Friday, August 10, 2012

What is a Consent Agenda?

Who are those five  monkeys who
could care less about the voters?
   The Sierra Sentinel understands the importance of an informed constituency, so today we want to explain what a Consent Agenda is.
    The Brown Act of California requires your governmental meetings to prepare agendas that are clear, so that the public can attend and speak at the meetings about things they are concerned with.
    It is very important that voters participate in the political process, and Board of Supervisor meetings tend to be very long, especially since they only meet twice a month now.
   Public comment is required by law on each item on the Regular Agenda, therefore items that they consider "non-controversial" are placed on a "Consent Agenda".
   They are listed separately, as is required by the "Brown Act", but the are all passed at one time with one motion unless someone pulls an item intentionally because they feel it should be discussed.
    The Board says this is to save time on items that the public has no interest in, but lately this has changed quite a bit.

    For example, next Tuesday at the August 14, 2012 Board of Supervisor's meeting there are 28 items on the Consent Agenda.
    When we e-mailed Gary Tofanelli regarding certain issues seeming very controversial, he brushed us off and said if someone believes it is controversial, can pull it.
   This confirmed our suspicions that they are definitely attempting to push items and issues through to avoid public criticism or questions before the November runoff elections.
   For example, on June 26, 2012 an item regarding security and a contract at the Lake Tulloch Resort was on the Consent Agenda. This was for multiple "bump" events, such as the one last month that resulted in multiple arrests and injuries, and one next weekend. This is a very controversial subject in Copperopolis!
    A Conditional Use Permit is required for such large events, but the Board does not require one. They enforce some laws and not others at their will.
    Now next Tuesday, August 14, 2012 the issue of AB1221, the bill that bans hounds hunting bear, was put on the Consent Agenda.

     This is the one where Melinda Hoff and Joe Duncan made comments that they want the Board of Supervisors to write a letter AGAINST the bill that would ban hounds hunting bear in California. So they put it on the Consent Agenda to approve a letter against AB 1221. Which Supervisor requested this?
   The Humane Society of the United States backs this bill, saying it is terrible cruelty to hunt bear using hounds, and we know that is controversial; a letter against the bill just for the hunters who want to hunt bear this way.
    What this means is that they are just throwing everything they can into the Consent Agenda that they can get away with.
     We wrote to Tofanelli that as chair, he has a responsibility; whether its about cancelling half of their meetings, but keeping their full pay, or stifling public comments during board meetings, or trying to get away with passing things by not putting them on the regular agenda; a responsibility to be honorable and respect the voters.  We got no response from him.
   28 items on the Consent Agenda.  That is corruption, and flagrant violation of the Public Trust in our opinion!
   And this is basically to help the incumbents who are having runoffs in November have less controversy at their meetings, isn't it, Mr. Chair?


Anonymous said...

thank you, sierra sentinel. i always wondered. i don't think the elected officials in calaveras county want us to understand how the government works. just look at how much scandal, and lawsuits in the past few years.

Anonymous said...

maybe if we refuse to re-elect the incumbents, they'll get the message.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we paid attention we would not be here at all. Apathy is what got us here and apathy will keep us here. We need to start being leaders, not followers.