I wanted to follow up on my previous article about the controversy over the red light cameras. It was my contention that these cameras were hated by the public and that they constituted a real threat to civil liberties. I argued that the cost of these infractions were overly punitive (approximately $500 per infraction), and that they represented a line over which government should not cross.
Some on the city council felt that safety was the overriding issue and that cost and civil liberties should take a back seat. Last night however, we voted on removing the cameras and the motion passed 4-1 with Mayor Mark Lewis in opposition. The red light cameras will go dark in about a week. They will remain in place, covered, for six months. This being the compromise made in case there is to be a rash of crashes and a need to reinstitute the cameras.
Since Rostra is a place to give my opinion I will tell you that I am concerned about the intrusion of government on its citizens. If seven cameras make life safer, then why not install 70, or 700? If safety is our only concern then why ever let freedom circumvent the process of securing it? My point is that government is expected to make reasonable accommodations to keep people safe, but that this must be balanced against the people’s reasonable expectation not to be overly monitored and regulated. One of the employees of Redflex, the company that makes the cameras, pointed out at the council meeting last night, “Cameras are everywhere already, there is no place you can go and not be on camera.”
I responded to him, “Exactly my point sir.”
Bill Wells, Mayor Pro Tem — City of El Cajon