Orange County supervisors think about that they will prevail in a lawsuit not too way back filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California over the way in which through which the board regulates and limits the suggestions that native residents might make at public board conferences.
Whether the county’s policies transfer licensed muster ultimately is as a lot because the courts, nonetheless it’s clear they violate the spirit of the state’s open-meeting laws, typically referred to as the Ralph M. Brown Act.
The lawsuit argues that the board has “actively attempted to silence the people, stifle debate, and shield its members from criticism.”
It’s arduous to disagree.
The lawsuit is concentrated significantly on the board’s treatment of a bunch of homeless activists, nonetheless these imperious policies go far previous this one express public-policy concern. The Orange County policies seem to frustrate public participation by design.
According to the lawsuit, supervisors have shortened the time by which residents can converse and have confirmed favoritism in how they apply the time tips. Others discover that the board has moved throughout the timing of public suggestions, thus forcing public commenters to attend hours at events to make their degree.
The board has forbidden of us from addressing supervisors individually — one factor the ACLU says is meant to quash criticism.
Yes, it could be irritating for elected officers to take heed to oft-times repetitive suggestions from constituents, nonetheless listening to their views is a core part of the job.
Many governmental selections are made behind the scenes, so public conferences — nonetheless annoying they’re for these sitting behind the dais — are the first different for residents to be heard. Sorry, nonetheless these boards aren’t designed for the pleasure and luxury of office-holders.
Supervisors shouldn’t waste taxpayer money stopping this lawsuit. Instead, they should further revamp their tips in keeping with the Brown Act, which notes the oldsters “do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know.”
Likewise, public servants don’t have the suitable to resolve what the oldsters can say to their officers and the way in which they’ll say it.