Transparency Lost in Monterey
The Brown Act of California’s Government Code sets forth the gold standard by which Transparency is imposed upon all government bodies:
54950. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. (emphasis supplied)
Transparency at Monterey City Hall has suffered a serious setback in the last two years as a result of a policy instituted by Clyde Roberson to make decisions in closed session which are never announced to the public. Those actions may be within the letter of the law (Govt. Code sect. 54957.1), but clearly violate the spirit and intent of the Brown Act.
On July 18, 2017, the City Council – in closed session – granted an unnecessary 20-year lease extension to the Old Fisherman’s Grotto at a rental rate less than half of Fair Market Rent. In doing so, the Council ignored well established fair market value for this Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant and gave a subsidy of an estimated 5 to 14 million dollars or more of taxpayer revenue to the Shake family. This action violated the California Constitution, the City Charter, and common sense. Mayor Clyde Roberson signed the extension on November 4, 2017 but the City has yet to disclose this action. It has only come to light as a result of a Public Records Request.