I shake my head with disbelief that politicians can belligerently rail
against court decisions because of what they cavalierly call
technicalities, and citizens eagerly join in the derision toward rules
that protect us all. And I'm appalled when voters express outrage at
learning a mere majority vote isn't enough to supersede the Constitution
of the United States.
But when it comes to dire concern over our lives being monitored,
intentionally and accidentally, by the plethora of cameras posted at
high-risk intersections, automatic teller machines, security stations and
the like, I don't feel violated.
There may be other reasons to have second thoughts about cameras as a
tool for enforcement, and cost is among them. According to police
officials, the ratio of citations issued to violations captured on film
is 40% or lower.
From bad reflections to license plates or drivers that can't be
identified, many photos are a waste of film. But a loss of privacy on
public streets is not one of my concerns.
I admit there is a potential conflict of interest. I have relied on
A few years back, I was falsely accused of committing an assault. The
ordeal was supposed to have begun violently in a parking lot across the
street from Burbank City Hall, also across from the new headquarters of
the police and fire departments.
Near the end of legal skirmishes related to that charge, I was
watching City Hall's cable channel and saw a program about the process of
building the joint police/fire facility. It included footage of the
entire project, from groundbreaking to opening day, recording the
progress day and night.
I watched surveyors scurry across the site, and construction trucks
whip in and out at what looked like a million miles an hour. The activity
had been recorded by a camera atop a nearby office tower. The parking lot
where the assault was supposed to have taken place was also captured in
the camera's view, and construction was underway at the time of the
In seconds, I began calls necessary to get a search underway for tape
recorded the date of the supposed assault. Rather than feeling monitored,