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Letter to Editor: Keep the Brown Act and Public Disclosure Intact

Dave Roberts, deputy mayor of Solana Beach and a candidate for District 3 San Diego County Supervisor that includes Torrey Pines, said full and public disclosure by elected officials is the cornerstone of good government.

To the Editor:

Full and public disclosure by elected officials is important to me. It is the cornerstone of good government. So is public input and public involvement in government.

That's why two new state provisions that allow local governments to escape compliance with open-meeting laws should be immediately shot down. These provisions are an end-run attempt to scuttle the provisions of the Brown Act. In short, the goal of these two provisions is to restrict public access to information about what their elected officials, and government in general, are doing and saying. This will ultimately mean far less public involvement, public awareness and good government. The result will be closed door meetings and back-room deals.

On July 25 - the next meeting of the Solana Beach City Council - I plan to ask my colleagues on the council to vote in favor of my proposal to require the council to abide by the provisions of the Brown Act - whether it is required by state law, or not.  I plan to ask all public boards upon which I serve to pass a similar proposal.

The Brown Act strictly limits government's ability to exclude the public from meetings. For instance, in the case of decision-making in law suits, closed sessions are allowed. But when it comes to spending the public's tax dollars, the Brown Act frowns upon restrictions of any kind. It also requires strict public noticing of meetings, with full disclosure regarding agendized items.

I believe that every city in the region should follow suit. For all of us, the Brown Act should be sacrosanct.

Open government and full public disclosure must be kept intact.

Dave Roberts, Deputy Mayor of Solana Beach

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