OB Opposition to Police Surveillance Cameras Makes the News

by on December 2, 2015 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics

OB surveill cam Sign ed

OB Planning Board Presentation For and Against the Cameras – Tonight, Dec. 2nd

The surveillance cameras to be installed in Ocean Beach have been in the news lately. And only because of the opposition to them being posed by the OB Citizens Against Privacy Abuse (CAPA).

CAPA formed a couple of weeks ago after a collection of OBceans began meeting to share their views against the police-initiated cameras planned for OB’s waterfront.  Representatives of CAPA plan on making a presentation at the OB Planning Board meeting, to be held tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 2nd. The Board meets at the OB Rec Center.

OB Uncle Sam stop Cams-ed

OB CAPA poster.

Opponents of the cameras are also planning a series of public forums and a petition drive, plus have been plastering OB with their Uncle Sam posters.

And it is this opposition to the cameras that is drawing press attention. Dave Schwab of the Beacon / sdnews.com wrote:

New security cameras for Ocean Beach spark controversy

The announced installation next year of 10 night vision-capable police security cameras from the Ocean Beach Pier to Dog Beach has sparked a public controversy. Detractors argue the action is unwise, wasn’t vetted properly, and that the money would be better spent elsewhere.

Schwab quoted Rick Callejon, community liaison for CAPA as saying:

“The cameras are unwarranted and unneeded. They are a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Callejon was also quoted, giving a litany of CAPA’s complaints against the cameras, and said OBCAPA is –

“opposed to spending $25,000 of taxpayer money earmarked for the project, which would be better spent on outreach and counseling for the homeless, to address the needs of the OB library or the crumbling lifeguard tower.

“The decision to allocate the money from Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s office to the police was done with virtually no community input.”

“Lifeguards and police have said that they don’t have the staffing to monitor the cameras.

No crime statistics justify the implementation of the security devices.

The police ‘hope’ that the cameras will serve as a deterrent to criminal activity. However, studies show that when cameras are in place, illegal activity migrates to nearby neighborhoods out of the range of the cameras.”

“In a free and open society, people should be able to visit the beach without government recording their activities. What surveillance overwhelmingly captures are the innocent activities of law-abiding citizens.

Other, more effective alternatives exist to deal with concerns about crime, including improved lighting and increased police presence.”

For the advocates of the cameras, Schawb quoted Denny Knox, executive director of the OB Main Street Association Business Improvement District. Knox stated her support for the cameras:

“We feel this is a reasonable approach to (counter) a lot of the crime that has happened on the beachfront. If this aids the police and the lifeguard in solving crime or other problems that are happening, we’re for it.”

“We’ve been working on this issue of crime in OB for a long time. We know it’s nearly impossible to convict anyone unless individuals see them. It’s ridiculous. At least we would have one way to go back, over a very short period of time, a video recording to see if the crime really happened. It’s a good tool. Certainly, we don’t have enough police officers, and we don’t have enough lifeguards.”

OB surveill cam Ch10 RickIn addition, 10News also ran a great piece with Rick Callejon by reporter Joe Little. The video report began:

Ocean Beach residents try to rally their neighbors against plan to install 10 security cameras

An Ocean Beach man is channeling Uncle Sam in his fight against the San Diego Police Department’s plan to install 10 security cameras in public areas.

“It’s scary; this is Ocean Beach,” said Rick Callejon, a retired teacher who started Ocean Beach Citizens Against Privacy Abuse (OBCAPA). “Lots of people weren’t aware of the situation.” …

Callejon argued the cameras will only force criminals off the beach.

“In this case,” he said, “The only place to migrate is into residential neighborhoods.” …

OBCAPA has put up dozens of posters featuring Uncle Sam that say: “Only you can STOP the surveillance cameras in OB!”

Callejon planned on making a presentation to the Ocean Beach Planning Board Wednesday evening.

Callejon was also interviewed by KUSI but apparently the report has yet to air (it cannot be found on their online site).

Series of Forums

One of the main complaints of opponents of the cameras is the lack of community debate or discussion about their installation. To this end, the folks of CAPA are planning a series of forums on the camera issue. The first will probably be in mid-December, and another in January. Police representatives and Councilwoman Lorie Zapf will be invited.

Posters and Petitions

There is a petition circulating in Ocean Beach currently expressing opposition to the cameras. They can be found at the Green Center, 4843 B Voltaire, or online here. Also the Uncle Sam posters that CAPA has printed out are going up around the community. More are also available at the Green Center.

OB CAPA has been meeting weekly. If you are interested in more info or attending their meetings, contact them at obcapa@gmail.com .


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

tj December 2, 2015 at 9:55 pm

“Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come & take you away”

For What It’s Worth / Buffalo Springfield – (by Stephen Stills)|MetroLyrics


editordude December 3, 2015 at 10:44 am

We apologize to Denny Knox for allowing a disparaging comment bout her to linger for so long. We have deleted the comment. Our eyes are not always on the comment section of our online newspaper. The comment was rude and distasteful and clearly violated our comment policy. We also deleted another comment that was made in response to the rude one, which also defended Knox for all her hard work for the community and commercial district.

We are sorry, Denny. Just don’t have the staff to be on constant watchout for such inappropriate comments. The commenter in this case will not be able to continue making comments.


Gary Gilmore December 3, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Thank you editordude.


gristmiller December 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Thanks…that was both ridiculous and stupid!


steve neighborly December 4, 2015 at 11:11 am

Shame on the OB Rag. The headline is intentionally misleading by saying “OB Opposition…”. Several individuals do not make up the community’s view on the matter. As a matter of fact, many people including prominent members of the community and OB business owners are in agreement to the cameras. Are they not part of “OB”? Where has your journalistic integrity gone? Why don’t you put that kind of opinion headline in the editorial section.


Frank Gormlie December 4, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Steve – you are off base here (and not very neighborly). What made the news was opposition to the cameras in OB, therefore, “OB opposition” is decidedly correct.


Steve Neighborly December 8, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Actually you are correct Frank, it was the opposition that made the news. I got my panties in a bunch thinking you were insinuating it was the position of all in OB…I stand corrected. Maybe “opposition to cameras in OB…news” makes it so it doesn’t sound like OB as a whole doesn’t oppose it. But then again, it’s not my sandbox. Thanks.


RK December 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm

I agree Steve. I have lived in OB for over 40 years & I want the cameras.


rick callejon December 4, 2015 at 11:56 am

If there were opposition in Mission Beach, the wording would be “MB Opposition…”

If there were opposition in Pacific Beach, the wording would be “PB Opposition…”

btw, not all OB business owners are in agreement on government surveillance cameras


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