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Morgan Hill
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November 29, 2023

A few Grinch gripes; let’s clearly understand what the Brown Act says

Well, I was going to write a Grinch column and complain about all the pins and fasteners in men’s dress shirts, the cyclists wearing invisible king’s crowns who ride three and four abreast in the roadway and sneer if you honk after waiting for a couple of minutes, or those who fumble at the grocery checkout counter pulling out one coin at a time to get the exact change while six people are in line … but enough, I’m not really in the mood and that’s a good thing.
Think this would be a good thing, but it probably will never happen. What if all the fitness centers in Morgan Hill got together and offered a gym “Total Pass”? If you purchased a total pass, you could visit any gym, go to any class from zumba to meditative exercise, not get bored at one place and have that convenience factor added to your life.
Ah, life … have always liked the Jewish toast “L’Chayim” literally “to life” in Hebrew. It’s a good one from the holidays and has more substance than the vanilla variety, “Cheers!”
No “Cheers” for no rain in sight. It’s getting a little freaky.
It’s still freaky when I think about how “they” sold us on passing the state lottery initiative many years ago. “The schools will never need another dime,” was the pitch. The Times opposed it. The schools need more dimes than ever before it seems, but hey someone who bought a mega lotto ticket from Jenny’s Gift Shop on Tully Road in San Jose will win $324 million. That’s $173.8 million after taxes. Maybe we should have passed a law that says all the tax money from any lottery win over $100,000 goes to the schools. Or we could make the lotto even more “sexy” and put that tax money into a lottery drawing between school districts. Winning district for that week gets to keep all “tax lotto” cash.
There ought to be a cash fine for elected officials who publicly butcher California’s Brown Act, misquoting it and demonstrating a clear lack of understanding of the law that governs open meetings. Morgan Hill Unified School District Trustee Don Moody would have to pay a heavy fine for his comments at Tuesday’s Board meeting. This staff-introduced proposal is really the latest salvo in the all-out war to kill off the two charter school proposals from Navigator and Rocketship. The proposal reads: “Board members will not communicate electronically during meetings with members of the public, other board members, or school district staff regarding official school board business, agenda items, or other board matters that are properly discussed publicly during board meetings.” Trustee Amy Porter Jensen asked why the bylaw was being introduced and if any trustees were being accused of doing such things. President Moody, without naming anyone, said that it was happening: “There’s board members that have done it. There’s board members that have texted people in the audience (and) had conversations back and forth. I don’t feel it’s appropriate. It’s a violation of the Brown Act.” No, it’s not. It would be a violation of the Brown Act if trustees were secretly communicating about their votes by passing notes back and forth or sending serial emails to each other about agenda items or talking in closed session about the public’s business without citing a specific exemption within the Brown Act. The most distasteful part of this is that it’s apparently aimed at Rick Badillo, the lone supporter of the charter school proposals who apparently is being considered insolent and out of line for not towing the district’s party line. With four school trustee positions up for grabs, November’s election should be most interesting.
Interesting that it’s the thing to publish an Amazon Kindle ebook, and our wonderful outdoor columnist, Ron Erskine, has done just that. “Measureless Mountain Days: A Father and Son on the John Muir Trail” is in journal style recounting a three-week trip Ron took with his son Drew on the 221-mile John Muir Trail 10 years ago. Writes Ron,“Drew came along very reluctantly, it rained and/or hailed almost every day and key equipment failed, so there was plenty to spice up the situation. It was the worst and the best. Certainly, a most special and important time in my life.” It’s experiences like that which lead to insight.
Within sight is the Machado School Heritage Society’s 11th Annual “Caroling by Candlelight” event. Thanks to Jan Strahan for the heads up … it just sounds so wonderfully Christmasy. Carols will be led by Karen Crane in the schoolyard at 15130 Sycamore Dr. on Sunday, Dec. 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Daughter Mariah, a choir member in high school and at Oregon State, is game and I’m thinking it would be a super outing for grandchildren Jackson and Tyler … then we could drive to the Christmas light show at 15475 Calle Enrique and dazzle the youngsters with Christmas cheer – a computer controlled light show synced to music on 89.9 FM. Don’t forget to place a food item for the Second Harvest Food Bank in the barrel in front of the Angels. Ho, ho, ho … and away we go.
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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