The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 6, 2006

Surveillance cameras at CCHS

To the Editor:

Your readers may not be aware of the recent decision to install surveillance cameras at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School. The intent of the administration is to protect vending machines in the cafeteria from vandalism and to monitor access to the locker areas where thefts have occurred from unlocked lockers. These cameras are not being installed in response to a safety concern. There are privacy and other implications in this use of surveillance cameras that merit public discussion, and this has not occurred.

In response to these actions, two petition articles will appear on the Warrant for Concord Town Meeting. The first calls for a "Moratorium on the Installation of Surveillance Cameras by School, Regional and Town Departments." The moratorium for each department could be lifted by Town Meeting when satisfactory policies and standards regarding the use of such cameras are approved by Town Meeting. The second article will seek to have the surveillance equipment removed from the high school until acceptable policies and standards are approved by Town Meeting.

There is some question whether action by Concord Town Meeting alone would be binding on the Regional School Department, and hence I am writing the Mosquito.

Is there a Carlisle citizen, or group of citizens, who would like to bring similar Warrant Articles to Carlisle Town Meeting for consideration? If so, please contact me and I will be glad to send you the language of the Concord articles and help with coordination.

Our concern in Concord is that we are at the top of a slippery slope, and administrative convenience could easily lead to some unpalatable outcomes. There might be circumstances that would merit the use of these cameras, but the situation at the Regional High School hardly qualifies.

James L. Catterton
See MORE MAIL on page 15

Listen to the people

To the Editor:

It's unfortunate the Carlisle Selectmen felt it necessary to form a search committee to find the "best-qualified" police chief when we already have a "fully qualified" candidate in the person of John Sullivan. I was one of the many citizens who attended the Selectmen hearing on December 13 and while Glen McKiel's resume may impress the search committee, I have several reservations.

· When asked what he would like to do better in the town of Warren, Chief McKiel mentioned he would like to be more proactive. While he didn't espouse on what he meant by being more "proactive," the question that comes to my mind is, "why doesn't he?"

· Chief McKiel also mentioned that crime is up in Warren. Isn't there a correlation between a town's increase in crime and being in charge of law enforcement in that town?

·While I applaud Chief McKiel's efforts at self-improvement — continuing education, current faculty member at Middlesex, attendance in an FBI course in Virginia, among others — I'd much rather see our police chief dedicate his/her time to outreach programs here in our town. This is an area where our current "fully qualified" candidate excels.

I totally agree with the well-thought-out letter sent by the Daigles that appeared in last week's Mosquito. The make-up of the search committee causes me great concern. Having the ability to both recommend and approve a candidate creates a conflict of interest. This could have been completely avoided if the Selectmen simply looked no further than John Sullivan to fill the Chief of Police position.

Finally, Selectman Allison's comment that, "This is not a popularity contest" is insulting to the people of this town. Does he not think that the people of Carlisle want what's best for the town? The questions and issues which were brought up by the citizens during last week's meeting were poignant and heart-felt.

My recommendation to the Selectmen: listen to the people — they got it right on this one.

Bob Fidler
Woodridge Road

An ecological alternative

To the Editor:

In response to "Paper or plastic?" by Irene Bass Blake (Dec 16, p. 17), may I suggest the alternatives of cloth, baskets, and boxes?

Yes, I'm the one who arrives at the grocery store with heavy duty cloth tote bags (think L.L. Bean), empty plastic laundry baskets, and the occasional cardboard box. I place my items on the conveyor so that refrigerator / freezer items are first, followed by the non-perishables. I ask the "bagger" to please put the perishables in the container into which I think they will best fit, saying the other items will follow. Most (though not all) staff can follow that instruction, though some seemed amazed I am willing to lift the packed container that seems heavy. (I often quip that it weighs no more than a toddler, and it doesn't squirm). But it's faster and easier for them to pack, and much faster and easier for me to load, unload, and unpack. At the end, I have no bags with which to deal. It seems to be a win for all. And while some stores do offer a small rebate for each bag you don't use, the fact that I've made my life simpler, and saved even a tiny bit of resources, is sufficient to continue the practice.

Melissa Weiksnar
Robbins Drive

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito