While the TV viewing audience eagerly awaits the anticipated new season of hit television political drama House of Cards, it seems in Del Norte County, political landscape may be the real life script. The FPPC has now been given information via a complaint filed from Redding, to investigate a few Del Norte County Supervisors, and their meetings and procedures that can be viewed on the public Del Norte County YouTube Channel.
This news story under national press guidelines refrains from printing the allegations contained in the FPPC complaint, and is limited to facts raised in the complaint and seen on the Del Norte County YouTube Channel recording of the Supervisors meeting. The YouTube videos were brought forwards to FPPC for discussion after the most resent supervisor meeting 06/11/2019. In 03/27/2017 public see a Supervisor exerting their authority at time of 33:15 into the video, requesting constituents mic be turned off, interrupting their constitutional right to free speech, in public comments period. Minutes latter in the same video, chairman of the board of Supervisors doesn’t agree with the constituents right to free speech, and is seen again on the video interceding to shut off the mic. On both occurrences we see on the video Supervisors advised by the Del Norte County legal Counsel turn the mic back on and “let the person speak”.
Most recent as last week, video link Same supervisor, Chris Howard is seen talking over the chair Cowan at 1:22:17 to add Non-Agendized items, to the Supervisor meeting. Howard brings forward his own agenda on the video under the the pretense he can, in what he is seen describing as “a kind of catch all”. Again, the County legal council, Elizebeth Cable is seen on the video at 1:24:40 stopping Howard after he added his comments to the meeting. Howard is seen making reference to Ms Cable shaking her head in disagreement. Seeing this drama on the video raises a good question; Why was it necessary for Cable to stop Supervisor Howard? The Councils intercession is appropriate, in order to uphold Government Code section 54954.2. The code reads; [n]o action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.
To late for the government code book, under the circumstances seen on last weeks supervisor meeting video playback, Howard had already added his agenda by the action of bringing forwards what he wanted to say, prior to councils intercession. This is now for FPPC and other agencies to look at. Like Frank Underwood’s fictional act in House of Cards, throwing the Government code book out the window by ignoring code, and additionally the Chair of the board allowing the Supervisor to talk over her, is turning house of cards into a Non Fiction drama in Del Norte County.
A request for locals, farmers, or businesses in Del Norte County who feel they are being disadvantaged as a result of any political favoritism, or have experienced the suggestion of a Quid Pro Quo by any elected official are now being encouraged to come forwards anonymously with their information to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) with information in support of transparency in Government, and the fair political practices act. A tip off to the FPPC can be made anonymous at this FPPC link.