By Miriam Raftery
September 15, 2012 (San Diego) – Thanks to Valley Roadrunner editor David Ross for giving us a heads up on County Supervisors’ latest attempt to hide their actions from public scrutiny. The newest scheme to keep the public in the dark is a proposal that would limit publication of community planning group meetings to a tiny two-by-two inch square ad in print publications—with no agenda included.
Earlier this year, ECM received the League of Women Voters Media Award 2012 for informing voters about Supervisors’ attempts to eliminate all community planning groups as recommended by a “Red Tape Reduction Task Force” comprised of developers. Outraged public commentary forced Supervisors to back down. These same supervisors have twice faced legal actions in the past year for Brown Act violations of public notice laws. Yet these public officials remain unrepentant, continuing to restrict public access instead of expanding it.
What part of “sunshine law” intentions don’t they get?
In a blistering editorial titled Public interest be damned!, Ross pulls no punches in excoriating supervisors for this latest tactic.
“If I were a suspicious type I would speculate that this requirement is aimed at punishing all of the newspapers that lined up to defend planning groups against being abolished earlier this year,” he states, then goes on to note that the impact on the public is worse, particularly for readers who lack Internet access.
“If the Board of Supervisors adopts this change,” Ross concludes, “we don’t need any clearer indication that public access to public business is a secondary priority to our County elected officials. Or that the real purpose of the “reforms” being published is to render planning groups useless by killing public participation.”
Read his pithy editorial in its entirety: http://www.valleycenter.com/editorials.htm
I heartily agree with Ross. Recent planning group agendas in East County have included projects with major impacts on rural communities, such as industrial wind energy facilities, casinos, a high-rise hotel, military and paramilitary training camps. Clearly, you should have the right to know what projects are planned for your neighborhood—while there’s still time to have your voice be heard, amend or halt an ill-planned project from being rubber-stamped.
If you agree, contact Supervisors at the following links and give them a piece of your mind. Then tell your friends to take a stand, too, to protect democracy in our region.