Dear Mayor Espinosa,
We, the Community Cooperation Team, would like the Working Group on Vehicle Habitation to be open to the public, to provide for comment by the public, and for the press to be invited. We request that you include these provisions for the work of the Working Group.
We have asked Curtis [Williams] about this and learned that since this is a Working Group and the Task Force features–open to public, including comment, and open to the press–do not apply.
We understand that but still feel strongly that these features of the transparency and inclusion of the Brown Act should be included in this important work. People want to know about this issue, they want to have input, and they want all the proceedings to be available to the public.
We look forward to your response.
Thank you again for our meeting with you in September.
Community Cooperation Team
Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Thank you for the Community Cooperation Team’s continued participation and leadership in identifying solutions to the vehicle habitation issue. As you may know, I am an advocate for transparency in government and open public meetings so I welcome your email and suggestions.
That said, not every meeting held by staff can or should be public. In general, thankfully, Palo Alto has a policy of transparency for our meetings. On this policy issue, the City Council asked staff to conduct outreach in order to gather information and ideas before returning to the council.
The Director of Planning and Community Environment Curtis Williams has been leading this work and he has already held one public community meeting with another planned for the near future. Moreover, when this issue returns to the council, all of the related meetings and votes will be open to the public.
The City Council also asked that Director Williams convene an informal working group to gather ideas. As you have noted, an informal working group is different than a formal task force where Brown Act rules apply.
There is a significant difference in the staff time and resources needed for these different bodies. I am confident that Director. Williams and his staff will continue to gather ideas informally from the working group and share those ideas publicly in the community meetings and, again, eventually in a very public way with the entire council. Everyone wants this issue to be fully discussed in public with broad community participation.
Thank you again for your help on this important issue.
— SID ESPINOSA
Mayor, City of Palo Alto
250 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto , CA 94301
(650) 617-3100 x3619
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PaloLeaky Document Reveals Brown Act Conflict Between Mayor and Council Member Nancy Shepherd
This process has been pulled from the Council agenda so that the Council subcommittee of Policy and Services can evaluate proposed policy. It will be publicly noticed and follow the Brown Act as the 4 member committee evaluates the staff proposal. This will create a more informal and open process prior to a City Council meeting.
Palo Alto Council Member