An open letter to the Del Mar Union School District board
By Martha Cox
Retired Del Mar Union School District employeeWhatever pressing business that needed discussing on Wednesday, Nov. 25th, the day before Thanksgiving, is lost on your constituents because the message you sent is, “The public be damned.”
Throughout your three-year tenure, you have repeatedly demonstrated your disregard for the public and your staff members, but you certainly achieved a new low with this ill-advised scheduling. Fortunately, someone with a clearer head and sense of decency brought the lame-brained idea to a halt before this travesty happened. What an unconscionable betrayal of the public trust.
The scheduling of this meeting, and its posting, however, represent more than mere incompetence and lack of consideration, for you have violated the Brown Act, not once but many times over. And, since Thanksgiving Week is not a work week for staff, you have no one else to blame this time.
Special meetings may be scheduled when true emergencies or deadlines exist, where a board must take action before the next regularly scheduled meeting, when delay would result in non-compliance of a county, state or federal deadline. That was clearly not the case here.
Secondly, your frequent and continual use of special meetings, requiring only 24-hour notification, to conduct routine, or in this case nonsensical, business clearly violates the purpose and intent of the Brown Act. Your role and primary function is to conduct the people’s business in public at regularly scheduled and properly noticed meetings. I’m not sure you truly understand that responsibility, for you seem to get nowhere with your meetings, and then continually follow up with special meetings at a time when few community members can attend. Conduct of meetings in this mode is not only inconsiderate and time-wasting, it’s wrong.
Your third violation of the Brown Act speaks to your true intent for this meeting. The posting of the agenda should provide the public with an understanding of what business the government agency intends to conduct. You failed this requirement hands down.
Item No. 3 on the ill-fated agenda was “Public Hearing Schedule.” What about it? Were you intending to provide the public with the schedule as an informational item? Did you think you needed to approve the public hearing schedule, and if so, why, for it had already been approved by the 7/11 committee? Were you trying to determine a new timeline since the 7/11 committee had indicated that they would not be able to meet the Dec. 9 deadline? ...
Item No. 4 was “Community Update.” Again, the same questions. What was your intent — an informational report of some sort, or an opportunity to give the community time for public input the day before Thanksgiving? C’mon. I’m sure you view your actions and willingness to meet as noble and generous and feel totally misunderstood at this juncture. Since your three-year modus operandi of offensive nitpicking, inane wordsmithing and arrogant micro-managing clearly isn’t working, how about trying prepared and efficient for a while? The public would be much better served if you would.