OPEN MEETINGS — A Brown Act demand for correction from Richard McKee, president emeritus of Californians Aware, prompted the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to fold a controversial committee dealing with access to Klondike Lake rather than open it up to public attendance, reports Benett Kessler for Sierra Wave.
McKee of CalAware had sent the supervisors a letter to demand
that they hold Klondike Lake Subcommittee meetings in the open.
Meetings had been closed to the public. Instead of declaring future
meetings open to the public, the Board abolished the committee
altogether along with their responsibility to help the public gain
access to the lake.
Supervisors Susan Cash and Marty Fortney
made up what County Counsel Randy Keller called an ad hoc committee on
Klondike. They met with DWP and members of the public over access to
the lake. DWP had shut off most access, they said, out of fear of
invasion by the Quagga Mussel.
Citizens pointed to Klondike Lake
as a stated mitigation measure in the Long Term Water Agreement between
Inyo and DWP. The supervisors made it clear they will not press that
County Counsel Keller gave them an out. He said that water skiing itself is not the mitigation measure, even though past documents
specifically name water skiing. "The county has no jurisdiction over
the lake," stated Keller. He also said, "I don't think there has been
a violation of the Brown Act."
Supervisor Cash seemed less
convinced and called the ongoing subcommittee "a distraction form
solving the issue." She said if citizens are concerned, they can
address the water agreement issue to the Inyo-LA Technical Group and
Standing Committee. Asked why she didn't just open the subcommittee
meetings to the public, Cash said it would be too expensive to pay for
notices and minutes under the Brown Act.
Fortney said he thinks the Quagga Mussel issue should be addressed
regionally. Fortney said he supports more access to Klondike. "What's
next?" questioned Fortney. "Will DWP want to shut down the river?"
Fortney said he didn't want to face a misdemeanor charge under the
Brown Act by continuing the subcommittee meetings on Klondike. He too
failed to consider opening the meetings to the public.
The Board voted unanimously to discontinue the Klondike Committee. The public – now on their own with Klondike.