Confession time. I call myself an Independent because that’s the way us Massachusetts folk roll, but truth be told, I’m liberal, very liberal – deep dark blue liberal. If a man like President Barack Obama hadn’t followed 8 years of the Bush administration’s horror and ineptitude, I would have jumped out my second floor office window. The fact that some on the right mocked Senator Edward Kennedy pained me more than his passing.

These beliefs don’t make me fiscally irresponsible. I never could quite get the connection between believing all people should be treated as equals and balancing a checkbook. How money management became known as a conservative thing I’ll never know, but, I digress.

I want to make it clear that my feelings about Big Brother looking down on us is I can’t stomach it. We’re slowly giving up our civil liberties in this country; the liberties that should be as sacred to us as our families. I don’t like the idea of surveillance cameras in public areas where free people should be able to walk freely.

After losing lots of sleep over this issue during the last week, though, I find that what I can’t stomach more than Big Brother’s cameras are men who prey on women; men who would pick a woman off the street, violate her and then put her in a situation where she is forced to identify them so that other women can be spared from their wretched actions.

The Coolidge Corner business community is dear to my heart, but capturing thieves, even those who rob hard-working, independent business people is not enough reason to keep the cameras, in my mind. Iif those cameras prevent one act of violence perpetrated against innocent people, however, then I’ve got to put aside my idealism for a moment and ask that the cameras stay.

Brookline Police Chief Daniel C. O’Leary is a good man. Everyone I’ve met on the Brookline Police force are good people. So please, I ask that the department nuke those tapes after using them – oops that’s right, I’m no nukes. I mean burn them, erase or destroy them after 30 days, or whatever time period seems reasonable. Don’t let them get into the hands of anyone outside of your offices unless you’re positive it’s to prevent someone from getting hurt rather than framing innocent people. Shoot the video and use the tapes if it helps solve crimes of violence. If I find out that those surveillance tapes were used to prove that someone is having an affair or to show that a politician had a few drinks, though, then I will jump out my second floor office window.

NOTE : For additional information on surveillance cameras in Brookline, see Article 25 of the 5/26/2009 Town Meeting Warrant

R. Harvey Bravman