The LA County Observer

Observations of a LA County Resident

LA County Board of Supervisors thumb noses at Brown Act and the Public yet again!

Written By: raconte - Oct• 26•16
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Over the past several months, the Board of Supervisors has implemented many rules that have in my opinion slowly eroded the Public’s rights as permitted under the Brown Act. However today I think I observed the most egregious abuse of their authority and complete disregard for the Public and our right to address them, not to mention their disregard of the Brown Act.

There have been several meetings where members of the public opposed to the proposed new jail have been very vocal about their opposition. Most of the time the opponents, while they could be very vocal about their opposition they did so within the rules of the Board. Unfortunately, today was not the case. Those opposed to the new jail chose instead to disrupt the weekly Board meeting. Their loud and raucous behavior caused the Chair to announce that the Board would go to close session and then ordered the chamber cleared.

So out everyone went, with many of us waiting for the Board to return from close session so that we could speak to the items we had signed in for and the Board had not yet heard. Alas this was not to be, as we would learn several hours later. Imagine my surprise when we learned that the Board had returned from close session but had decided that only members of the Press would be allowed in and the Public would be barred. And, if this wasn’t insult enough the Board went forward with their meeting which still had multiple items left to be heard and of course the ever popular adjournments. I know that they heard from Drs. Katz and Ghaly on at least one item and voted on at least one of those items. But then again how’s anyone to really know what transpired since the Board closed the Public portion of the meeting to the Public. Can we say Brown Act violation?

How is this a Brown Act violation, you may ask? Simple the Brown Act allows the Public to address the Board on items on the agenda; by forbidding the Public to participate in the remainder of the meeting they violated the Brown Act. Of course you could argue that the Board was trying to avoid additional disruption, but this could’ve been handle by simply ejecting any one who continued to disrupt the meeting. In addition, by hearing and then voting on items without allowing those members of the Public that had signed up to speak on said items was yet another violation and requires that the Board rescind their vote and rehear the item – but I wouldn’t hold my breath since quashing Public involvement and slowly eroding the Brown Act seems to be de rigueur these days when it comes to the LA County Board of Supervisors.

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