Monday, October 15, 2012

A little more sunshine...

Recently, BCS has taken umbrage to my publication of the deposition of one of their board members.  Now, keep in mind that a deposition is sworn testimony- it is the same as someone sitting on the witness stand in open court.  I made a conscious choice to publish the entire transcript, rather than cherry-pick inflamitory pieces.  Nevertheless, when I arrived at the BCS board meeting last week, BCS Board member Janet Medlin felt the need to criticize me for publishing the deposition. 

BCS often reminds LASD that they are a "public school".  Yet, when it comes to behaving like a public institution, some members of their organization seem to struggle with the concepts.  Their recent Board meeting was an excellent example.  Members of the public have complained that deliberations at BCS Board meeting are impossible to hear.  This concerns me quite a bit, since they are debating topics that are crucial to our community.  I decided I would take the drastic step of investing in professional sound equipment, so that I could record their meetings.  Last Monday, I arrived well before the meeting began and was setting up my equipment to record.  As BCS Board members arrived, a couple of them went out of their way to criticize my use of the recording equipment.  One board member refered to it as "intimidation". She complained about the "palace" where we hold the LASD Board meetings (a 1940 sq ft portable located next ot a garage on the Covington site.)   Another board member complained about the placement of small, unobtrusive microphones.  (Link to the description of the mics)  I'm pleased to say that despite having to stash these small microphones under chairs, the recording worked just fine.

I do want to acknowledge that some members of the BCS Board understood the public's interest, and spoke louder and more clearly to ensure we could hear the discussion. On a couple of ocasions, one board member actually paused his colleagues and asked them to repeat comments that were made. If we want to improve relations, it is important that everyone has the same information about plans and intentions.

Still, I fnd these complaints more than a bit ironic.  Section 54953.5 (a) of the Brown Act specifically calls out that members of the public are permitted to record any public meeting.  Further, the complains are more than a bit hypocritical, esp considering that BCS founders video-taped a whole series of LASD Board meetings when they were starting up the charter school.

So, what came out of this meeting?  I'll put that in another post, along with the recording.  In the meantime, the sunshine is a good thing.