Sunday, January 01, 2012

Brown Act Clarified

In this week's Coast News there is a letter that is a little fuzzy on Mayor Stocks' responses. These two incidents are topics of the letter (not yet on the Coast News website).

The Brown Act DOES allow for responses to non-agenda items.

From the Attorney General: ...subject to rules or procedures of the legislative body, may provide a reference to staff or other resources or factual information, request staff to report back to the body at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action to direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda. (§ 54954.2(a).)
The second video looks like a he said versus he said that he said situation. So, that makes it tough. On the other hand, is the council that vindictive. There is lots of examples that make it clear that the council has room for personal growth.

Would the potential for vindictive behavior be as great if less of the city's deliberations were out in the public's view? Clearly not. The backroom discussions among the council make it easier to execute decisions that are more about petty personal battles than the public's interest. Directions given to the city management in the backroom make it possible. The council has frequent backroom meetings with city management.

They've added Muir to the council mix. His willingness to participate in the destruction of public records that would have either vindicated him or shown collusion with Dr. L on the warnings she sent to Steve Meiche about his family's safety and freedom if he continued looking into the fire fighter incidents  should create a bit of concern that the tide is not turning in the right direction. The retaliation goes way beyond what has already been posted.

I'm hopeful that if the rules on the way the council interacts with the city management requires more transparency that the threat of retaliation will subside, regardless of who is on the council. 

The first video is the most interesting. It is clear to many people who spend a lot of time watching various issues at city hall that many important decisions happen behind closed doors. They are made either with no public meeting or if there is a public meeting the decision was made among the council majority prior to the actual meeting.

Years ago, there were leaks coming out of city hall that Jerome was pressuring the city's management to push through the strip club permits in the backroom, long before the New Encinitas crowd figured it out and rallied hard on the streets and in the media. They felt the need to spend a lot of time and energy to lobby the council. That says something.

Jerome's response to Joan was not a violation of the Brown Act. This Barth, Gaspar, Houlihan action was a much more clear overstepping of the Brown Act safe zone. Jerome did not take any action or instigate any action. He was briefly conveying the facts in the matter. He seems to be in the safe zone. If he was being honest, he deserves the option to respond.

Was he being honest? Were the leaks by people who did not want to be named untrue? They never stepped forward, but with the real threat of vindictive retaliation for being open with the people, it is hard to weigh the request for anonymity in the assessment of credibility.

What we know is in the end Jerome acted to get rid of the strip club. Was Jerome being honest in his comment to Joan? The public record is consistent with what he said.

[The City regularly manipulates the pubic record and access to the public record in obvious attempts to manipulate the public.]

We may never know for sure because so much of the council's interactions with city management happens behind closed doors. Jerome was meeting with city management during the period insiders were saying Jerome was pushing for the strip club. We also know that the City WILL LIE when they think they nobody will find out.

We probably will never have a good way to really know what Stocks was telling staff in his backroom meetings about the strip club.

It is good to remember that the council members are suppose to be our representatives. That means they aren't suppose to have special powers to get stuff done at city hall, as individuals. They are not city staff. They are  policy makers and provide high level administrative oversight, as a group.

So, if they aren't powerful as individuals, what is the purpose and PUBLIC benefit of all the secret meetings the council members hold with city staff?

7 comments:

  1. If you haven't picked up your Coast News, be sure to. It has good local coverage.

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  3. The general plan draft is a DRAFT that was the result of stakeholders representing our entire community very well attended workshops and guided by a worthy urban planning organization that cost $1.2.
    To have our mayor state that these Gereral Plan meetings and workshops were 'fireside chats", attended by "activists and people "who have nothing better to do" And most of the rest of the community would rather "drink beer" is insulting.
    Have a look at the city website and review the GPAC committee members. They do not seem like 'activist or folks that have nothing better to do.
    This is the consistent attitude of the council majority. If you do not agree with them then YOU ARE AN ACTIVIST and your voice or opinion has no worth. If you participate in workshops, commissions or other 'fireside chats', you are doing so because, " you have nothing better to do".
    Not great leadership.

    They will do what they want.

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  4. I would rather have a strip club than Island Hamburger (the place next to the REI). How do I get that put on the agenda?

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  5. The general plan update meetings have been charades.

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  6. How long will the voters of Encinitas tolerate this clown circus of a City Council???

    It seems as though our citizens are sleep-walking through the Stocks, Bonds, Muir and Gaspar comedy show while they are abusing thier power in the most obvious and damaging ways.

    I hope the good people of Encinitas wake up before the next election. This might be the most corrupt box of tools we've ever seen.

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