Dear Board of Supervisors,
I write regarding this Item on Tuesday's
RECOMMENDATION: That the Board of Supervisors
receive a report from staff on feedback gathered from various stakeholder groups
regarding an ordinance on appropriate use of County properties; and provide
additional direction to staff as may be warranted.
I have attached
the board report, bosagendaitem June 19.pdf.
Not mentioned in the report
is that David Kahn, of Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP has filed the Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to
Plaintiff Janelle Egger's Motion for Preliminary Injunction
response was authorized by the Board of in closed session on June 5th.
The motion asked the Court to enjoin the County, the District Attorney,
Sheriff Downey and Interim Eureka Police Chief Murl Harpham, their agents and
employees from enforcing the ordinance, instituting or continuing legal
proceedings related to arrests under the ordinance, or enacting a countywide
ordinance until a final court ruling in the case. The hearing on the motion is
set for July 6th.
The lawsuit, among other things, asks the court to
declare the ordinance unconstitutional or invalidating those portions that
restrict First Amendment rights and to monitor the planned enactment of a
countywide ordinance. I filed the lawsuit because I felt the County had erred
and thought it best to clear the slate and begin with an understanding of the
rights and responsibilities of the County. It is a legal question, and the
answer is necessary to provide guidance during any political discussion of
regulation of county property that could impact First Amendment rights.
Mr. Smith-Hanes' board report (at p. 4) contains information on the past
Financial Impact of the potential ordinance in terms of his time. It does not
include information on the cost of drafting the current ordinance, the potential
costs of defending the constitutional challenge and/or amending the current
ordinance or crafting a countywide ordinance.
I hope that Mr.
Smith-Hanes will in his oral report update the Board and public on the progress
in defending the ordinance, as the Court is another agency involved in this
process. This is information could not be in the report, for on the day he
wrote the report Mr. Yang of Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakeai LLP and I were getting
documents to the court to allow them time to respond on behalf of the
I commend Mr. Smith-Hanes not taking the easy rode of simply
telling the Board what you want to hear, and for presenting the options of
beginning the process of repealing this ordinance and spending scarce resources
looking for solutions to the issues raised by the various stakeholders he met
with. I urge you to adopt those options.
While I understand staff's wish
to have clearer guidelines in the future, I suggest the guidelines should focus
on guiding staff's response rather than placing regulations or restrictions on
citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. As difficult as it may be,
that may first require a hard look at the response over the last eight months.
May it give birth to a renewed hope and faith in ourselves and our First
Amendment principals rather than more rules, regulations and police actions to
Lastly, I share with you this link to a slideshow
, which celebrates the
variety of people that have come to the front of the courthouse to assemble and
/or express themselves and provides a brief and poignant account of Occupy
Eureka. I have also attached a PDF version that allows you to access the
sources of the photos found online. I ask that this correspondence and the PDF
document, Eureka Courthouse
become part of the public record available