We've all done it.
Sent the wrong Zoom link to the crew. Had a technical glitch in our video-streaming giddyup because a password didn't work. Heard Grandpa Joe's voice come out of a black hole because he's incapable of figuring out how to turn his computer's camera on. Watched Brenda stuck with her mouth open because her internet sucks. Tim do the pixelated robot because same.
Let's face it: We are all experts on virtual meeting screw-ups now. But whether you wear pants or not on a work video call is your business.
Whether a community services district includes the wrong Zoom link in an agenda packet is the public's business—and the San Simeon Community Services District (CSD) just got spanked by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office.
It's not so much that they just put the wrong link out to the public. It's that after realizing their mistake, supposedly because a cohort of meeting gadflies weren't champing at the bit for their turn in the yellow box, the district's board of directors just continued right along with the meeting.
Perhaps they figured nobody would care. It's just a little meeting in a little town about a little emergency known as COVID-19. Plus, you know, they were voting to give people a break on late payments of utilities. Who is going to argue with that? Who?
Well, somebody cared enough to report it to the District Attorney's Office, which investigated the issue and sent a "cure and correct" letter to the CSD.
"The record of the meeting indicates at least some knew of the issue before the meeting started. Yet the staff failed to take steps to correct the error before the start. No effort was made to update the notice, post the correct information on the website, or even delay the special meeting," a letter from the DA's Office told the CSD.
Ooh. That doesn't sound good. See, the thing with public meetings is that they are all about public access. And if the public can't access the meeting and you knew they couldn't access the meeting, then that's a purposeful Brown Act violation. So sounds like a pretty open-and-shut case to me.
But San Simeon CSD Vice Chair Gwen Kellas thinks the DA's Office is being unfair! And it's this one dude's fault—this one dude who is a "pain in the butt citizen," she told New Times. He didn't like the emergency ordinance, so he was pissed that it passed, and he retaliated against the district, according to Kellas, by reporting what I'm going to go ahead a call a "slam dunk" Brown Act violation to the DA's Office.
"And the DA took it without ever contacting the board or staff or anybody," Kellas said.
"We've had numerous people walk in and thank us because they really appreciated what we were doing, except for that one person. That one person that does not pay a water bill or wastewater bill, his nose's out of joint because he doesn't come under the resolution."
Geez. He does sound like a pain in the ass! Kind of like a couple of other disgruntled public meeting regulars I can think of. And I won't even say their names because I know they're going to whine to CalCoastNews about it and publish some anti-New Times screed to make themselves feel better. But, hey, whatever helps people sleep at night.
Citizens with an ax to grind are absolutely going to call you on it if they catch you doing wrong!
So why would you knowingly screw up? As a public official, you are accountable to the citizens. It's not the other way around—no matter what our Bleach Injector In Chief says during his daily COVID-19 shitshows.
SLO County had its own one of those during the last weekend in April, no orange con man needed—although maybe he was the inspiration for Central Valley beachcombers who lined up in Pismo Beach to get a taste of that Splash Café clam chowder during quarantine. Nothing like being stuck at home during a pandemic to make you want to stand next to a bunch of randos on the street and eat hot soup on an 90-degree day.
Sounds downright American!
It's as if the county put a siren's call out to all of the nonbelievers when it asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow the counties that have done everything right to stem the COVID-19 tide to reopen. We're so amazing we made national news, and people flocked here from out of town. San Deigans showed up to Santa Margarita Lake, Monterey County sun-worshippers popped on over to Lopez Lake.
Our beaches were packed with the kinds of people who are probably also protesting the "authoritarian" government for forcing us to shelter at home during a pandemic hoax even though more than 60,000 Americans have died from the virus. These guys are "standing up for America" to get the virus if they want to! It's a free country!
Apparently, Morro Bay is dunzo with the free-dumb show. The city is threatening to fine vacation rentals $1,000 if guests from out of town are staying under their roofs.
Stay home America. Δ
The Shredder wants the clam chowder and beaches to stay open to SLO County. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.