CEAV Accuses Cal Expo of Bagley-Keene Act Violations

-Presentation to Cal Expo Board Truncated by Chair; Rex Hime Lies About Arrangments; City and Kamilos heavy-weights show up….

– Contempt for Public Role and Process Demonstrated By Cal Expo Board At Same Meeting Charges Leveled. Board’s Behavior Makes CEAV’s Case.

–  California Deputy Attorney General Attempts To Cover For Cal Expo’s Misdeeds and Bagley-Keene Act Abuse.

Read text of CEAV Speech to Cal Expo Board Here!

One doesn’t really have to research material on how the Board of Directors at Cal Expo, a premier case of corrupt and incompetent government, that violates the public interest and fundamental principles of conduct in running a public agency. You only need to attend one of its board meetings and witness for yourself how it operates to know that it can’t help violating the spirit of the Bagley-Keene Act. It doesn’t know how to do otherwise.

Even before The CEAV Project was to speak on open processes, public participation and California’s Bagley-Keene Act (California’s ‘Sunshine Law’), the members of the Cal Expo Board were knee-deep into subjects concerning support of staff activities to review the financial aspects of the Kamilos land-swap and evaluate the plan in terms of its “veracity” and “feasibility; to explore the suitability of the Arco arena site as a new Cal Expo location; and, to consider the location at the present, state-owned Cal Expo site in terms of “selling, renting or leasing” it to finance Cal Expo operations and future development. Matters that will significantly influence future decisions.

Later in the day, There would be actual motions to use Cal Expo funds to pay for these analysis (with unanimous or near unanimous approval) ; suggestions to use the two ex-officio Board members from the State Legislature (Steinberg and Jones) to “influence the Legislature” to loan Cal Expo the money to pay for these preliminary ‘investigations’; plans to conduct interim conversations with the city, developer Kamilos, members of the Board’s secret ‘Real Estate Committee, some “evaluation consultant” and similar back-room engagements to which the public is not invited and has little information about.

When CEAV made a comment that CEAV had never seen or heard about the “consultant letter” to which the Board referred, or the “Committee Reports” where this important steps were being planned in conjunction with staff, one Board member responded by stating that “I don’t have very good computer skills…but I was able to find these documents” (as if the documents she referred to had any bearing on the matter).

Let’s look at the document most germane to the actions the Board was to take later in the afternoon, the “Operations & Planning Committee”.  Understand, this is a committee of the Cal Expo Board that is entirely new to Cal Expo’s ‘development planning’ activities, having been mentioned in public for the first time at the previous meeting, and then only in a passing remark.  In any case, that important report, upon which the ball would start rolling on the ‘Kamilos First’ arena/Cal Expo/NBA plan, was supposed to have been dealt with in a previous meeting of the Committee. Which meeting? Well, the best CEAV can determine, it was a meeting that took place the morning of the same day as this Board meeting.  Hardly time for the public to consider its activities and offer any thoughtful comment on its intentions.  More to the point,  take a look at the Agenda for that meeting, which is what the public uses to gauge whether anything of interest or significance is happening in a committee of the Board:


UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1. Update on the Operations of the Monorail System.

NEW BUSINESS

1. Review staff memorandum on Andy Plescia’s Development Plan Alternatives Analysis Process And Schedule (NB 1-8)

MATTERS OF INFORMATION

1. Staff Reports (OP 1-2)

ADJOURNMENT

That’s it. The ‘Operations and Planning Committee’ Agenda for March 26, 2010. The attachments (NB 1-8 and OP 1-2) are not included with the Committee’s agenda and do not appear in any reasonable location on the Cal Expo website that CEAV could find.   The items on the agenda did not appear to raise any immediate issues that CEAV needed to attend.  Item 1. in ‘NEW BUSINESS’ does  seem related to our interests, but nothing that might not have waited until we had a chance to examine the related documents and respond in an informed way.   In normal practice, the report would be presented to the Board and it might have discussed some of its content and then decided there were things that required its action and would place them on the following month’s agenda.  There would be time for the public to see those materials, consider if it wished to make a response, and then had time to prepare its remarks and  had them placed on the Board’s agenda as well. It was, after all “New Business” which is generally sequestered from any actions or enabling motions until subsequent review and comment.

In contrast, this mysterious ‘Operations and Planning’ agenda item was reported to the full Board a few hours later along with two motions to initiate staff actions that would exclusively explore and advance the single-source proposal and some other potentials  (“leasing, selling or renting” Cal Expo’s current property to private interest) which Cal Expo is now considering and i for which it is expending staff time and money to frame the matter in a way that excludes other possibilities.  This is precisely what the text of CEAV’s remarks to the Board had observed were happening in its processes and predicted would continue to happen (see speech text).

As a final thought on the matter of Today’s Cal Expo Board meeting, the words of the Board Chairman, Gilbert Albiani,  seem to summarize the entire matter much better than anything we might say.  After the Chair interrupted the CEAV speaker and informed them that there (much abbreviated) five-minutes were up, Mr. Albiani provide this illuminating insight:  “You Know, Mr. Slider, ” he said, “The Board is very aware of these matters [public process, open meetings, etc….)  We all had to go to a training session where the Bagley-Keene Act and these things were explained to us.  We know all about this,”  he said, waving the text of our speech in the air.

We suppose you do, Mr. Albiani. We suppose you do.

(ps from CEAV:  Tony Bizjak, the reporter from the Sacramento Bee who covers the Cal Expo/Arena stories was also at the meeting. After it was over, he passed by and we introduced ourselves to him.  We’ve had a number of communications with Mr. Bizjak over the past years and he ackowleged our greeting. However, he didn’t ask us a single question or seem interested in hearing any viewpoints on these matters from the public or organizations outside the official agenda.  So we didn’t offer one as he rushed off to interview some Cal Expo consultant.  It will be interesting to read his version of events in tomorrow’s Sacramento Bee.

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