Two agenda items (below) at the July 14, 2011 City Council Meeting referenced consultation with the "Parks and Recreation Committee".
No Public Notice of a meeting of the Committee had been seen on the Notice Board or City Website.
If the Parks and Recreation Committee is composed of substantially the same people as the Commission and providing input on similar matters to the City, Public Notice of the meetings and an opportunity for Public Comment is required under the Brown Act.
Oddly, Parks and Recreation is still shown on the City Website - here
At a Special Meeting on April 14, 2011, the City Council disbanded the Parks and Recreation Commission upon the Commission's request.
Parks & Rec Special Meeting April 12, 2011
The Commission had met at a Special Meeting on April 12, 2011 and voted to disband. The Commission had just had another Special Meeting on April 7, 2011 to decide whether to televise their meetings.
Parks & Rec Special Meeting April 7, 2011
The path to disbandment looks to have started in February 2011, when Parks and Rec Chair Karen Vipperman stated she waited in her car before entering because she didn't want to hear public comments.
|February 17 - Park & Rec Chair Vipperman says she was sitting in her car because she didn't want to hear Public Comments|
At the March Parks & Rec Meeting Chair Vipperman announced that Public Comments would be neither recorded nor broadcast and would be moved from the beginning to the end of the meeting. At the April 4, 2011 Parks and Rec Meeting she ordered the City cameraman to turn off the recorder when it was time for public comments. A Special Meeting about whether to broadcast Parks and Rec at all was held April 7th, and their vote to disband 5 days later.
|April 4, 2011 - City Cameraman Joe Geissinger turning camera off during Public Comments at direction of Parks & Rec Chair Karen Vipperman.|
Discussion over televising and disbandment included not wanting to broadcast public comments, editing other public comments if they did not approve of them, and whether changing to a Committee would allow them to not take public comments at all.
The City has had a string of episodes in recent months that suggest a leaning toward excluding or intimidating the public.
While these incidents suggest use of Sheriff Dept personnel for non-patrol uses, the Council voted to cut the Sheriff Budget at the June Council meeting.
The proportion of time patrolling the city, acting as staff bodyguards, or council "muscle" has not been released.
|Council "Posse" to Exclude Public at Dec 27, 2010 Hearing||Armed Deputy Guards Hearing Door to Exclude Public & Press||3 Armed Deputies Remain for April 7 Parks & Rec Meeting|
|Councilmember Vipperman summons his henchmen to block Press Camera.
See Video of henchmen !! Viewer Warning !! - A Vipperman associate uses foul language. Do not view if you don't want to hear it.
|Armed Deputy present at April 12, 2011 Parks & Rec Meeting.||
Deputy accompanies City Staff for posting
* City staff photo
In May 2011, a new notice appeared on the City Council agenda.. The public was asked to leave at the end of the meeting. The remaining Staff and Council could then engage in private conversations.
A resident consulted an attorney, who advised that the City action was a violation of the Brown Act.
By the July meeting, the City apologized and revised the notice.