To the Editor: Cites lack of transparency

We are all familiar with the closed session technique used by local agencies to keep the public in the dark. Local agencies now have another technique for limiting access to public information. It is called the COVID-19 fear factor. Both the City Council and the Groundwater Authority have continued to meet, but the public has been denied immediate access for months. The city is just now allowing very limited access by the public. The GA may allow limited access soon. The biggest offender, the water district has not met together as an agency since COVID-19 struck and has allowed public interaction only over computer or phone link – not acceptable.

It is interesting to note the local politicians will swear come election time that they are 100-percent in favor of transparency. Unfortunately, too many members of the public will actually believe the political rhetoric. The lack of accommodating the public during this time of national crisis is alarming. Yes, we need to be safe and we need to stay healthy. However, we shouldn’t need to give up our right to participate in government to do either. Some accommodation should be made to serve the people. Both City Hall and the WD boardroom are large enough with proper safeguards to accommodate the few individuals who typically attend meetings.

There are a number of critical water issues to be addressed over the next couple agency meetings. If the local agencies are not willing to accommodate the public properly, I suggest all agencies hit the pause button for two or three months to let the virus settle down. After doing little or nothing for the last fifty years to solve our water problems, it is ridiculous for us to go full speed ahead now without the critical involvement of the public.

The concept is simple; accommodate the public or take a pause. The public needs to remember this November who was willing to accommodate the public and who wasn’t.

Stuart H Breil

Story First Published: 2020-07-03