Monterey Park Considers Adding Emails, Texts to Brown Act Disclosures

This just came in over the transom, and I find it an interesting meditation: 

Monterey Park Considers Adding Emails, Texts to Brown Act Disclosures

I will quote from the article:

 

The Monterey Park City Council is considering crafting a policy to regulate the use of electronic communications, such as text messages, email and the Internet during council meetings.

The policy would describe what forms of communication are appropriate, as well as what information should be made available in accordance with public disclosure requirements.

Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian raised the issue during the July 3 council meeting. She said she decided to bring the matter to the council after reading about the issue and its relation to the Brown Act, California legislation that guarantees that meetings held by legislative bodies are open to the public. It also requires that actions by those bodies must not be done in secret.

Many of the technologies available today to communicate were not around when the Brown the Act was passed in 1953, the mayor noted. She asked the council to consider developing a policy defining how electronics devises, such as cell phones and computers can be used during council meetings, especially when it pertains to agenda items.
“After all, as elected members we are engaging in a public meeting and it must be open,” she said, insinuating that electronic devices might be used to convey information and messages without the public knowing during what are supposed to be public meetings.

Real Sebastian said residents have alleged that council members secretly communicate with members of the public during meetings via text messages, a violation of the Brown Act.
“I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if it is, we need to address it as soon as possible,” she said.

See everyone in September for the next meeting!

 

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