Grand Jury says Mammoth Town Council went beyond Brown Act

monocourthouse2008Last year’s Mono Grand Jury received two citizen complaints that laid out accusations that the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the Town Council and staff “pursued a secret plan with Waste Connections Inc” to use money collected in trash bills to buy real property to expand the Solid Waste Transfer Station in the Industrial Park, including plans to build and operate a Materials Recovery Facility.” The Grand Jury found that the Town failed to discuss details with the public and did discuss details not allowed in closed session under the Brown Act.

The Jury notes that real property negotiations at the Industrial Park could have been discussed in closed session but that evidence indicated that the Town Council went much further into talks about solid waste issues, including a Materials Recovery Facility, and Mono County’s concerns.

The Jury found that last year, residents of the Trails had objected to the Materials Recovery Facility locating in the Industrial Park. The Jury noted that in the history of the issue, all discussions but one were in closed session. Although after the Trails’ objections, more went public and the Council announced that any further MRF plans would proceed publicly.

The Jury found that discussions that went beyond the price and terms for an expansion parcel “violated the Brown Act because they were, at best, only tangentially-related to the proposed transactions. They were and are the public’s business,” wrote the Jury. “They could have and should have been discussed in open Council meetings where the public could participate.”

The Jury recommends closed sessions of the Town Council should be recorded. Recordings should be kept for a period of at least three years. The Jury recommends more Brown Act training for the Council. The Jury recommends the Council actively foster the principle of open government and “always err on the side of public disclosure, participation and discussion.”

The Jury recommends that citizens concerned about possible Brown Act violations by the Town Council “may immediately contact the Mono County District Attorney for assistance.” The Jury says that the DA’s office has “assured the Grand Jury that it is prepared to investigate and resolve such matters expeditiously.”

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13 Responses to Grand Jury says Mammoth Town Council went beyond Brown Act

  1. Just Getting Worse September 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Wait and see what the new council is already doing with MLR. Already it’s A fixed Deck with all council members including Mayor are on it. Plus MLPTA Director is still collecting Measure R funds. I was told that Both R and U funds were being used against the real reasons and broke Many policies and basically ripped off the voters and Taxpayers for personal Welfares building running tracks out of town limits, funding The Smiths Salaries, and automatic 900000.00 to MLTPA Administration. Wake up Mammoth citizens. These people are far from being anyones friends. More like personal Agendas!!

    • Ken Warner September 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

      Just Getting Worse: I’ve been trying to wake up the electorate for 10 years. It just doesn’t work. You know the old story — try to teach a pig to sing doesn’t work and just pisses off the pig.

      I wrote letters opposing R and U and the Whitmore running track. It just makes people mad that you can’t see the Kings Clothes.

  2. Steve September 17, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    What a great legacy Woods and Eastman left…NOT! i feel sick every time I see Eastman around town acting all high and mighty. What frauds!

  3. A Citizen September 16, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Good news is the ones that were the buggiest offenders are no longer calling for all those “closed sessions” because they no longer are councilmen.

  4. Mark September 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    went beyond?

    Is this libtard language for ‘violated the Brown act’?

    • Benett Kessler September 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

      No name calling. The Jury did not state that the Council violated the Brown Act but indicated their behavior was out of line with it. Benett Kessler

    • Another citizen September 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      Yes, the report plainly says council violated the Brown Act.

      • Benett Kessler September 16, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

        I would agree, but the Jury does not make a formal accusation of that violation. Benett Kessler

        • Another Citizen September 17, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

          What would you call Finding No. 1? It says Council VIOLATED the Brown Act.

          • Benett Kessler September 17, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

            And our story said that and quoted the report. In the Grand Jury process there is something called an accusation. That didn’t happen. BK

          • A Citizen September 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

            As much as I would love to hear what goes on behind closed doors in closed session you would be delusional to think they would record it and hold onto it for three years!

            The Grand Jury can’t make an Indictment of an entire Council or require recordings, it can make a recommendation based on evidence to prosecute a crime to the DA.

            What you might want to ask yourself is who on the Council at that time is most likely to have behaved badly?

            Would a baker, a web designer, a realtor, a tree cutter or a lawyer have enough Moxie to skirt a Grand Jury investigation and avoid prosecution from his peers in the Judicial system?

            Who of the Council had to recuse himself because he represented the land owner in question?

            Behaving badly is no new behavior in Mammoth! One day the Grand Jury might actually have evidence. That’s an arraignment I will be at.

  5. Mark September 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    Resolve the matter? Arrest someone and send them to court.

    Typical Mammoth Lakes, some things never change. Glad I don’t spend a dime there anymore.

  6. Ken Warner September 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    “Naughty, naughty…”, said the Mono Grand Jury.


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