Let’s join Gov. Jerry Brown and the LA County Board of Supervisors in having a big laugh together about what a joke it is when powerful elected officials like them show their utter contempt for the law and the public as they did last September during an illegal closed-door meeting.
The supervisors brought the governor behind closed doors to discuss the “realignment” law AB 109 for early prisoner release with the full knowledge that they were violating the law — the governor told them so.
The governor, formerly the state’s chief prosecutor as Attorney General, even joked about it during the meeting when he referred to the Ralph M. Brown Open Meeting Act: “Let’s get our Brown Act cover story.”
Noting reporters who protested the Sept 26 meeting were waiting outside, County Counsel Andrea Sheridan Ordin responded: “You may have folks out there who want to ask questions.”
They all laughed their heads off at that, and the governor is still laughing six months later, according to his spokesman Gil Duran.
Brown was “clearly joking,” Duran told the LA Times..
“He was mocking the county counsel’s premise for holding the session in closed session, which he thought was questionable,” Duran said, noting that an unreleased recording shows everyone laughed heartily at the governor’s joke.
“It’s their meeting,” he added, so it was up to the county to comply with the Brown Act — and not the governor’s problem that he was participating in an illegal act intended to conceal from the public their elected officials concerns about the cost of realignment and impact on public safety.
OK, now we are all in on the joke, let’s all have a big laugh, too.
Let’s all laugh at how they have doubled and tripled the fines for every kind infraction ordinary citizens might commit and made it a crime to do just about anything, even throw Frisbees on the beach in summer.
Let’s all laugh about how people like the crooked general manager of the Coliseum Patrick Lynch gets off without jail time for being the kingpin of a criminal enterprise stealing million because he did such a good job of looking after the supervisors and other public officials who served on the commission that was supposed to protect the public interest.
Hysterical, isn’t it?
The supervisors’ cover story — approved by Ordin – was that the private meeting and others without the governor were justified under the Brown Act because prisoner release posed “a threat to the security of public buildings, a threat to the security of essential public services, or a threat to the public’s right of access to public services or facilities,” as Californians Aware put it in announcing the supervisors has settled the First Amendment group’s lawsuit.
“It was clear from a review of the board’s previous discussions and press statements that
the closed sessions had nothing to do with any threat to the security of public facilities and
everything to do with the financial impact of the Realignment—and what the state was prepared to do to cushion it,” CalAware General Counsel Terry Francke said in a statement. (CalAware–Settlement News Release)
The county paid CalAware $14,800 in legal fees and costs to settle the lawsuit, admitted the supervisors violated the law and are releasing transcripts of the meeting.
Like all great comedians, the supervisors have yet one more joke to top the last one.
“The board is fully committed to transparency and openness, and with complying with both the spirit and letter of the Brown Act,” according to a statement issued Thursday.
Even after the District Attorney told the supervisors back in January their meeting was illegal, Supervisor Mike Antonovich was unrepentant and formally proposed changing the law so they could meet privately whenever they want with the governor or the President.
Here’s the video provided by Leslie Dutton’s Full Disclosure Network which has been challenging the supervisors’ penchant for secrecy a long time:
Full Disclosure even sent reporter Janet Levy and a cameraman to Washington D.C. last May when the five supervisors and their entourage were meeting many members of the California Congressional delegation and officials at the White House.
They challenged the right of the supervisors to keep them out of the meetings whenever there was a quorum of three members present and produced two half-hour shows about what happened. You can watch a 10-minute preview here of Levy’s revealing report on just how little respect they have for the law and the public.
The supervisors are gearing up for another Washington junket next month and Full Disclosure plans to be there if Dutton can line up an aggressive reporter willing to challenge the arrogance of the powerful.