Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NM FOG to ignore APS public participation policy

The NM Foundation for Open Government is not happy with the secrecy in the settlement agreement between APS Supt Winston Brooks and taxpayers.  They are righteously not happy.

Capital Report and Rob Nikolewski report, link,

New Mexico Watchdog will file an Inspection of Public Records Act request to obtain details of Brooks’ resignation. NM FOG’s executive committee is meeting Tuesday to decide to file its own IPRA request. If the committee goes forward, New Mexico Watchdog and NMFOG will join forces and file together.
Why is NM FOG's executive committee meeting to decide whether to take a stand against the school board's unjustifiable secrecy in the Brooks settlement, but not deciding whether to take a stand against the same board's recently unanimously passed and manifestly unconstitutional limitation on public participation in public meetings?  They have known, link about the public participation policy issue for longer than there has been, an IPRA issue.

I defy any member of the NM FOG's executive committee to actually read what APS School Board Member Marty Esquivel and his Modrall lawyers wrote, link, and not conclude;
  • it is vague.  How does one exactly, “respect the fact that the speaker’s views may not be shared by all.” ?
  • the policy grants unlimited discretion by the board or committee meeting chairs find violations, eject speakers from the podium of public forum at APS school board meetings, and even prohibit that speaker's participation in future meetings, and that
  • the rules are without legal basis, in especially denying participation in public meetings, and that
  • Marty Esquivel and Modrall lawyers' effort to mislead interest holders into believing that the Open Meetings Act prohibits school board members from answering questions asked from the podium of a public forum is dishonest, and
  • that requiring groups of people with similar interests to combine their views for presentation by a single speaker is as indefensible as it is utterly preposterous.
One is an IPRA issue an the other an OMA issue, but both are manifestations of the same problem caused by the very same people.  Their conflation makes eminent sense.

It's what they call a twofer. So why will NM FOG pay attention
only to the one?

The only difference I can see, is one is clearly the brainchild of FOG heavy hitter Marty Esquivel, and the other is not.

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