Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Ventura County Perspective

Totalitarian Leanings in Oxnard

Urging citizens to turn in neighbors contradicts principles of liberty.

July 18, 1999|KENT WILLIAMS | Kent Williams is pastor of the Wells Road Baptist Church in Ventura

The Ventura City Council listened to testimony from an Oxnard Police Department official and based on that information decided to put surveillance cameras at some of the intersections in our fair city. It would be awful if perchance someone got away with running a red light, so let's just nip away at liberty and get everyone on camera.

Now I see that our neighbor city is going to promote its citizenry to turn in their neighbors for violating city codes. This will be a volunteer force of trained busybodies that get to be coplike on the weekends. In Nazi-run countries these people were called block wardens. They were turncoats whose job was to turn in their neighbors for violations of the Nazi code.

Shame on any of you Oxnard folk who would assist the scheming politicians and government bureaucrats in their revenue-raising schemes. Cities need to raise money to pay the costs of the projects the City Council promotes, and the fines they impose are a great way to raise money.

I also have to wonder about the leadership of the Oxnard Police Department. These plans seem to be formulated, or at least nurtured, by this department. Maybe the folks of Oxnard should put the chief on the carpet and find out his politics. I suppose his job is nonpartisan, but actions do speak louder than words.

If history is any teacher, in a short time our own myopic City Council will try to foist this scheme on us here in Ventura. I urge the citizens to be on alert and demonstrate against this plan to rob us of the freedom that our founding fathers gave us.

A few months ago I was criticized for my opinion on the camera issue ("Cameras at Intersections Erode Right to Privacy," Ventura County Perspective, Jan. 31). I am not a libertarian; I hold these opinions because I value my and your privacy.

A few days after my article was published I read about how the lawmakers in Colorado had sold the Department of Motor Vehicles database, along with the photographs, to a security outfit on the East Coast. Of course the security company vowed to never use the data for unauthorized causes, but corporations are bought and sold all the time, and who knows what new owners would do with the information?

Then there is the case of Vons stores. When we use our cherished Vons Club cards to save a buck, Vons takes the opportunity to track our purchasing habits. One of their customers had a fall in the store, and Vons tracked his purchases of alcoholic beverages to try and prove that he was a problem drinker, and thus avoid liability in the case.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. proposed a "Know Your Customer" rule. This rule would force banks to monitor your checking and savings account and report any "unusual transactions" to the federal government. This frightening threat to your financial privacy would force your bank to:

* Discover your "source of funds."

* Determine your "normal and expected transactions."

* Report any "suspicious activity" to federal investigators.

The government claims it is trying to thwart money launderers and drug dealers. But what this law would do is turn every bank teller into a government informer and everyone with a bank account into a criminal suspect.

Am I paranoid? Absolutely. What is my plan? To be ever diligent and watchful. Remember, all that tyranny requires is that good men and women be silent.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|