Three supervisors agree on redistricting Comments on Stories, posted by [removed], a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm
News service researchers validated today that three supervisors, Gioia, Glover and Mitchoff, have agreed on a modified version of concept plan 5/6 as redistricting for Contra Costa County. Along party lines, three supervisors have dictated boundaries that will likely be challenged by communities, neighborhoods and the Republican supervisors.
Posted by [removed], a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jul 17, 2011 at 10:06 am
News service researchers and counsel have referenced county reviews of Brown Act limitations on private gatherings attended by two or more supervisors and other public officials. In such reviews over the past decade, supervisors have asserted freedom of speech and rights of privacy in gathering privately and off-site of government facilities. Such gatherings in political campaign planning, economic council gatherings and simply in various social events were claimed to not be part of Brown Act restrictions. It was further asserted that private, off-site conversations in gatherings of two of more supervisors were protected by freedom of speech and rights of privacy even when such conversations included discussion of topics within county considerations.
County reviews had no public or published result but are matter of record at the county. In service to your readers you might research such claims and how they may be impacting current discussions of redistricting. For readers interested in the specifications of the Brown Act, www.alamoca.org has reference information as part of their “Alamo MAC” presentation. At present, party politics are defining county redistricting and private gatherings are taking place within such party organizations or related groups. As you develop Brown Act definitions of such gatherings it would be appropriate to report the specifics of such gatherings, their agendas and impact.
Such news service research will become public reporting as challenges emerge against the redistricting ordinance and it should be important to Contra Costans to understand the extent of such rights of privacy and freedom of speech.
Posted by Triogenes, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jul 17, 2011 at 11:29 am
Not true. The Brown Act rightly states that the public's business shall be conducted in public. A quorum of any body under the Brown Act that meets and discusses that body's business without due public notice is in violation.
Members can meet socially or at gatherings, but if a quorum discusses business at such gatherings with a view to reaching consensus on an issue, they are in violation.
The Brown Act overrides freedom of speech in this instance to ensure openness and transparency in government.
Posted by [removed], a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jul 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm
As your readers wait for your feature on this emerging story there is only one real question based on the history of such Brown Act reviews in Contra Costa County, "Who is going to prosecute those considered in violation of the Brown Act?" Certainly, Contra Costa County has sought no such prosecution of violations in the past decade and, as a result, supervisors see no risk.
As you might discuss this with public law counsel you will find that many feel the Brown Act could be Constutionally challeged by rights of privacy and freedom of speech claims if ultimately any agreement was proclaimed in a public hearing. It certainly does present an interesting question for public law scholars and would create an excellent Diablo Views for the Danville Express.