Friday, January 21, 2005

No pay, no stay, says Stone

The Press Democrat quietly announced Supe Chairman Tim Smith's "State of the County: Annual Report to the Community" breakfast, in a brief Around the Empire item Wednesday (1/19, "ROHNERT PARK 'State of County' breakfast"). [See: "Supes invite 'Community' to $30 breakfast" below].

The PD hasn't reported on the issues raised in connection with the Supes' $30 hotel breakfast meeting, but Spencer Soper's item did quote Ben Stone's denial: "Smith's speech will be posted on the county Web site for those who can't attend the event, he said. 'There will be no insider information and no business is done there,' Stone said. 'It's a ceremony.' "

I wrote below a week before, "It's clearly an official Board event, even if only Tim Smith and one other Supervisor--less than a quorum--attend their breakfast forum. And if three Supes are present, it's arguably a 'meeting' of the Board, as defined by the Brown Act.

But local politicians have demonstrated a sneaky way of violating the Brown Act, and getting away with it. If private citizens show up and demand free admission to an event like this, they are ushered in. They may not get breakfast, but they can attend the meeting."

Stone says citizens can forget about standing against the wall to hear Smith speak to the "Community", while an anticipated 500 businesspeople sit and eat their $30 bacon and eggs:

"Attendees must pay to cover the cost of serving breakfast, and there likely won't be room for people to attend who do not pay for breakfast, said Ben Stone, director of the county's Economic Development Board, which is hosting the event."


Post a Comment

<< Home