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Nassau County Group Protests Use Of Speed Cameras In School Zones

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – They had organized on social media but never met face-to-face until Sunday.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, the Nassau group "Residents Opposing School Zone Speed Cameras" is protesting what protestors call a deceitful money grab masquerading as a child safety initiative.

"We want all tickets dismissed, we want our money returned," protestor Ned Newhouse said.

Thus far, the county does not plan to reimburse the $80 per ticket, but has agreed to spend $1 million to install new signs with flashing lights in 56 school zones in response to mounting complaints from drivers about insufficient warning.

As McLogan reported, when exiting off busy Old Country Road, some motorists say they are caught off guard by a camera hidden behind a tree.

Nassau County is struggling with a $60 million deficit but the executive says the primary purpose of 20 mph speed cameras is to promote safety.

Sixto Portilla wants to take him at his word.

"I don't want to see people speeding through school zones," Portilla said.

Connie Wiermann lives in Franklin Square near a school just off the Hempstead Turnpike where the speed suddenly drops to 20 mph.

"I am a grandmother of four so I am very concerned with the kids' safety, but I don't believe this is what it's about," she said.

"The cameras for Great Neck South are located on the service road to the Long Island Expressway. No child has ever crossed the street there to go to school," George Cook added.

Nassau's traffic bureau says scofflaws shouldn't be tipped off.

"Don't speed in school zones as it places pedestrian lives in danger and is against the law," Judge John Marks said, executive director of Nassau's traffic and parking violations bureau.

The county expects the speed cameras to raise more than $30 million next year.

Business owners near schools say they're against the cameras because customers are being scared away by them.

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