Though I’m pleased that our DA’s office found that the Board of Supervisors had indeed violated the Brown Act in September 2011, however I’m disappointed that they only received a “slap-on” the wrist. Let’s not forget that the Board was also found to have violated the Brown Act in 2004 when in closed session they voted to close King-Drew Medical Center trauma center. DA Cooley, at that time, concluded (struck a deal with the Board not to release the tapes in order for him to listen to the tapes) that the Board punishment would only be a “slap-on” the wrist as they were likely not to make the same mistake in the future.
Fast forward a few years and violà another very similar violation. How many more such violations must the Board make before our DA actually holds them accountable? He goes after smaller cities with a vengeance, but seems to shrink from holding our Board’s feet to the fire. I often wonder if his reticence to be as tough on the Board as anything to due with the fact that the Board holds the purse strings to his budget. Were the violations the exact same each time, no; however they are similar in nature and thus show a consistent pattern of decit and should warrant harsher punishment for each subsequent violation. Until that happens the Board will continue to push the limits of how much of the public’s business they can conceal under the cloak of the closed session – because they obviously have a flat learning curve.