Letter sent to our local fish wrap protesting the continual misstatements of facts and printing of rumours. This started a range war between the Dumbplumber and the newspaper editor AKA: Man from ARSE
I continue to wait for the latest shoe to drop in the ongoing saga of the Fall River Mills Community Services District. And it cannot go un-noticed that no matter what they do, the District Board of Directors seem to be continually accused of being in violation of The Brown Act. Like somehow the Brown Act is the Holy Grail of Public Service, guardian of all that is necessary to protect the citizenry.
Meanwhile, over $250,000 evaporated under the watch of the local newspapers over the last ten years. Most of it was a result of violations of the Brown Act in previous administrations. But I don’t recall THOSE headlines.
It cannot go unmentioned that our current CSD Directors have lives, beyond the CSD, and obligations that prevent them from being scholars of the Brown Act, and who serve, without compensation, just like previous Boards. What sets them apart from other Boards is that these directors serve for the BENEFIT of the District. They have chosen to sacrifice a considerable amount of their time serving this community, when few others care to show up for meetings, except when their water bills get too high.
The question here is, whose interest here is being served with the ongoing criticism over the Brown Act? The best interest of a community whose CSD was in peril, with a few hundred dollars in the bank just 2 years ago and near financial collapse, because a previous manager was squandering money, right under the nose of the local press, in violation of the Brown Act?
Or a Press who is more interested in creating controversy out of whole cloth in order to sell papers. A Press who uncritically and without verification of facts, simply parrots rumor and innuendo.
I would submit there should be a similar binding Brown Act for the Fourth Estate. Like the Accuracy in Reporting, Spelling and Enlightenment Act or ARSE. Nevermind that many stories over the last 2 years contained provable falsehoods, fabrications and outright character assassination, in what can only be described as reporting at its worst.
You see, while hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear more Editorial complaints about the Board’s efforts to secure sound fiscal footing going forward, I don’t recall a printed peep about illegal pay raises and outrageous benefit packages, failure to comply with State reporting or even failure of past management to comply with Grand Jury recommendations and CPA warnings of lack of “internal controls” on spending……for the previous 10 years.
And it can’t go un-noticed the lack of reporting about the facts that OUR District now has the liability of paying 100% of unemployment insurance to previous employees out of cash flow, to the tune of thousands of dollars, because previous managers failed to inform the Board of the lack of unemployment insurance coverage: and failed to make SDI payments from District payroll, which is a violation of State Law.
I don’t seem to recall THAT being a headline in the local papers, that is until new Board members pushed for a forensic audit which unearthed irregularities that were being performed right under the nose of attending reporters, who (not withstanding the Brown Act) had every opportunity to review District finances under the Public Records Act.
Apparently, the Press also failed to report that there were several violations of Prop 218, by illegally raising rates in the District without due process. Instead the Press makes sensational headlines about harried Board members handling mundane administrative duties expeditiously over the phone instead of declaring notice of a special meeting and rearranging schedules in accommodation and delaying the execution of vital business.
But thanks to the crack reporting of local papers, a lot of things were going on at ratepayer’s and taxpayer’s expense which obviously wasn’t contained in the Brown Act and was far more damaging than failing to post notice of a ‘closed’ session 72 hours before a meeting, or expediting prudent solutions by phone.
No my friends, “sinning by silence, when they should protest, DOES make cowards of men“. But constantly criticizing those who had the fortitude and courage to confront the corruption and mismanagement and turn the District around, is wearing thin. Better that you should reserve your protests for those that brought this District to its knees.