In other words, this is being widely seen as an obvious violation of the Brown Act by Mayor Pro Tem John Buchanan, Mayor Joe Mosca, and Councilmembers Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran.
Rather than repeat my opinions on the matter (which I shared on this blog at the end of Friday's post), I thought the issue would be better served by listing some of what I thought were the better reader posts on the matter. The Tattler is blessed with a very astute and highly informed readership, and they are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves.
June 25 - 9:00 AM: It was a planned ambush of the General Plan Committee. Joe, John, Josh, and Nancy all knew what was going to happen. A clear Brown Act violation if there ever was one. This also was not on the published agenda.
June 25 - 9:31 AM: How do we request a Brown Act investigation into the probable collusion of the 4 City Council members who wanted to do in the GPSC?
June 25 - 9:31 AM: It was obvious to us watching the meeting on TV that the 4 Barts were in violation of the Brown Act....Bart Mosca didn't pick it up, but Buchanan did, and that is why they backed off....The 4 Barts will be VERY, VERY closely watched, any violation of the Brown Act....the public can sue....The two new Barts were so inept last night it was pathetic, it was painfully obvious that Buchanan had "schooled them" on exactly what to say. Bart Nancy doesn't even use those words in her limited vocabulary, and Bart Josh, well, he totally messed it up - (how could his mother have allowed him to run for Council?)....Continued congratulations to the apathetic public who voted (or didn't bother to vote) allowing these morons to be on our Council....At least Mayor MacGillivray is still on the Council to fight for the people of Sierra Madre! Thank you Mayor MacGillivray. You are truly a gift, a gifted gift!
June 25 - 9:42 AM: 9:31, contact the California the California Fair Political Practices Commission and file a complaint. You can call 800-561-1861. 9 am to noon and 1 pm to 4 pm. It is their toll free tip line. How about all readers and attendees of last night's sham of a meeting call in?
June 25 - 10:23 AM: I caught the constant whispering between the "3 Minute Mayor" and Councilman Buchanan also. The one that stood out in my mind was when Joe seemed intent on making his motion to expand the Planning Committee, with tensions running high in the chamber Buchanan must have whispered, "you're about to step on a land mine ... back off!
June 25 - 10:35 AM: 9:31 My thoughts exactly. Obviously a lot of behind the scenes strategy had taken place. The silly parroting of 3 Minute Joe and Pontificating John by Waltzing Walsh and Josh Realtor-Spawn made it obvious that the Brown Act was being assaulted.
June 25 - 1:19 PM: The Brown Act requires under section 54954.2, subdivision (a), the legislative body must post an agenda containing a "brief general description of each item at the meeting, including items to be discussed in closed session," and no action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.... Shapiro v. San Diego City Council, supra, 96 Cal. App. 4th 904, 923.... The Brown Act requires under section 54954-3. (a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body's consideration of the item, that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.... This discussion should never have happened or ever been voted on.... Please everyone take the time to report this to the above phone number. It is Friday so they may not answer. If no answer, call Monday. Their behavior must be stopped. They think they are above the law.
June 25 - 2:23 PM: gilman said ... Just wondering, what is the specific claim that a violation of the FPPC's rules were broken? And what is the specific violation of the Brown Act?
June 25 - 2:47 PM: gilman, my take on the Brown Act violation was a serial violation - so 4 out of the 5 council members were prepared to argue for the same idea, and it was an idea that seemed to come out of the blue ... I don't think any of this can be proven, so at this point I personally will not be lodging a complaint. But if you had seen the dovetailing that took place after our "Mayor" clumsily introduced his suggestion to increase an active committee from 5 to 9, your suspicions would have been aroused, too.
June 25 - 2:55 PM: The discussion about increasing the number of members on the General Plan committee was not an agendized item. According to the law it could not be discussed, a motion made or voted on without public notice. Also Joe Mosca did not open up the illegal hearing for public comment. Another violation.
June 25 - 3:11 PM: gilman said...anonymous @ 2:47 - Based on what I have been reading, I would agree that members of the Council are deliberating on issues outside the mandates set forth under the Brown Act. Your contention that serial meetings are taking place makes perfect sense ... Unfortunately, as you suggest, without specific proof it will be tough to do anything about it. This type of behavior is all too prevalent in many local cities and often runs unchecked. The good news is that you now understand how this Council is prepared to operate which gives you an opportunity to try and collect the evidence needed to prove a violation. It would be interesting to know what records exist showing that Council members are meeting with staff under a serial format, also would be interesting to view phone records (if they exist and/or would be provided) for the Council ... On a side note, it would be interesting to know why public comment rules were changed and when a mute button was installed at at who's request. The Mayor does not have the unilateral authority to direct staff to make such changes...such changes should have been on the Agenda and voted on by the entire Council?
June 25 - 3:18 PM: Gilman, are you suggesting that Joe's "I Can't Hear You! La! La! La!" button might be illegal?
June 25 - 3:27 PM: gilman said ... Not every outcome or action must be listed on an agenda. As a "study session" a discussion related to the overall issue is fine as well as possible actions to take. The Tattler article indicates that members of the public, such as Fay Angus, were allowed to comment, so I am not sure about the claim no public comment was allowed. Do not get me wrong, Mosca and his cohorts are the worst kind of politicians and seem fully prepared to rule vs. represent the citizens. However, if you are going to take action to stop him, make sure you have a dead bang winner of a case. If you start filing Brown Act complaints with the DA and can not provide full and complete evidence of a violation, the DA may ignore valid complaints you may have in the future.
June 25 - 3:42 PM: Is our City Attorney guilty as an accessory to Brown Act violations? Is the remote cut off of public comment a violation of the brown Act? Is the resulting "rubber stamp" of the two new Council Members a violation of the Brown Act? After all, Mosca publicly said the two new members were "being trained" on Council issues. Is that a violation of the Brown Act? Is the flagrant whispering and obvious collusion prior to and after Council meetings a violation of the Brown Act? Are the many omissions of information about non-agendized and agendized items and posting requirements, flagrant violations of the Brown Act?
June 26 - 9:54 AM: Is whispering (off mike communications) legal during a public meeting? Is that some sort of violation?
June 26 - 8:52 AM: I'm not a lawyer, here's the link to the Brown Act, it's long. The penalty for violating this section is described near the end, which is a misdemeanor conviction that can result in up to a year in jail, or fines, or both.
June 26 - 10:37 PM: Many people got up and reported that there was an ulterior motive. The audience was well aware from the get go that this was not in accord with the Brown Act plus it was not agendized. Josh and Nancy just went along with Joe. It was all too obvious. They had NOTHING to offer for the TOWN ... The one thing John will never be able to get the other 3 new members to do is to speak well. The 4 of them talk in circles and are an overwhelming embarrassment. They are a horrible representation of SM residents.
There are many additional comments that I could add here, but I think it's time to bring this one to a close. It seems fairly obvious to me that a lot of people believe that what they saw last Thursday evening was the unlawful and open collaboration of four elected officials on the Sierra Madre City Council. I count myself among them. This, of course, in violation of the state law designed to prevent government from behaving that way.
So will there be an investigation? Can we expect some kind of official recognition that what so many witnessed actually did occur, and that is was wrong? I'm not holding my breath. Our money, not justice, is what they are really concerned about right now. Anything beyond that is a distraction.