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Added Costs, New Board Delay Security Camera Deal

The new HHPNC has experienced sticker shock over the cost of camera system.

The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council's plan to purchase security cameras to be installed at the corner of York Boulevard and Figueroa Street and along the Monte Vista Street corridor is not yet a done deal. 

Though the previous HHPNC board voted to enter a contract with vendor RD systems in July, the recently elected board has shown some relucatance at the project's sticker price. 

The board learned on Thursday evening that they will need to act quickly. Of the $50,000 set aside to pay for the cameras, $25,000 was encumbered by a previous board in 2009. Another $25,000 has been donated by Council District 1. 

Jeff Brill, the head of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment's (DONE) funding program, said if they board did not soon decide whether to move forward with the purchase, those funds would be returned to the city's general fund. 

The last minute indecision came as the new board learned the final price for the camera system would be $55,500, about $5,500 more than the previous board had set aside. 

While the new board voted in favor of taking on , pending a report back from new board President Monica Alcaraz, they seemed reluctant to tack on yet another $5,500 in spending. 

Treasurer Joan Potter noted that the board would only have roughly $9,000 to spend for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in June, once translation, storage and meeting hall rentals were taken into consdieration. 

Brandin Engersbach, a newly elected board member, raised concerns about the board losing its investment on a cameras if they were shot out or otherwise damaged. Brill conceded that damaged caused by humans was not covered in the cameras' warranties. 

Grethen Knudsen asked why the city was not able to recieve bids from any other vendor aside from RD Systems. Brill responded that they were the only qualified vendor who responded to the city's bid. 

The board ultimatley decided to table their vote on the funding, with hopes that RD Systems would be able to shave some money from the bid price after visiting the Union Bank building on York Boulevard to determine if it could serve as an adequate relay between the Monte Vista Street cameras and those located on York Boulevard and Avenue 50. If so, Brill said, the vendor may be able to offer a lower price. 

La Casa de Bernarda Alba November 03, 2012 at 10:29 PM
MOG, Were you at the last HHPNC meetings when the camera system was discussed? Better yet, when was the last time CD 1 voluntarily donated 25K to HP? Additionally, the 25K from the HHPNC will be returned to the General Fund, forever lost to HHPNC! Therefore, I disagree with your argument! Instead, Monica Alcaraz needs to approach CD 14 and request their support to complete the project! Secondly, knowing how to negotiate with the vendor might be best; which, in my opinion, a knowledgeable person may be needed to close the gap. I have assignment for you - Contact Grayce Liu, DONE Interim General Manager, and ask her why the HHPNC was required to work with just one bidder identified above. Like you, I am concerned that the HHPNC was not allowed to negotiate with other bidders! Oh wait, I forgot! You're about those one-time spend happy events; send Franklin High School cheerleaders to Las Vegas competition. Is this the same high school with less than 50% graduation rate? Wouldn't the HHPNC funds be better spent providing tutoring? For 2009-2010 Franklin High School had the following students enrolled: 9th grade 906 students 10th grade 624 students 11th 565 students 12th 461 students What happened to half of the original 9th grade class? Next, 70.6% of FHS students enrolled in course work required for UC/CSU admission. But, 27.7% completed the course work for UC/CSU admission. We need long-term investments!
La Casa de Bernarda Alba November 03, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Of the 461 seniors at Franklin HS - 76.3% graduated from FHS! I would love to know what happened to the 445 students? Did they all move out of the area?
Blake Harding November 04, 2012 at 10:06 AM
$50K for cameras is a JOKE. There is no way even with extensive labor that high quality infrared video over IP cameras would cost that much--even if one considers the infrastructure needed to operate the cameras. I'm qualified to design and deploy such a system and I wish I had a company just so I could undercut that bid by at least $40k. Further if the council is worried about damage to the cameras, perhaps they should 1) conceal the cameras in weather proof, bullet resistant enclosures, 2) conceal the cameras out of general view, high enough as to where damage would be difficult if not impossible and 3) install cheap, dummy decoy cameras mixed in with the other cameras that look identical to the working models (as most companies do). Also the council should be deploying a dual use system, such as free wifi in the area which could work as the infrastructure for the cameras, but also as a means of possible revenue if the council got creative.
David Fonseca November 04, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Hey MOG, thanks again for commenting. Just to be clear, the board would have $15K left to spend, if they weren't committed to $5,884 in translation, public storage and rental costs for the senior center. These are commitments the board may or may not be able to break. And you're right about the money having to last until July, as the fiscal year ends at the end of June. Thanks for your feedback.
carol van beek November 05, 2012 at 12:08 AM
A new high school opened at the old Taylor Yard site. A lot of students from Franklin and Eagle Rock are now attending there. That's also why Franklin has a lot of empty classrooms and room for a charter school to move to their site.

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