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Some HHPNC Members Cold on Security Cameras

The board has the time to purchase the security system, but some members seem to lack the inclination.

Last month, it seemed that rising costs and a looming deadline from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment would kill the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council's efforts to install new security camera systems on York Boulevard and Monte Vista Street. 

Now, however, it may be the neighborhood council itself that kills the deal.

At the Thursday, Nov. 15 meeting of the HHPNC, board members heard from Council District 14 field deputy Nate Hayward that the city was not going to impose a hard deadline for them to use the nearly $50,000 encumbered in past year's to pay for the cameras.

"We're going to do everything in our power to give you guys time to make a rational decision. So you don't feel rushed," he said. "Considering the amount of money that's involved, you should be given ample time to do it. So don't panic about the situation."

Even though the board now has the time to purchase the cameras, they may no longer have the inclination.

Board member Gretchen Knudsen questioned whether the community was actually in favor of having the cameras installed.

"Is this something the community actually wants?" Knudsen asked. "I understand that Monte Vista is a high impact area, but it's also an invasion of privacy."

Many of the current HHPNC members were elected in October, and were not sitting on the board when the funds were allocated to purchase the cameras. In addition to the $25,000 set aside by the board in past years, Council District 1 has also contributed approximately $25,000 to the cause.

Former board member Rick Marquez said extensive outreach on the cameras had been done.

"If you live in Highland Park and don't know about this, I don't know what to tell you," Marquez said.

In addition to the $50,000 to purchase the cameras, the board would need to spend up to $10,000 more per-year for maintenance and Internet service.

Stakeholder Harvey Slater said it might not be wise for the board to invest so much in cameras, especially when they were only allowed to deal with one vendor, RD Systems.

"I think everyone agrees that we want safety in our neighborhood, I don't think anyone would say they're okay with people getting killed in our streets. That's not issue. If cameras will get the job done, if that's all we have to resort to, then I guess we have to do it," he said. "But, I'd like to remind everybody that public safety is the job of the city and the police department. It's not the job of the neighborhood council. For the city of Los Angeles to give us half the money we need, to pay for the only vendor we're allowed to pay for in the city of Los Angeles, and then say we have to figure the rest out, that's unacceptable. It sounds more like neighborhood extortion than neighborhood empowerment if you asked me."

Board Member Paul Bonsell disagreed with Slater's argument, saying that not purchasing the cameras would be a step back for the neighborhood.

"If we step back and go the opposite direction, we just leave the door open for the gang's again," Bonsell said. "We have to give the community some backing and let them know that somewhere is there with them beside the police."

Mike M November 29, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Cerro Gordo,here's the thing it's not that the camera will stop me from taking a stroll down Monte Vista, it's that too many people are willing to hand over their right to privacy to law enforcement. From the Patriot Act to NDAA to LAPD's Special Order 11 (http://stoplapdspying.org/about-special-order-11/) law enforcement is delving deeper and deeper into our every day activities, things we take for granted. You know if I look up Turners Outdoorsman to look at fishing gear ( they also sell guns) then look up a youtube video on the Seattle WTO riots , or if I meet my friends who are in the anti-war or Occupy movement at La Tropicana Market that's my business. I shouldn't be worried that I'm going to get a police file. You might say "I should pick better friends" but do you know what all of your friends are into? Now just by taking a picture of what any random LAPD officer deems "critical infrastructure" they can write up a Suspicious Activities Report and submit it to the feds. http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/08/photography_suspicious_activity_terror_lapd.php It's the proverbial "slippery slope". Law enforcement doesn't want to be "hindered" by probably cause anymore. That might not concern you , but it concerns me.
GK November 29, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Just to clarify the board did not vote to order business cards for everyone. There was a discussion of fiscal responsibility and the need for business cards. Most opted out of personal business cards. In fact, we voted to order one box of generic ones that people could share. We were told that we couldn't order them from another vendor because of the city seal.
Marino November 29, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I'm all for security but I don't want to go broke doing it. $50,000 for $500 cameras is getting mugged by government contractors.
Cerro Gordo November 29, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Your friends sound fine to me. I'm pretty sure that knowing people from Occupy or an anti war movement is not going to give you a police file. If I were to ever find out that my internet activity is being monitored by the government or that I had some police file for taking a picture in downtown, I would be furious (Although, I'd bet that none of that has actually happened to me). Either way, none of these nightmare scenarios you mentioned has anything to do with some security cameras being put up in a few key high crime areas. I still don't see how anyones rights are being taken away by the cameras. What I can see is a potential 50,000 dollar ripoff for non-working cameras that don't even get monitored. From the LA Times article you posted, I don't see how anyone should trust the LAPD with 50 grand to properly pull this off. No thanks.
ChickenBoyFan November 29, 2012 at 05:52 PM
The crime around the Monte Vista Corridor,(schools) as well as other surrounding communities needs cameras. Cypress Park(schools) has been hit a lot lately with senseless shootings. Glassell Park(schools) as well as HHP(schools) are part of the "triangle" of crime stats here in NELA. If I were on the NC, I would make a date to get together with the surrounding NC's to discuss the possibility of negotiating a deal for the cameras, as a collective. Perhaps if TriParks( Cypress,Glassell,Historic Highland) could expand the package to include the triangle, a better deal could be had. Get Huizar and Reyes in the ring too. They get paid to do this kind of thing all day long. And they have the deep pockets. Worth crowing about. Real Peace in the Northeast could be had if we all come together. Cameras are a great start. Safety first
Cerro Gordo November 29, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Are you worried about the LAPD's ability to effectively pull this off? Earlier in this thread someone posted an LA Times article that says several of the cameras that had been put up in Downtown were disconnected and weren't being monitored. A guy got stabbed to death right in front of one of the cameras, but there is no video evidence due to the camera not being connected to anything. I wonder how much the city spent on that. If a neighborhood council of all things is supposed to pay 50 grand for this there needs to be concrete guarantees and follow up from the city that our cameras will be connected and monitored at all times. Given what I read in that LA Times article, I have little faith that they'll follow through.
The MOG November 29, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Let me say this as loudly & clearly as I possibly can electronicly, & that is CAMERAS HAVE NEVER DETERED CRIME! All you get is "film at 11", and a grainy image on the news, of some unidentifiable perp in a hoody! There is no rampant crime along what CBF refers to as the "Monte Vista Corridor." I do not know how often CBF has occassion to frequent Monte Vista. I live within walking distance of that street. I attend church near by, and am frequently on Monte Vista, both night and day. Aside from a 4 block stretch, from 50- 54, Monte Vista Street is one of the most beautiful and pleasant in town. We are pleased to see robust business improvements on 52, & 50. That was my old paper route when I was a kid. I doubt cameras would document anything but a decent hard working class neighborhood, struggling to build a life within a community at large, that is it self beset with different problems. To refer to these NELA communities as "A Triangle Of Crime" is unfortunate, and mere hyperpole. Much like Bush claiming an "Axis Of Evil", during the build up of our invasion of Iraq. Exaggeration does not do any good towards understanding the situation. I'm 50 yrs old, my family has been in NELA for many generations, and for the life of me, I can not recall A SINGLE SERIOUS CRIME EVER on York & Fig. that would warrant these cameras going up.
El Cid November 29, 2012 at 09:28 PM
WOW!!! That's odd - the news is constantly showing images of individuals who committed crimes ---and they get identified by someone. Guess what? An arrest follows!!!
dee-aych November 29, 2012 at 09:42 PM
@MOG What planet are you living on? Two people were murdered on Monte Vista in the last six months. That's unacceptable.
Nimby pimp November 29, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I'm not sure that the opinion of MOG, a convicted felon, is the kind that will move our community into a safer future.
The MOG November 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Really? For every criminal arrested because of an ID from a security camera, there are probably 100 that go unapprehended. Great Britain is the country with the most security cameras, per capita, than anywhere else in the world. It has affected crime and criminality not one iota. That is a fact...
The MOG November 30, 2012 at 12:12 AM
As I said, I frequent Monte Vista often. I attended Monte Vista Street School. I think I know of where I speak. I defy anyone to recount a single serious crime, i.e Rape, Murder, Mayhem, that would have been detered, or solved, by security camera. There is not a single documented case of a single life ever being saved, or a crime prevented, because of security cameras. My next door neighbor had life snuffed out by a gang bangers bullits back in '78. I lost a favorite cousin to gun violence, I have been a victim, and a friend of mine was gunned down only three days ago. Believe me, if I thought Highland Park would be made safer by security cameras, I'd be the loudest advocate for such a solution, but the fact of the matter is, the HHPNC should be opperating under Crisis Budgeting, not business as usual. This is the perfect oppurtunity to get creative, think outside the box, and support new, cost effective, smarter ways to ensure public safety. I agree with Harvey's instincts on this issue, as well as Gretchen's observations. I would only take small issue with Mr. Slater's positing that Public Safety is not the responcibility of the NC. I would remind everyone that Public Safety is not only a proper area for the NC to be involved in, it's arguably the MOST important responcibilty. @ Harvey, I'm suggesting that Public Safety is EVERYONE's business. We are on the same page on this, I think. You know my position.
The MOG November 30, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I am positive that ANY opinion is valued more than an anonymous troll's... ;-}'
dee-aych November 30, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I'm on the fence about the cameras, but I've got an idea. Let's take the 50 grand and buy one way tickets to the other side of the planet for the gang bangers and their enabling families. I'm sick of the tagging, I'm sick of the guns and sick of the excuses being made. Run them out of town.
Manuel Montoya November 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM
i think this is not necessary to the police do to us not being able to use them like they can?if a car was stolen or something happen in the area where they have these cameras, we cant look at them & the cops sure don't !! they just make a report & let bygones be bygones ??? paperwork isn't going to solve everything?"yes" cameras r good but only when they use them?or if we can use them too !!!! think about it? should we waste $ on something we can't use? i'm just saying
Tim Ryder December 01, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Eagle Rock NC purchased three of these 'security' cameras for $10,000 dollars about 5 years ago. Yet, there has been no discernible improvement in the community's crime profile after putting the cameras up on the boulevard. They actually miss most of the crimes that take place. Of the 500 or so crimes committed in Eagle Rock this year, not one has been caught on the security cameras. You see, what you're paying for is the 'perception' that you are safer, not any quantifiable or verifiable effect on the overall safety of the neighborhood. Most businesses and many residents have their own surveillance cameras now anyway so my suggestion is that the NC's money could be better allocated to other more beneficial community projects, events, etc.
Frank Mackey December 01, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Like they won't know the cameras are there.
PD December 02, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Mike, and the mog, truly you do not know what you are talking about. Cameras do work. Been proven in many parts of the city (South Park in South LA, some of the projects in Watts, to name a few). As for the clarity, they can focus the cameras enough to read the name brand of the drink you are having. No joke, seen it with my own two eyes. As for your privacy, do you realize that many businesses and or residences already have cameras and in many parts of the city. Enough with the conspiracy theory. Believe me, whoever is assigned to monitor the cameras is also being monitored. You could run your own conclusion as to how I know this. Nonetheless, as a concerned NOE resident and true tax payer, I like to weigh in as to how my tax money is spent. Trust me, this is money well spent.
Nimby pimp December 02, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Thanks for this useful post. The political waffling on this issue in a time of escalating violence is entirely irresponsible.
Mike M December 03, 2012 at 06:13 AM
PD, nice attempt at trying to discredit my arguments by calling them "conspiracy theory". As you might now conspiracy theories are more like the 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll, that 9/11 was an inside job - theories that are not grounded in reality. On the contrary there is a concrete evidence of past and continued LAPD spying that's undeniable.
PD December 03, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Mike, really? Name them. Not since time when the LAPD had a special unit dealing with so called communist groups to my knowledge, has the LAPD carried out spying as you describe it. Enlighten me of you will. Rather than helping your so called community you are enveloping them with fear and none sense. Sadly many fall for your anarchistic beliefs that the government is out to get you. Stop it. By the way, I'm driving past Monte Vista to run some errands after I'm done with this post. Would you conclude that I'm spying on you? Silly you too
Mike M December 03, 2012 at 08:18 PM
PD you have absolutely no idea what I'm doing and what I've done over the past 25 years to help my community. Also please feel free to do your own research, you might want to start by clicking on the links I've posted above, but I doubt you will since you probably wouldn't believe any of it anyway. FYI, while the PDID was disbanded in '83 it's surveillance work was transferred over to the anti-terrorist division, where it continued spying and subverting "commies", you know like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference... Thankfully I was in no where nearby when you graced us with your presence.
PD December 03, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Mike, seriously the LA Times. One of the most liberal newspapers out there that puts out and omits what they find acceptable to them. How about getting the info from different sources not so biased. By the way, in light of the 911 incident. Shouldn't we have an anti terrorist unit that monitors possible terrorist activity. You are probably against ga g injunctions because you feel they violate poor law abiding citizens' rights. Stop it please. Any BS news feed them to Mikey... He'll eat anything.
Mike M December 03, 2012 at 10:35 PM
PD, sorry but Briebart and World Net Daily are blocked for anyone with an IQ above 50 so I couldn't access those sites.
The MOG December 04, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I'm not very keen on La Times, myself. I do use NewsMax Links. They can't be beat, IMHO. I couldn't disagree with PD more. His comments, and ready aliegnment with Nimpy Pimp, a well known Troll & defender of another disreputable individual who spent 10 yrs spreading the most vile lies imaginable. FYI, young people these days refer to such individuals as Haters. A pretty fitting term, I think. The discussion would be more productive if personalities are kept out of it. We're suppose to be adults. Having said that, I will add that the History Of Domestic Spying by the LAPD, something the CIA was prohibited by Federal Statute from doing, is notorious, and well documented. I , for one, am not so ready to surrender my 4TH Amendment Rights as easily as you seem prepared to do. I've spoken my peace on this matter, and my attitudes in this regard are set in stone. BTW, I voted for Mckinney in '08. I voted Romney this time around, for what I think should be obvious reasons. About 90% of my close personal friends voted Obama. We can be good natured about each other's politics, without harboring personal animosity. The argument against Security is they are a hugh waiste of money. The evidence is hardly conclusive that they are good for anything but window dressing. That's not acceptable under current budget constraints. I said during my campaign for HHPNC, that the budget was THE primary concern, along w/ Land Use, & Rules. Rules are back burner, $$$ is front.
PD December 04, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Mob, how are you giving up your 4th amendment. The cameras would be monitoring public street, something you cannot do much about and does not violate your rights. I however agree that the upkeep of the cameras is something to address. Nonetheless, this should not be the LAPD's responsibility to maintain.
The MOG December 04, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The handle is MOG. That stands for Man Of God. I forget most of you guys and gals only have a High School Education. Worse these days, because now a GED will suffice, and minor drug offenders may apply. Why not? Sometimes you got to scrape the bottem of barrel to fill positions, in a town like ours. Still, no excuse for not adding a simple Civics Class at The Academy. We are not talking about private citizens taking pictures on a public street... WE are discussing Officially Sanctioned Security Cameras for a low crime area, York & Fig., at the expense of $50,000 upfront, plus $10,000 Annually Upkeep. I think that kind of money can be better spent. btw, have it on good authority that the FEDS are in town, committed money, man power, and resourses in RICO Investigations. What do you know? I want you to know that NO ONE who knew Henry, and cared about him, EVER condoned his illegal activies. My close friend of 25 yrs, Dr. Rev. L. Barnes has a daughter the same age as Henry. He watched him grow up, & was forever been counciling Henry, to no avail. It is terribly sad, and many of us who knew him suffer tremendous guilt over his murder. Wondering if we could have done more to steer him right. He grew up in a fatherless home, a mother, for whatever reason was unable to provide the necessary guidence. His only examples, older cousins, who themselves were caught up in gang life. Tragic! The history of NE DIV is not good. Honest people should be willing to admit that. It's better now.
PD December 04, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Mob do u always do this? Go from tantrum to tantrum like that. First off, I'm for having cameras on Monte Vista not York and Fig necessarily. Although I am a God fearing man I don't trust your run of the mill, so called reverends that are so caught up in politics that they forget their supposedly true calling. Anyone can get a license online to call themselves a preacher man. It is so common to see these preachers commit adultery with women in their church and elsewhere. Look at mr Jesse Jackson and his disgrace of a kid. True examples of your run of the mill preacher man. Mob, don't get it twisted Bro
The MOG December 04, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Tantrum? I'm about to sit down to a T.V. Dinner... listening to KFI, like always. I'm cool. Your right about todays Ministers... It's prophesy. Most Mail Order Revs obtain a license so they can go in the marriage business. Others just want the legal title. Heard Jackson was an FBI plant in King's Camp... wouldn't doubt it. How 'bout cameras facing the library? Catch these crumb bums who apparently never learned to use pen and paper?
Drew Gasaway December 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Well, cameras are used in New York, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, DC, London, Paris and now Los Angeles and in all the areas where they were placed they had great crime reductions. There is no privacy issue because they are not used by the public and are only in public areas. The only people who have anything to fear are people who might engage in criminal activity. The reason cameras destroy gangs is it allows a visual organized record of events. Honestly anyone right now could set up a camera from their house its 100% legal they only time someone needs to be informed they are being filmed is if they are making an audio recording, making a commercial production or they are in a private area. Documentary film makers (not legally commercial) and stores do it all the time. In a public place you have no presumption of privacy.

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