Sovereignty and Public Servants

Following the meeting in which the Board of Supervisors agreed to the Chumash tribe’s request to meet with the Chumash tribal government to discuss topics of mutual concern, the tribal chairman made two quite remarkable comments.

Chairman Armenta said he was “displeased that the committee’s meetings would be public.”

While the tribe has the sovereign right to allow their government’s meetings to be held in private, it has been the law in the State of California since 1953 that the public’s business shall be conducted in public. As eloquently stated in the preamble to the Brown Act:

“The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

Combined with his statement, “It’s obviously set up to fail,” it appears that the chairman does not want these meetings to succeed and is preparing to walk away from them and blame the county for the failure.

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