As we saw in the last post, despite the fact that our Auditor is an independently-elected public official, and instead of exercising independent discretion with respect to the economic consequences of Council activities (e.g., the CAOs), she has gone out of her way to put forward Council views on the CAO. From my view, our Auditor has become a participant in the process rather than an independent evaluator of facts.
And that brings us to the lawsuit filed by the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) against the County over the CAO process. The lawsuit alleges two causes of action:
- Meetings (of the CAO Implementation Committee) were held without notice or minutes and closed to the public.
- The County's continuing failure to comply with the requirements of the Growth Management Act (including its public participation requirements) must be enjoined.
One of the difficulties to be worked out on the lawsuit is the status of our Prosecutor's office. Our Prosecuting Attorney is charged with defending the lawsuit; however, a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Jon Cain, was a standing member of the CAO Implementation Committee. There is a potential conflict, and the Prosecuting Attorney might be called as a witness.
Regardless of how that is worked out, the participation of the Deputy Prosecutor in months (if not years) of meetings as an apparent participant in a legislative committee, just serves to further illustrate the "mixins" that are part of our local government. It seems like one more example of group think instead of independence of mind.
Despite the fact that three Council members have been named in a lawsuit regarding the CAOs and the CAO process, the Council appears determined to continue moving ahead with its approval of the CAOs. It would come as no surprise if we were to learn that everyone were of one mind about that.