that there's another study out there looking specifically at Houston and that the results are not so rosy. What's more, a local civil rights lawyer says the City of Houston is refusing to release it.
Attorney Randall Kallinen says Rice University professor Robert Stein (who is no enemy of the mayoral administration) completed a study three months ago and turned it over to the city. Kallinen says he spoke to Stein about the report.
"Legally," says Kallinen, "I could tell you everything I know about that study, but morally I told Mr. Stein that I wouldn't say much about it. But let me tell you, that draft report is in direct odds to what the report from A&M said."
Kallinen says both he and the Houston Chronicle requested the report under the Public Information Act, but were denied.
Patrick Trahan, spokesman for the mayor, says that since the report is still in draft form, technically, the city is not in possession of it and therefore cannot release it.
"We do expect to have it in the next couple of days, "he says, "and as soon as we have it, we are going to release it."
Kallinen argues bullshit.
He says he conferred with Joe Larsen, who sits on the board of directors of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
"Joe said that documents in control of contractors are public record and draft reports are public record," Kallinen says.
Update: Larsen himself simply says that the City "is wrong. Draft documents are not excepted under the [information] act."
-- Chris Vogel
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.