The transcripts for the depositions will be available shortly, and we will post them. However, so as not to interfere with the discovery process, the Trojan Heron won't be releasing any details until after Shireene Hale has been deposed at the earliest. If further depositions are subsequently scheduled, we may reconsider our timing, but our hope is to share the transcripts sooner rather than later.
Once you see the transcripts, you'll be able to answer the riddle of who in the County most resembles Lil Wayne. Based on the evidence gathered so far, the case against the County seems to have substantial merit and is growing stronger.
Lawsuits cost money. The Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) is the organization that brought the suit, and yesterday, they put out a press release which included a request for help in funding the lawsuit.
Below is the CAPR press release, and if you are interested in getting to the bottom of the secret meetings and their affect on the CAO process, please consider a donation.
Citizen’s Alliance for Property Rights,
San Juan Chapter, (CAPR) Lawsuit Update
On October 12, 2012 a lawsuit was filed against San Juan County for violations of Washington State’s Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”). The complaint alleges that “Individual Council members participated in three-person subcommittee meetings,” and they knew, or should have known, “that their actions were in violation of the OPMA.” Dennis Reynolds of the DDR Law firm is representing CAPR in this legal action.
The CAO/SMP Implementation Team or Committee included Council Members Lovel Pratt, Richard Fralick, and Patty Miller. The “Team” also included Jon Cain of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, planning staff, various consultants, DOE, and the County Administrator. During the 25 or more meetings of the Implementation Team, “ideas and policies are brought forward, discussed, narrowed and discarded and approaches are formulated.” (Gaylord memo 4/25/12). Decisions were made and action was taken.
Even though it was listed as part of the official CAO “public process,” the public was not allowed to attend these meetings. There was no public notice and no minutes were taken. The 3 Committee members reported back to the full Council with their recommendations.
The schedule to pass this CAO legislation before year’s end was hurried along by the Committee before two of their members left office (Lovel Pratt and Richard Fralick). The 3 Committee members Lovel Pratt, Richard Fralick, and Patty Miller, voted as a block for final passage of the five CAO Elements. (3 Council members can’t pass legislation, but in a body of 6 they can stop anything from passing with a tie vote).
CAPR believes that open and transparent government is the right of every citizen. We should not have to go to court to enforce it. Although the actions of the Council were not consistent with the law, it explains why public testimony was ignored, science was rejected, and people were only allowed limited time to speak before they were rudely cut off. The decisions had already been made in the backroom with staff and consultants calling the shots. In this case the people were treated disrespectfully and their concerns dismissed.
Eighty-five percent of the voters in San Juan County voted in favor of transparent government in the last election. It was so important that we added strict language to our Home Rule Charter to eliminate any confusion. It shouldn’t matter if the subject is the budget, solid waste, or the CAO, the County Council should not be allowed to ban the public and the press while discussing policy decisions in secret subcommittees. Transparency in government and fairness in the deliberation of ideas and policies is the goal of this lawsuit. We hope you will support our efforts.
Donations to the San Juan CAPR legal fund can be sent to P.O. Box 1866, Friday Harbor, WA.