Ridenour vs Marsh Two different ways of Treating Ad Hoc Committees
By Emerson Drake
This is a follow-up to the Salida Ad Hoc Committee conversation. Mayor Ridenour had two ad hoc committees while he was Mayor for eight years. The City of Modesto’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness and the Comprehensive Fee Task Force. Both were treated more or less as if they were regular City Committees, and for the most part, behaved as if they were subject to the Brown Act. They announced the time and place of their meetings, had agendas, met in public, allowed the public to be present, and encouraged public participation albeit after we made a request to the Modesto City Council regarding the Blue Ribbon Commission.
Now the Salida Ad Hoc Committee is suddenly being treated differently than its predecessors. They don’t want the public to be present or the public to participate in the discussions. The only noticeable differences would seem to be the Mayors they were created under. Just to be sure no other group was working on the people’s business and operating under the radar, we made a public records request. Here is their response. The only caveat in what you are about to read is that the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness is still active despite having given their final report to the Council.
Mr. Drake: Kathy Espinoza has provided the following information:
The last two Ad Hoc Committees formed were the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness
and the Comprehensive Fee Task Force. I believe they have completed their work and made recommendations to the City Council.
The most recent Ad Hoc Committee formed by the City Council was the Salida Annexation Study Ad Hoc Committee
and they appointed Mayor Marsh, Councilmember Dave Cogdill, Jr. and a staff person.
I am not aware of any other Ad Hoc Committees which have been recently appointed and are working on single focused issues.
This completes your public information request.
Hopefully Mayor Marsh will come around and insist the Salida Ad Hoc Committee follow Mayor Ridenour’s example of being transparent when conducting the people’s business and adhere to the requirements of the Brown Act.