I haven't been to a Wilkes-Barre city council meeting since I moved out of the city a few years ago but I may start attending again for the entertainment.
WILKES-BARRE – A city man’s apparent attempt Thursday to give city officials a taste of their own medicine by photographing and videotaping them got council members a bit irritated.
But when Tim Grier, a frequent city critic, questioned a city employee’s credibility and referred to city officials as “rats,” their anger really showed.
Before the meeting, Grier took photos of city officials and videotaped the meeting, as he has done in the past. During the public comment portion, he criticized the city for placing cameras around City Hall and in other areas.
“This is not Russia,” he said. “You’re going to get yourselves in trouble.”
The rats comment came when he questioned the credibility of a city employee. Back to the cameras. The councilors didn't like being videotaped because they don't know what will be done with the footage. The point Tim was making is that there is no policy about how to protect people's privacy and managing the footage. Fair enough.
Video cameras are all the rage in law enforcement but I don't know how many crimes are solved by them. Maybe our city fathers can put a few people on the job to evaluate their usefulness and address the privacy issues. Many questions arise. Do you spend more money for a video room in police HQ to monitor them or let them just tape everything until you get a complaint? How long to you hold on to the tapes?
Now a rant. I'm sick and tired of being treated like a criminal as go about my daily business. When I walk into a store that says there is video surveilance I've been warned and it's my choice to enter. No warnings are given as I walk down the street. When you apply for a job you're subjected to a drug test. My phone calls can be tapped and finances examined without any oversite. An American citizen can be declared an "enemy combatant" and be held indefinately without recourse to the courts. The Constituition has been described as "quaint" and "just a goddamn piece of paper."
The Constitution and Bill of Rights say something else.
Article I, Section 9
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Reads Tim's take on the whole thing at Un-American Luzerne County.
39 minutes ago