“Citizens Against Privacy Abuse” Forms in OB in Response to Planned Installation of Police Surveillance Cameras

by on November 10, 2015 · 2 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

surveillancecamerasIn response to the planned installation by the City of San Diego of police surveillance cameras along OB’s waterfront, a loose collection of concerned and upset OBceans has gelled into a group called “Citizens Against Privacy Abuse” (CAPA).

Members of the new group are opposed to the cameras on principle or are upset with the process – how there was no community discussion about the system of 10 cameras that will stretch from the OB Pier to Dog Beach and the San Diego River.

One member said:

“It’s the way it was done. It sounds covert. To exclude groups because you’re afraid they’ll cause a stir – causes a stir.”

Some individuals thought the camera project ought to have gone before the OB Planning Board first, as it was an infrastructure addition to the community.

CAPA wants to organize a community forum to discuss the issue and will attempt to have the OB Planning Board and the OB Town Council involved in helping to set it up.  Councilwoman Lorie Zapf and police representatives will be invited. In fact, at the last OB Town Council meeting, police reps offered to take part in any forum.

Within CAPA, there’s a consensus that no cameras should be installed before any forum is held. And of course, many in the new group believe the cameras represent a threat to people’s privacy and should not go up at all. Several of them pushed to include “privacy” in any name chosen for the new group.

Letters will also be sent out by the new citizens’ organization to Councilwoman Zapf’s office as well as to the San Diego Police Department requesting a delay in their installation until after a forum. Some other groups may be approached to see how they feel.

Reports from police representatives and Zapf staff at recent community meetings have indicated that the cameras would go up before the end of November. But that seems unrealistic as a bid has to go out and a contractor selected even on the city’s timeline – which all take time. Another report had the cameras going in by the first of the year.

Whatever the timeline, CAPA feels a sense of urgency. The Town Council is “dark” for the remainder of the year as they move into their holiday mode. And the OB Planning Board may not move quickly enough on the issue for a forum this year. (Although it moved quickly – along with the OBTC – when they set up and hosted a community forum on short term vacation rentals just recently.)

The collection of people who coalesced into CAPA have met twice now. Here’s a random collection of comments or questions made by individuals at these meetings:

Why haven’t the trailer cams worked?”

“The cameras push ‘crime’ away – down a block.”

I’ve lived here for years. I have a son 17 and a son 13. They and I walk all around OB without experiencing harassment (from homeless or travelers).

“Is this Homeland Security federal funds?”

No one from the community wanted them.”

“The cameras will be used selectively – police are not sincere.”

Lorie (Zapf) sees it as a crime issue.

“Why didn’t they tell other groups?”

There’s problems with cameras, abuse.

“What crime at Dog Beach has happened to warrant cameras there?”

What does the community want?”

“Reminds me of the Boardwalk fight.”

“How long have PB and Mission Beach have had theirs?”

The Citizens Against Privacy Abuse will be having another meeting this week. If you are interested in attending and are in general consensus, contact me via obragblog@gmail.com for more details.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Blinky the Surfer November 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Are there cameras along the beaches in La Jolla? Encinitas? Del Mar?


Frank Gormlie November 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Channel 7 NBC interviewed me about the cameras and CAPA. Will be on at 11pm Tuesday, Nov 10th.


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