During last Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, an attention-getting issue emerged in a discussion that had previously focused on traffic, parking, petty crime — the problems that had angered residents living near the Fremont Sikh Temple on Gurdwara Road, near Mission Blvd. in the Niles district. Commissioners, temple leaders, city staff and the police hope they have addressed those nagging issues by requiring the temple to adhere to dozens of conditions. The Planning Commission voted to approve the temple’s expansion plans.
Meanwhile, some commissioners — led by Roman Reed and David Bonaccorsi — were far more vocal in their opposition to one of those conditions: placing security cameras in the parking lot outside the Gurdwara (or temple). Commissioners voted down the cameras by a margin of 5-2, with Commissioners Dirk Lorenz and Rick Jones casting the dissenting votes. The majority of commissioners said they objected to the idea that Gurdwara leaders would have to keep security video for at least two weeks and would have to provide police with the video upon request, even without a search warrant, Bonaccorsi said Friday. They also noted that there are no security cameras at other houses of religious worship in Fremont, be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or other, and they worried that putting the cameras at one kind of temple or church sent a wrong — perhaps even discriminatory — message.
To repeat, the temple is expanding by nearly 50 percent — that’s been approved, and that might be all that neighbors care about (with many being unhappy about it). But commissioners made sure the cameras did not make the final cut, and I suppose your view on that depends on which side of the civil liberties fence you stand.
What’s your take on this issue?