To the Editor: Challenges assessment process

Here’s information the citizens of Ridgecrest need to know about the hearing on the proposed Parks and Recreation District on 4-17-19. There were several things said or inferred by council that were not accurate:

1. The city council had no lawful authority to limit the hearing to one hour or the time limit of the speakers to five minutes for a hearing required by Prop. 218. I notified the council of this and received no response identifying what law gave it that authority, The council proceeded anyway.

2. Councilman Wallace Martin and City Attorney Keith Lemieux misstated the facts regarding the purpose of the hearing under Proposition 218. The purpose of the hearing per the state constitution is to insure that propertyowners are given the opportunity to provide input that receives serious and meaningful consideration, input that concerns, facts, objections, questions on what is or is not being funded and concerns about the P&R District formation in compliance with the state law and constitution. Given this requirement, the only conclusion I can reach, is that it places a requirement on the council to vote on whether or not to proceed with the creation of the P&R District after giving meaningful consideration to what was presented, but not voted on. It was a hearing without a judge. To accept anything else, you must accept that the authors of Prop. 218 used the word hearing and consider all protests to be meaningless and fluff and didn’t want the people’s input to have any purpose.

3. Council held no meeting to discuss the idea of or the need for a P&R District. The only meetings held were on the question to proceed. This occurred despite numerous citizen requests for a meeting to hear from the people on their wishes, desires and concerns about the P&R District, were ignored by the council. This fact leaves me with only one conclusion: the council didn’t want to hear from the people or consider their input, but wanted to put their wishes and those of special interests above those of the people.

4. Councilwoman Lindsey Stephens claimed that the council held a special public workshop/meeting to discuss what would be funded by the P&R District. It was nothing more than a scheduled gathering where about six posterboards with old special-interest wish lists were presented, with a priority board for stickers. The venue did not include a public discussion with the council about needs, desires, costs, etc.

5. It was stated that a survey was taken that found the majority supported the P&R District. I tried to take the survey on the city website and it would not let me; it stated that I had already taken the survey. Council was informed, but showed no concern.

6. At the hearing I presented a four-page point paper to each council member. My paper clearly and unquestionably proved that the P&R District the council was forming violated the state constitution. Council has a sworn duty to uphold and support California laws and constitution, but none of them showed any concern about compliance. The city attorney said councilwas in compliance without even reading my paper.

The 80-percent vote against the district tells me that the council did not want to hear from or listen to the people before proceeding with the district, something others identified at the hearing. Maybe they will learn they are not dictators, but representatives who should listen to the people they represent.

Frederick Douglass — Abuse always expands to fill the limits of resistance to it. — Tyranny Law No. 2.

Ronald L. Porter

Story First Published: 2019-05-03