Dear Editor:Last Wednesday, the COURIER pro-vided us an overview of the city’s recently-installed automatic license plate reader cam-eras. [“Hi-tech cameras keep watchful eyeon Claremont,” November 21.] Our citycouncil’s decision to install these camerasraises serious civil liberties issues.In order to clarify what may be muddywaters, it usually helps to put the issue intoa broader context.What is clear is that the lure of a newtechnology, which offers the possibility tocatch more lawbreakers, will, to some peo-ple, always be very powerful. Nevertheless,we must not let our emotions cause us toacquiesce to governmental intrusions.Our Constitution was written to establishwhat powers the government has, as wellas those it does
have. Self-governmentobligates every individual citizen (includingthose acting within a governmental body)to always be policing themselves to safe-guard our constitutionally-protected rights,and not just waiting for a court to tell uswhat is constitutional or not.The Fourth Amendment to the Consti-tution states: “The right of the people to besecure in their persons...against unreason-able searches...shall not be violated...” Now,while we may debate whether the licenseplate reader cameras violate the letter of the Fourth Amendment, I think—certainly,I hope—that most of us can agree that theyviolate the
of the Fourth Amendment.The cameras constitute an unreasonablesearch of our persons.In this post-9/11 world, with its new-found rationalizations for “security” sys-tems of all imaginable sorts, we must con-stantly remind ourselves that “security”must be directed to impair the criminally-intended, and not to harass and intrude uponthe honest and law-abiding.Clearly, this camera technology is notaimed solely at those legitimately suspectedof having committed (or intending to com-mit) a crime, situations for which the courtsroutinely issue search warrants and approvewire taps. Rather, it employs a shotgun ap-proach against each and every one of us byrecording our presence every time we passthrough a particular
location.Incidentally, a similar mindset infests theTSA, who indiscriminately scrutinizeeveryone at the airport rather than restrictingthemselves to searching for terrorists. Notlost on the observant in all of this is thecognitive dissonance, the schizophrenia, of Californians, who like the cameras becausethey will help us capture and remove crim-inals, and yet just voted (Prop 36) to weakenour 3 strikes law so that more felons canavoid more prison time. So, which is it?Shall we lock up the criminals, or not?I suggest we do the responsible thing.Lock up the criminals when we catch them,not go out of our way to let them out earlyto prey upon us, again. And do not violatethe rights of the law-abiding with ubiquitoussurveillance cameras.
The real turkeys
Dear Editor:The Claremont COURIER recently pub-lished an article touting Golden State Wa-ter’s contribution of 100 turkeys to needyfamilies in our community for Thanksgiv-ing (on the front page, no less).Isn’t it obvious that GSW’s excessivewater rates are a huge factor in putting fam-ilies in the financial situation they're in?It’s great that GSW delivers turkeys, butwe aren’t fooled or swayed by their dona-tion. Instead, we continue to ask GSW,Why do they make it harder on families inour community through their abusive billingpractices and excessive water rate in-creases? Why, instead of having lower wa-ter bills when we’ve conserved water, arewe actually charged more, with WRAMsurcharges?The real turkeys continue to be GSWexecutives who receive such large salaries,and then increase our water rates to covertheir costs.Last year the GSW CEO received morethan $1.6 million in compensation, a costthat is passed onto water users. Ratepayersin Claremont pay far more for water servicethan neighboring cities. As a private watercompany, GSW is permitted to seek a rateincrease every 3 years, and they do. GSWis asking for yet another increase of over24 percent.So while we might be thankful for theturkeys from GSW this week, we are morethankful that our city council is united at 5-0, and continues to move forward with plansto gain independence from GSW (a “for-profit” company).It’s time to run the real turkeys out of town.
Hal Hargrave Randy Scott
Claremonters AgainstOutrageous Water Rates
more READERSʼ COMMENTS/
Claremont COURIER/Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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