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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/13/18

Aiding and Abetting the Killing of an Open Government

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"And I would have made millions if it hadn't been for you meddling kids."

- Villain caught by Mystery, Inc.

With multiple open investigations into alleged violations of the Brown Act, it is clear that the LAUSD School Board needs a refresher course on how this law works. According to LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin, the District's General Counsel, David Holmquist, "is always present when the board meets", so he should have been the one to raise a red-flag when the law was violated. Unfortunately, Holmquist seems ignorant of the requirement that "public agencies should err on the side of providing the public with more information, not less" and has declared that the vote did not have to be reported.

On June 5, the LAUSD went into closed session to consider renewing the contract of Holmquist. Before they did so, I took the opportunity to provide the following remarks during public comment:

"Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem...for years...the spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!"

Of course, that quote is from the current occupant of the White House who liked to use diversionary tactics to take our minds off one thing while he breaks the law in another way. Here is a second quote:

"One of the things that was really unfortunate with our search, and now it maybe starts to make sense, is these leaks"

That is from LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin. He went on to complain:

"What that [May 1] statement did...is potentially...show a violation of the law by Mr. Schmerelson"

What was the statement that Melvoin was complaining about?

"On April 20, by the slimmest majority possible, four members of the LAUSD Board of Education (Garcia, Melvoin, Vladovic, Rodriguez) voted to authorize negotiations for an employment contract with Mr. Austin Beutner as the General Superintendent of the District."

Was this statement a violation of the law? The Brown Act specifies exceptions to rules of non-disclosure after closed sessions. It states that an employee is permitted to express "an opinion concerning the propriety or legality of actions taken by a legislative body"

What else does the Brown Act say?

"The Brown Act contains detailed rules regarding what must be agendized and how, how action is to be taken, and what must be reported and how and when,"

That quote is from David Holmquist, the General Counsel for the District. That is what he told "Speak Up." So where was the actual violation? The Brown Act specifically says:

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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