Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Government Code

EDITOR:

“BOS tackles the function and life span of a ‘committee’” (Feb. 10 Mountain Democrat) — there is nothing to “tackle.” Government Code Section 54950-54963 regarding open meeting starts, “In enacting this chapter, the legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in the state exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”

In addition: “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

Understanding that “it is the people’s business” and it must be conducted openly, the next step should be the District Attorney and/or County Counsel to inform the Board of Supervisors in a public form as to the many aspects of Government Code starting with Section 54950-54963 regarding open meeting laws. Government Code is the law that must be followed.

The next question is how many more “groups” are meeting and are unaware of the “Open Meeting” laws. It is time for the elected “public servants” to understand their job and represent “the people” according to Government Code.

ELLEN DAY
El Dorado

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 35 comments

  • Fran DuchampFebruary 18, 2014 - 4:33 pm

    :)

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  • JimBoFebruary 18, 2014 - 10:03 pm

    Will Never Happen Ellen. The Bureacrats are all in cahoots and watching each others backs. We need a mass extermination.

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  • ObservationFebruary 19, 2014 - 7:26 am

    The simple answer is for CEDAC dissolve the group based upon the lack of need for the subcommittee and then some budding activist has a opportunity to formulate a private, closed group just as accused. Then they could invite only who they want (was open to everyone), post no public meeting time (was Fri 9am), discuss issues without opposing views (even Mr Center attended), self promotion by community activists (no self promotion was allowed) and barnstorm the BoS on their issues (actually scheduled times in advance). After all, isn't that exactly how the NO groups are conducting their business as a closed group? Haven't they been successful? The objections to the open subcommittee of the public is ALL about content, not legalities. The simple answer is to privatize the group and then clear the room of disagreement and dissenters. Discussion at the BoS level will return to content and maybe even force some disclosure of group composition before making a presentation to the BoS. After all, the argument can be made that these groups are actually lobbyists at the lowest levels. Repeat after me, ballot initiatives. A level playing field for everyone may not be the outcome the NO groups desire, but it is the best answer for the public - FULL disclosure by everyone.

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  • Stan StaileyFebruary 19, 2014 - 3:08 pm

    FULL disclosure by everyone sounds great, starting with the name of Observation. The initiative groups have open meetings in private facilities with private money and are very open and well publicized. Just go to their web sites. I have attended many of them. I have also attended numerous "reg reform" meetings and consider them a standing committee that does the counties business with attendance by various staff members. They meet every Friday at 8 AM in county facilities and have back door access to and considerable influence with county planning staff. I have heard some of the more extreme members make demeaning remarks about the B.O.S.'s inability to understand such complex issues that they are working on. This committee should just be disbanded and if it's work is essential to the county, then a new committee should be formed following all the rules of the Brown Act.

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  • It's MeFebruary 19, 2014 - 10:10 pm

    Observation, this has happened. I know that Sweeney, Knight, and Nutting used to jostle each other to be able to go to the developers' meetings (yes, those same developers that are on the Reg Reform and CEDAC committees) on Monday nights. There, they would review the Tuesday BOS agenda, and the developers decided whom would say what at the podium. All rehearsed, and all done with BOS blessings. Apparently the BOS were careful that only two would be in attendance to not violate the Brown Act. This was all told to me by a developer who still plays a major part in Reg Reform. Taxpayers/County residents, do you really think that your BOS represents you, or the developers? I think I need an initiative...and a BOS candidate who believes in sunshine and doesn't have a developer agenda...choose wisely and connect the dots.

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  • ObservationFebruary 20, 2014 - 8:38 am

    Both Stanley and It's validate the perspective of privatizing the group away from CEDAC. Stanley: the openness of individual lobby/NO groups is grossly overstated. According to Ms Davis post on another item, there was a SSCA meeting last night, you may have even been in attendance, but it was never posted as a open to the public meeting. Do not fool yourself into thinking that these are open dialogue meetings. There is more in common with all of these groups than most people think and it is simply whether you agree/disagree with the content.......It's Me: Post GP approval there were a lot meetings between many people trying to wade through the details of the implementation. Developers with projects meet with all of the folks in the approval food chain as do the savvy lobby groups or individuals. But really, an anti-development position some how means the BoS represents the people? Actually, it represents your position, but may be not someone else's position who supports a particular development project. This supports my contention that it is all about content and nothing more. ........ Bottom line: CEDAC should dissolve the Reg Reform group and allow it to become another independent, private association just like the other nebulous community activist/lobbying groups. Level playing field for all and the discussion goes back to the content and issues. Now who are these groups, how many people do they represent and was there really an internal vote on any of these positions?? Full disclosure is a double edged sword.

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  • It's MeFebruary 21, 2014 - 10:06 am

    Observation, you sound like Art M. (developer lobbyist), SSCA has its meetings posted on its website and anyone can attend. It's not a closed group, and besides, it's not government sponsored and that's why the Brown Act wouldn't apply to it anyway (maybe you should read up on that), UNLIKE REG REFORM, which has a regular meeting date, time, place, county staff attending, lead (a BOS candidate who sees no problem with no agendas and no minutes, apparently - Mike Ranalli, I won't vote for you!). County Counsel has informed the BOS that Reg Reform is violating the Brown Act, and yet BOS won't do anything. As far as Shingle Springs Community Alliance meetings, Ray Nutting is the only Supervisor that bothers to attend (thank you Ray, shame on you Briggs) to hear what the community wants, and he likely finds out about it through the website. SSCA has had 300 in attendance, voting for what they want. So don't do the developer spin that it's a "closed group." I find it comedic that you think the community group has more lobbying influence than the developers. Just look at how the BOS has rolled over to the developers in the past ten years. They haven't seen a project they didn't like. The Chamber of Commerce has a Political Action Committee made up of a Board of Directors that includes two developers, and PG&E, and other businesses (won't use their services). The Reg Reform group is comprised of developers and their buddies, who then inform CEDAC, who then report out to the BOS. The developers ARE WRITING THE ZONING CODE. Who do you think it will favor? Who keeps interfering with the implementation of the voter-approved 2004 General Plan? Who keeps getting the County sued over it, because the BOS rolls over to their "recommended" changes? THE DEVELOPERS!!!! Hello, McFly! Level playing field, indeed, is a joke. The community is organizing in order to level the playing field that the developers have had a fine time playing on for ten years. I think you and your developer friends are trying to spin things and running scared...as you should be.

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  • DivinoFebruary 20, 2014 - 8:47 am

    Observation, you ask that the group composition be disclosed prior to a BOS presentation. I've never seen a BOS presentation being made that nobody in the room knew who they were. If you are asking for people to state what they stand for, maybe you should be the first to disclose who you are and which developer group you represent? As for the community activist, I think it is pretty clear to all that SHE represents the community. Read all the initiatives. If you do represent a developer, then I can hear your boots shaking because the public is taking back El Dorado County. And the only question left of yourself is: "Why didn't I involve myself with the community?" As for the Brown Act, it's the LAW. CEDAC and all other government appointed committees MUST abide by it. Your request to have the community activist's group subject itself to the Brown Act is ludicrous. It is NOT a government appointed committee. It is a grassroots effort to bring the government back to the people, ALL the people, not just the carpetbagger developers.

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  • ObservationFebruary 22, 2014 - 8:13 am

    I sense fear of what is not understood. For example, it is the zoning map that is more important to the No groups than the zoning code. Reg Reform is not drawing the Zoning map as it is determined by the land use map. Next, it is a fascinating argument by the Initiative crowd to keep Reg Reform alive, but force the Brown Act. County Counsel has taken a no position concerning the Brown Act and they tend to error on the side of caution. My suggestion is for CEDAC to DISBAND the Reg Reform group and allow it to reorganize as an independent entity, just like any other group, IF someone cares to assume the lead on the group. There is only one reason for the initiative crowd to oppose this position and that is strategic advantage aka a playing field tilted in their favor. It is also far easier to rally for the cause with a clear enemy and it would seem the Reg Reform has become that focal point. Last point, the definition of a lobbyist is: "a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest". Pretty clear definition. The answer still is a level playing field with full disclosure for all. Then the discussion becomes about content and substance which is where the debate needs to be focused regardless of the outcome. Fix the process for better input.

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  • DivinoFebruary 22, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    Observation, now you're putting words in other peoples mouth. I don't speak for all the initiative crowd, but I do know those people. And if I may, some of them would be okay with Reg Reform disbanding if Reg Reform doesn't want to follow the Brown Act. However, any work that comes from Reg Reform (LUPPU) MUST be disallowed and must start over. So, please DISBAND Reg Reform and create your own group that does not have County Staff resources involved. Let the LUPPU process dissolve in the mist because that is the product of Reg Reform. And, I love how you use "level playing field" as if Reg Reform had ever operated in that stratosphere. You act as if Reg Reform has never operated as a lobbyist. PLEASE, be serious and stay on topic. Has Reg Reform violated the Brown Act? County Counsel seems to think so, even if you are in denial.

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  • EvelynFebruary 22, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    Divino: DITTO DITTO DITTO. Reg Reform should be disbanded. LUPPU should be throttled. BOS should be recalled for not doing their duty.

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  • EvelynFebruary 22, 2014 - 2:53 pm

    . . . when pigs fly. JimBo @February 18, 2014 - 10:03 pm is correct.

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  • Ernie LouisFebruary 19, 2014 - 12:24 pm

    I repeat: We have “Out of Control” County Departments and “Out of Control” Department Heads. The CAO is doing what she is told to do by the County Board of Supervisors or she is doing what she can get away with. Either way, the residents can’t fire County Employees for not representing our interest, but residents can vote for Supervisors who will. Right now I'm thinking the only way to get back to representation is to NOT VOTE FOR ANY CANIDATE THAT IS RUNNINBG FOR RE-ELECTION IN ANY COUNTY OFFICE. TRANSPARANCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. Ernie Louis

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 19, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    Wow Stan, this statement will get you in deep pooh, " I have heard some of the more extreme members make demeaning remarks about the B.O.S.'s inability to understand such complex issues that they are working on. " Well good for you. I have heard similar things.

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  • Keepin it ruralFebruary 19, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    Stan is absolutely correct! These committees need to follow the Brown Act.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 20, 2014 - 9:12 am

    CEDAC are appointed by the BOS....they are government. The BOS city cousel...although quietly also told the room that the reform group was put together by the "appointed" reps of CEDAC...it is also government. CEDAC shou;ls be disolved just on the fact of promoting lies to a county. Stiring up their own communities--like CEDAPP in Pollock . Government should never incite, inflame, instigate the peaceful lives of the people. Harper as an extention of a government entity has brought many lies into the community--starting with the "visioning" meetings...where most of the people came from the county offices. I was at one meeting, where one of the people said--well what if we (the advisory booard that never happened--we didnt want it.) wanted to have a bar-b-que and discuss items...I said--then you better invite the town. I was at another meeting where Mary Anne from CEDAC said..."no, we dont need the Brown Act..." As for Harper up here...she doesnt want the Brown Act...she wants to be in control of the whole space--and people are tired of it. So communities...what has CEDAC done in your neighborhoods? Anything useful? Or is your rep (that you didnt vote for) inciting the people to stand up and fight back? Up here some punish us in government...by not helping at all. If we dont play--we get nothing. Nice. I hope the candidates come introduce themselves up here...we dont live in El Dorado Hills. However,we have three votes at the BOS--three.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 20, 2014 - 9:14 am

    typos are part of my new personality...deal with it.

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  • Compass2TruthFebruary 21, 2014 - 9:59 am

    On Tuesday two important meetings took place where Brown Act violations were rampant: Special Parks & Recreation Commission and the River Management Advisory Committee. P&R started at 3 PM and by 6 PM they hadn't even finished the FIRST AGENDA ITEM due to Bob Smart and Steve Yonker who decided to IGNORE the Brown Act. Vickie Sanders (Parks Manager) and Kim Kerr couldn't even get that INSANE Clown Act under control. At 7 PM Vickie Sanders had to be present for the RMAC meeting at the Lotus Firehouse where censoring of the minutes and Brown Act violations continued just like they have for years. Kerr & Sanders never had time to read an important email on this subject which was entered into the RMAC public record that evening. Read the attachments to agenda items to reveal the TRUTH about our out-of-control local government. Melody Lane - Founder, Compass2Truth

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 21, 2014 - 10:24 am

    Steve Yonker :( Yet Harper went on about our design comittee. If they are only ten in a room--it is not the whole community.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 21, 2014 - 10:25 am

    some of my words were cut out...ouch. Steve Yonker is the guy that signed off on that ugly blue sign we have here in Pollock Pines. Connections.

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  • Compass2TruthFebruary 21, 2014 - 12:26 pm

    For those who may not be aware, Ellen Day is the former President of the Taxpayers Assn. of EDC. That is, until county employee Al Hamilton ousted her and publicly declared himself "dictator" with the supposedly 'unanimous approval' of the 15 association Directors (aka GOBs). When I challenged his dictatorship Hamilton then publicly stated, "I threw Roberts Rules of Order into the bottom of his drawer. From now on I'm running this meeting." His actions were witnessed by supervisors Veerkamp and Mikulaco with the full knowledge and consent of the BOS as well as County Counsel. Our elected officials don't care about Government Codes, rules or regulations and much less TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY. Folks, this is called TYRANNY. Look up the FACTS submitted by Compass2Truth into the BOS public records.

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  • LJ 1964February 21, 2014 - 7:00 pm

    I agree with JimBo in the very first comment. I think all the Supervisors only represent developers and any way to make money, The worst, and arguably the smartest of the disgusting BOS group, was Jack Sweeney. His conflicts of interest were notorious. And I'd love to know how much money he lined his pockets with at our expense. John Knight was a very close second. The current BOS members are almost as bad. Nutting apparently thinks getting caught in all his lawbreaking is because he is being persecuted, Mikulaco is a loudmouthed buffoon, Santiago is apparently clueless, Briggs only serves his daddy's grandiose scheming, and the one I am most disappointed with is Veerkamp. He apparently studies at Sweeney's knee but attempts to look like the good guy. Unfortunately his promises and earnest appearance never pan out into action. I agree with Ernie Louis. Don't vote for anyone in this County to be re-elected.

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  • Compass2TruthFebruary 21, 2014 - 11:24 pm

    Famous last words: "You need a new board (of supervisors). Hold their feet to the fire. Mine too. I work for you." ~ Sheriff John D'Agostini ~

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  • Loves this county, despises county govtFebruary 21, 2014 - 7:08 pm

    CEDAC's Reg Reform committee is a little cabal of special interests. They are appointed by CEDAC so they are a government committee. But as such they don't abide by the Brown Act---no minutes, no accountability, no transparency. And the members of that group are developers and real estate people. What would we expect from them? Just what we are getting---lawbreaking, secrecy, and the attempt to get the taxpayers; money to enrich themselves and friends. This group and CEDAC are scary groups in general. Attend their meetings if you want a real fright show. And scream bloody murder to your useless Supervisor. Maybe enough screaming will scare them into doing something.

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  • Compass2TruthFebruary 21, 2014 - 9:11 pm

    Great letter Ellen! Permit me to make an important significant distinction: "It is time for the elected public servants to understand their DUTY and represent the people according to Government Code AND THEIR OATHS OF OFFICE IN SUPPORT OF THE CONSTITUTION."

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  • Compass2TruthFebruary 22, 2014 - 5:27 pm

    Strike support and replace DEFEND the Constitution.

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  • Compass2TruthFebruary 21, 2014 - 10:55 pm

    "The issue is the People's Right to hold government to constitutional restraint. If they cannot hold it to account for such violations, then either the Constitution is not the supreme law, or the supreme law does not bind government. The supreme law of the land must be as binding on government when government doesn't like it as it is on citizens whether they like it or not."

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 22, 2014 - 8:35 am

    I am supporting the right of the people to petition their govenrment...because they have failed to listen to rooms full of people. I am supporting the right to petition a government--because they have allowed small groups to become the "other " government--that I know I didnt vote for. I am supporting the right of the people to decide on their own...but they have to "know" what is going on. Time after time, the BOS-staff-small groups have insisted they have the input of the people...I strongly disagree--knowing how it is in Pollock Pines. Going to ballot allows the people to know exactly what these groups have been up to. I believe in the system...I believe in the people...and when they find out...they will vote for many of these groups to disband. Hopefully the Chamber along with the disbanding. Business needs workers and consumers...they run the mechanism...without them--there is nothing. "Worthy"....sorry people you are not worthy to decide on your own--because the Chamber decides on all issues, and candidates. Any indepedant thinking is not "worthy" of consideration. Make sure you dont bump your head on the ground--when you bow down to these people...lololol

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  • WhattheheckFebruary 22, 2014 - 8:50 am

    Fran......totally agree with you........the it's time for the people to be heard and it's time for the BOS/Planning Dept/Developers to be silenced.......I'm signing any and all petitions and will keep fighting for my family and my grandchildren so they have an open field left to play in.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 22, 2014 - 8:43 am

    I am not afraid of lies and manipulation. These people should be afraid of the truth coming out...some of the businesses supporting the chamber...will back out--when they realise they are part of the manipulation. And then they will have to wait for the public to forgive the manipulation--big business killer. Lying to the public. I would try to stop the information going to the public if I were these people as well.

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  • EvelynFebruary 22, 2014 - 2:15 pm

    Divino: Concerning the Brown Act, Reg Reform seems to have suffered a Senior Moment. At a well attended 5/16/2013 meeting (Video HERE) CEDAC members were addressed by someone from County Counsel’s office. (1) QUESTION: Who is subject to the Brown Act? ANSWER: You guys are. There is really no question. (2) THE EXCEPTION: Advisory committees that are less than a quorum of the members of the local agency. This applies only to ad hoc committees that don’t have continuing subject matter jurisdiction. Regulatory Reform: has continuing jurisdiction. (3) QUESTION: What constitutes a meeting? ANSWER: Any congregation of a majority of the members to hear, discuss, or deliberate on any item within the subject matter of the jurisdiction of that agency. Any use of direct communication. (4)Mike Ranalli asked “What is the difference between an advisory committee and a legislative body? We (both CEDAC and Reg Reform) only make recommendations. ANSWER: It doesn’t make a difference. You’re under the Brown Act. You’ve got to follow the rules. ********** Either CEDAC / Reg Reform have suffered a "Senior Moment” – which argues for replacing the lot of them – or they are in willful non-compliance. County Counsel’s office said that ANY ACTION TAKEN IN VIOLATION OF THE BROWN ACT IS VOIDABLE.

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  • EvelynFebruary 22, 2014 - 2:33 pm

    . . . The recording of this meeting was a fortuitous exception. By and large the public is dependent upon whatever accounting of their activities CEDAC chooses to put out. As for Reg Reform, they provide no public accounting WHATSOEVER of their meetings.

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  • James E.February 22, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    Evelyn, if there is no authority to call them to account, appears they can be in violation forever. Who is that authority? The DA or the Attorney General of California?

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  • EvelynFebruary 22, 2014 - 2:43 pm

    James: I should think it would be BOS. Several members of the public have raised the matter at BOS meetings. It always gets shrugged off. For whatever reason, BOS ignores the problem. The CAO & the Ass't CAO are themselves complicit. Logically, the prevailing situation suits the whole lot of them. No wonder there are people out there working their butts off (is that bad English?) petitioning the people of this County to get the County to WORK FOR THE PEOPLE.

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  • James E.February 22, 2014 - 3:03 pm

    Well, if the BOS doesn't care about the Brown Act guess we have a county government run amok.

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