Houston civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen says he is going to sue the city for refusing to hand over any information whatsoever concerning a red-light camera traffic-safety study conducted by a Rice University professor.
Kallinen says he talked to the study's author, Professor Robert Stein, and knows the report is completed and shows data that is "in direct odds to" a Texas A&M study recently released stating that red light cameras reduce accidents by 30 percent across the state.
Kallinen has twice requested the report under the Texas Public Information Act, and says he has twice been denied. Patrick Trahan, spokesman for Mayor Bill White, has said the report is still in draft form, meaning technically the city is not in possession of the report, and therefore cannot release it. Trahan also told Hair Balls Tuesday he expects the city to release the report "in the next couple of days."
Still, on Wednesday Kallinen says he received a letter from the city saying it is forwarding his request to the Attorney General for a ruling on whether it has to fork over the report and related information.
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"The law unequivocally states that draft reports are public records and documents in the hands of people contracting with the city are public record," says Kallinen. "So, there's no exception for the report or the other documents I've requested that they won't give me, such as the contracts to have the study done or any emails. It's hard to believe there's not one email about this study. But they won't give me nothing."
Kallinen says he will file the lawsuit as quickly as possible.
"If people do something incorrect," he says, "you shouldn't wait too long until there's a consequence. The people need to know, for their own safety, the results of the completed or draft Rice University study so they can make a decision whether or not to continue the use of the red light cameras in Houston."
-- Chris Vogel