If it's Brown, it's ignored
Original post made by Cliff Hanguerre, Danville, on Jul 28, 2011
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff went to great lengths to assure everyone that there was no violation of the Brown Act, California's open meeting law. She stressed that there was no meeting of a quorum. The Brown act provides that if a quorum of a policy group (the CC-BOS is one of these) meets outside of a scheduled meeting, it is a violation. The law rightly says that the public's business is to be conducted in public.
However, Mitchoff was strangely silent about another Brown Act specification: the serial meeting. It's allowed for 2 members of a 5 member board to meet and discuss things but if one of those folks then talks to ANOTHER member of that board, that discussion immediately constitutes a quorum and is a violation. Did it happen for the redistricting discussion? Who knows?
But there was another possible anomaly of this meeting. A highly placed source in the county offices, "Deep Threat", noted that the CC-BOS redistricting meeting was out of compliance with the County's Better Government Ordinance (known to its friends as the BGO). The BGO requires that all documents be in the hands of the BOS and the public at least 96 hours before any meeting that those documents will be used in. The redistricting maps used in the CC-BOS meeting were not supplied in time for the meeting to be legal.
Yes, I know nothing will probably change, but the rules and ordinances are there for a reason. But they were ignored by some of our supes. It's a pity.