The Democratic challenger for a state Senate seat says it's time to end the use of red-light cameras in Illinois.
Corinne Pierog of St. Charles argues the cameras have turned into little more than a way for towns to gouge taxpayers and make money.
Her Republican opponent, incumbent John Millner of Carol Stream, says he remains firmly behind the cameras despite their unpopularity in many quarters because he is convinced they improve traffic safety.
The two are tussling for voter support in the 28th Senate District in the Nov. 2 election.
Pierog says late revisions to the law authorizing towns to install the devices did not go far enough.
"It may have been something that was done with good intentions that quickly turned into something more than anybody thought it was going to be, she said during an interview with the Daily Herald. "It became a way of making money rather than just safety and my opponent has benefited directly from that.
Pierog pointed to a $1,000 donation Millner received from RedSpeed, one of the leading manufacturers that maintains and benefits financially from the cameras.
Millner said he knows the technology has turned into a controversial topic in the race but he continues to support all aspects of the cameras, including tickets for illegal right turns, because they ultimately increase safety.
"Politically, it's the worst thing you can talk about, said Millner, a former Elmhurst police chief who took office in 2005. "I have seen the tapes. I have seen the accidents. I have handled them personally. Right on reds are still dangerous.
In July, the state legislature increased oversight for the program, offering more recourse for ticketed drivers. Millner led that charge because he said the program was ripe for abuse and those abuses had to be prevented.
He also said local officials should decide whether to install the cameras.
Pierog's biggest complaint with the program is that it does not properly address safety because a driver is not punished. Rather, the owner of the car, who might not be driving, ends up with the ticket.
"With the police being there, the driver is corrected, she said. "If the driver is not corrected, they will continue making what we consider the same error or mistake. The car does not know.
The 28th District stretches west to South Elgin and parts of St. Charles, east to Schaumburg and Roselle, south to Carol Stream and north to Bartlett, with parts of Bloomingdale and Wayne included.