Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sometimes I just comment

Houston Chief Wants To Install Cameras In Your Home was the title of an article posted at a site called “1492”. The article was all about the right to privacy and a statement made, "if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" and the associated mentality which springs from such an attitude.


I had to comment:

I read the article in the Houston Chronicle by the Chief and he wanted to post 6 cameras in the downtown area. These cameras will be monitored by officers and the intent was to save tax dollars by increasing the viewable area while not having to use more officers. I don't recall anything being mentioned about placing cameras in homes, that sounds like fabrication on the fly.

The city of Houston is installing some 50 or so cameras at busy intersections to catch and ticket folks who run red lights, another issue since these will not be monitored by a police officer prior to sending out a ticket. I have written extensively on this subject, in fact it is one of the reasons I started my blog. My satire op-ed published by the Chronicle was so badly edited as to indicate that I was for camera enforcement when I am not.

There are cameras placed in locations around the freeway systems to monitor traffic flow; which information is passed along directly to the public via the internet, to help identify tie ups, wrecks and alternate routes.

In summary, cameras can be used to assist the everyday goings on in some instances. Their use as a traffic enforcement tool, however, violates basic rights by putting a machine in place of a human as a witness, be it a criminal proceeding or civil. I don't buy into the "right to privacy" arguement when these cameras are placed in public places, no different than having a police officer standing on a corner since the information is monitored by officers as a means of determining if immediate action is necessary and also to document activity that may have evidence that will aid in catching criminals. Store cameras installed behind the register help catch bad guys all the time.

Lastly, neither the city of Houston, nor its police chief are not in favor of installing these types of cameras in homes. (should have read “are in favor”)

Public Servants Indeed was the title of a piece written by DL over at TMH Bacon Bits about unions and the use of strikes by public employees to shut down cities and break the backs of those who pay their salaries. I think this article pointed out the same concerns that most folks have toward unionized workers forgetting who is in charge.


Here’s the comment I left:

I have some direct input regarding civil servants, unions and the threat to strike in order to obtain leverage. Back when I was an officer with the City of Houston we had two major groups, The Houston Police Officer’s Association and The Houston Police Officer’s Union. I was not a member of the Union. One time these brave union officers wanted to call for a sick out strike. Interestingly the sick out was scheduled to fall on the same night as their “honcho’s” regular night off so he could look like he was in full support of the sick out strike. I was called a “scab” by this fellow officer, something which he learned to regret within seconds of the words escaping his lips. I pointed out the fact that if he could step outside and discuss the point or apologize in front of his union members, which he did.

Civil servants sign up knowing that they have limited powers of appeal to those who pay their salary. The problem is that they forget after awhile, believing that they can rule those who hired them. My point of view is that if the situation becomes so bad that employment is no longer worth it; leave and find employment somewhere else. At that time you can gripe, grumble and stand on the soap box as long as you like to explain about how rotten things were. Unless you are willing to take that step, then bite your tongue and do the job you are being paid to do.

Why I love The Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo was posted by Greg at Rhymes With Right. Until you have experienced Go Texan week in Houston, well, it’s hard to explain in so many words. I have to enjoy a non-political blog once in a while.


I left this comment:

My daughter told me a funny story last year about a fellow visiting Houston over by the Post Oak Business park. He looked out the window on the Friday before the big Live Stock Show Parade and noticed all the traffic tied up because of the cowboys headed toward Memorial Park. Then the folks who worked there led him to believe it’s like that every afternoon.

(Not left in the comment section: Traffic around the Post Oak Business area is always a mess, "We don't need no stinking horses" to screw it up.


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