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SAN DIEGO – The community of Ocean Beach is divided over the installation of ten new surveillance cameras by year’s end.

Privacy activists were angry when police and City Councilmember Lorie Zapf canceled their appearances at a town hall meeting Wednesday evening. Activists say the cameras, which will stretch from Dog Beach to the Newport Avenue pier, will threaten their free way of life in Ocean Beach.

“Big Brother, the surveillance society — these are real concerns,” said resident Frank Gormlie, an attorney. “We had not had any input. There was a lack of notice, lack of community input, debate or discussion about the cameras and all of a sudden, they’re coming in.”

Other community members say the $25,000 project will help fix the decades-long crime and drug problem near the pier.

Activists started a petition in an effort to keep the cameras from being installed and berated police for rushing the project through without their knowledge.

If nothing changes, the cameras will be installed by January 1.