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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."

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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