Culver City Observer -

Watch Out, You're Being Followed


December 25, 2014

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

Do you sometimes have a feeling you are being followed? I don’t mean by the bad guys but by the law enforcement protectors.

Well, friends, your suspicions would be correct. Can we examine the facts? L. A. County Sheriff has 84 vehicles outfitted with mobile license plate readers and 47 more cameras in fixed locations. LAPD has 240 car-mounted and 30 fixed location cameras. To top it off, Vigilante Solutions of Livermore, CA has over 3,500 law enforcement clients requesting information of time/place of particular license plates.

If you are driving north through California and it’s getting dark and you need some shuteye, don’t be an idiot and stop in Bakersfield at a hotel or motel. You would be better off to have your spouse or anybody else get behind the wheel.

Why, you ask? Well, buckaroo, Bakersfield is Number One and not only in California but in the nation in auto theft. Fresno – yes, Fresno – is right up there. Modesto? You betcha. Spokane, WA was the only non-California city or region in the top ten. Frightening. Could it be the cops are filming the bad guys stealing our vehicles?

Were you also following the election results in northern California? I saw the people in Berkeley voted to become the first city in these United States to tax sodas. I think anyone would get the idea – sales tax 7.5%, CRV $.05, soda tax one cent per ounce or $.12 and the product itself. The price adds up quickly.

It just seems every week or so there is another valid reason to gradually cut back and then cut out Japanese for Chinese. Per Time Magazine, Nov. 17, 2014, Page 43, “. . . the Chinese economy expanded by 7.3% in the third quarter, the slowest up tick in five years.” I’m no economist but if our third quarter went up 7.3% people would be dancing in the street.

And from the folder in the filing cabinet labeled “This and that,” I see beginning on July 1, 2014 teachers, to protect students, can be armed. Thus far none of the school districts I have looked at are using the authority granted by the Georgia legislature.

It’s a darn shame we don’t live in Florida because both the Florida constitution and state statutes require that meetings of all public bodies shall be “open to the public” even on personnel matters, unless there is a specific exception.

For those who have a cholesterol problem and also take niacin, be sure to read the July 14, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Patients should never stop taking any medicine without talking to their doctor, but recent tests have some in the medical field saying niacin should not be used routinely in clinical practice. Some of the side effects include a troubling rise in death among niacin users plus higher rates of bleeding.

Four and one-half years ago, June, 2010, a Florida sheriff’s deputy ran the license plate on a bright green Chevrolet through a state database. The database indicated the car had been registered as a blue vehicle. For no other reason than the color, the deputy pulled the car over, smelled marijuana, searched the Chevy, and also found crack cocaine and cash. The driver claimed the drug evidence was the result of an illegal warrant-less search. The Supreme Court of Florida agreed to suppress, claiming, among other things, that the color of a car is not inherently suspicious.

Earlier this year Governor Brown signed AB2130, repealing a law passed last year. This law would have mandated restaurant employees to use gloves or utensils in handling food going directly to the diner’s table and now they don’t have to wear gloves.

As it pertains to cell phone searches, the United States Supreme Court ruled police will need a search warrant to check devices of those arrested.

And just when I thought government had started or raised every tax under the sun, I was fooled. Yes, by cracky, they want an alcohol-pouring tax. What’s next? A fee to use a shopping cart at the grocery store?

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in that website’s search box.


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