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Interpretations and Extrapolations…

Everything in life is open for interpretation and extrapolation….

In this post BCbythesea will address two such timely incidences …respectfully disagreed with….

First the Newsflash put out yesterday from the Times…

It was from the Editor but read more like something from Dr. Phil…with all that inference entails…

Unless BCbythesea and those who confidentially contacted this writer are not privy to some private discussions involving the Editor and the Restaurateur ….it was very disconcerting to “witness” a therapeutic session…no matter if it was done with the best of intentions…which made the entrepreneur seem on the edge of a breakdown…while giving LBTS a black eye with insinuating an out of control…crowd control… environment on Friday nights…

The contrary is the reality according to those in the know…and from personal experience…to suggest otherwise would need to be backed up with some data…from the BSO perhaps?

The BSO have in fact …as previously posted…been less of a presence since the election was decided 3 short months ago…

The Editor asserting that an emergency meeting can not be called for non- life threatening situations…apparently does not know the facts…just as the Town Administration and some commissioners were also in the dark last month…when Comm. Dodd wanted to call a meeting for a way to remedy the blunder made by the Town Clerk when canceling the second commission meeting in April… erroneously thinking it was a Jewish Holiday…( the time to observe would have been over by the originally scheduled meeting date)…

If the Editor checked with a faithful reporter of his …he would know that any 2 Commissioners can call for a meeting with only 6 hours notice…and with 2 in attendance that meeting could proceed… (even though they are not a quorum…)

Interpretation of “public safety” can be many things…

BCbythesea would put forth that the crowd that will come this evening …fully expecting to attend the usual Jazz night experience…after paying for parking…only to find nothing…could indeed constitute a meeting under the heading of “public safety”….and again…a meeting could be called for any reason …as long as 2 commissioners have called for it…

BCbythesea has heard that more than 2 Commissioners inquired for just that…so this begs some answers of who in in charge of who…commissioners…or Administration?

This first issue…

the Town should have tried to find a way to see what it could do… for the event to continue on….even if it needed to be pared down to no outside bars….. instead of essentially closing the door…

The Editor of the Times…should report if he was in receipt of some crowd control facts…that BCbythesea and faithful readers are unaware of…. to set the record straight…

Second issue…

The Town Attorney’s advice on one-way communication and sunshine law…

as many readers are aware…BCbythesea has been on top of this …in several previous posts…

Here’s the latest…

The Town Attorney has replied to a commissioner’s request to clarify this most confusing assertion of what is allowable under sunshine law and the interpretation of the Attorney General’s opinion…

Mr Abbott has stated that his opinion on one-way written communication includes extrapolating that opinion to include one-way verbal communication… he relays that the opinion on the written communication does not constitute a “meeting”…and that sunshine law does not distinguish between written and verbal “meetings”…therefor…he extrapolates that there would be no logical basis to conclude that one-way verbal communication constitutes a government “meeting”…

(Bcbythesea will add that Mr Abbott does state in his reply… that at the Sunshine Workshop he indicated he would not recommend one-way verbal communication..without providing notice pursuant to sunshine law…this caveat is not recalled …or written in notes from that workshop…and will need to be checked on the tape…to verify….)

At the risk of sounding very much like an admired friend…

I am not an attorney….

but..I have read the Attorney General opinion provided by Mr Abbott…it is from 1989…Attorney General Bob Butterworth…

(1989 Fla. op Atty. Gen. 59, Fla. AGO 89-23, 1989 WL 431616 (Fla.A.G.))

A brief overview…full text could be found online…

In 1989 the Attorney General sent a response to the City Attorney of St. Augustine who had submitted the following question ….

May a written report prepared by a city commissioner which is to be the basis of discussion at a public meeting and furnish it to the city manager for distribution to the other city commissioners without violating s.286.011,F.S. Florida’s sunshine law?

The opinion…

The use of a written report by one commissioner to inform other commissioners of a subject which will be discussed at a public meeting does not violate Florida’s Government in the sunshine law if prior to the public meeting, there is no interaction related to the report among the commissioners.

Here is where the interpretation and extrapolation get murky….

He goes on to write…

You indicate St. Augustine has a commission form of government in which each commissioner is assigned areas of responsibility to monitor. It is advantageous for any reports generated by a commissioner’s monitoring responsibility to be furnished to the other commissioners prior to the public meeting at which it will be discussed.

The original report is kept on file by the city manager and is made available for public inspection.

A commissioner receiving the report makes no response to the commissioner who prepared the report ot to the other commissioners, except at the public meeting.

BCbythesea…interprets this to mean that ” business as usual” is the safe way to deal with one-way communication…

meaning that a commissioner would send any correspondence to the Town Manager …who would then disperse it to the other commissioners…with a note of no response to their fellow members…and a copy that would be available to the public if asked for…

A far cry from the opinion that direct ..one-way communication could take place whether written or verbal if prefaced by “no response”…

BCbythesea is very concerned about this advice coming from out new Town Attorney…and barring that an additional indication from Mr Abbott is indeed shown on the workshop tape…with his stated recommendation …not to entertain this one-way communication….all commissioners should be highly concerned as well .

Updates on both topics will be posted….

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