Sunday, November 07, 2010

Incompetency, thy name is the City of Houston

On August 24th, 2010, the petition to hold a referendum on the red light cameras in Houston was certified by the city secretary. The Contract between the City and ATS specifies that the contract may be canceled with 120 days notice. By my count, that was 70 days prior to the election. The petition drive was started in April however, so the city knew well in advance of the election that there was a strong possibility that these RLC's would be banned in Houston. So what did the City do to prepare for the possible defeat of the RLC's? NOT A DAMNED THING. An intelligent and competent administration would have taken steps to minimize the economic impact of the potential cancellation my making ATS legally aware that the contract is subject to cancellation pending the outcome of the election. But the city did not do that.

Most contracts have a escape clause called Force Majure, in which one party can declare that they have no choice but to default on the contract without prior notice due to circumstances beyond their control. It would appear that this contract does not have that sort of clause in it. Again, this reflects quite poorly on the city and it's legal team. Are the city Attorneys so incompetent that they could not foresee a legal challenge to these RLC's? After all, they have been controversial from the very beginning, surely someone could imagine that the opponents of the RLC's would not give up without a fight? I thought Bill White was supposed to be smartest guy in the room, regardless of the room. Apparently he wasn't quite so smart after all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time for a pitch fork protest!

November 07, 2010 1:23 PM  

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