Don’t Defend the Indefensible
Dear Supervisor Mark Lovelace,
I am distressed tonight to learn that Humboldt County, at significant expense, intends to “defend” a lawsuit challenging the “urgency ordinance”, (possibly 1 of many lawsuits to come) passed by the board [earlier this] year. I expect that this ordinance was drafted in haste, in violation of our “due process” requirements (Brown Act, State Constitution, Federal Constitution). The 1st, (or 2nd) lawsuit is now before the county, even as the county contemplates a replacement ordinance.
There is no current “Occupy Eureka” demonstration, and all of any defense’s considerable costs can be completely avoided simply by terminating the “urgency ordinance” while moving forward with a new ordinance that fully benefits from citizen participation.
I am curious why the BOS, having accomplished the apparent goal (removing “Occupy Eureka”), does not simply take the responsible route (declare victory), and void the “urgency ordinance” as the suit simply requests.This would save the county the legal costs of defending a rather hastily conceived, constitutionally questionable, currently unnecessary ordinance… simultaneously demonstrating, tolerance, wisdom, financial pragmatism, and the BOS’s respect for all citizen’s civil rights defending our input into an ordinance reducing our access to local government. Many jurisdictions over reacted to “occupy” sit-ins, not all jurisdictions were successfully tricked into passing and then defending new laws reducing our fundamental rights to be seen, heard, and bring questions … before our supervisors at the courthouse in Eureka.
I understand this ordinance was drafted and prepared by the county’s professional (non elected) administration. The BOS is responsible, ultimately for requesting and approving the county administrators choices however. Do not the other supervisors also value citizen participation in a democratic process supporting citizens using long established, locally traditional forums for political actions (day or night) at the “courthouse” as much you apparently do? In Humboldt county this is also the supervisors’ offices, where should we go? Should this not be discussed in the public arena and approved by all? I’m shocked that any supervisor would vote not to listen to constituents….
Having served its purpose it’s time for the other supervisors to join you in abandoning this ill-conceived ordinance, and save the county some money.
Thank you for your “NO” vote. Don’t let the BOS literally make a “Federal Case” over this… Many citizens did not want the ordinance, and more don’t want to pay to defend a hastily enacted ordinance that is now an additional limitation to communicating with or demonstrating against future BOS actions.
If the county loses this in court, we all are then also responsible for costs of both sides generally. This is a no win situation for Humboldt County residents, and is of very dubious value to us. I do not support the county expanding this ridiculous ordinance to apply to all eighty or so county managed properties. This proposal, at least, is under discussion.