Letters: Feb. 20, 2009

Del Mar parking over-regulated
I got a good laugh out of the Feb. 13 article about Del Mar increasing parking fees (“City increases parking fees across board”) and to learn that they think “Del Mar is pretty liberal” by not issuing a second ticket if a ticketed car is not moved. Del Mar is crying over their lackluster downtown which is due to over-regulation of businesses and a militant parking meter squad (which works 365 days a year). I hope the 20,000+ annual parking ticket recipients consider visiting more parking friendly cities like Encinitas.
Bill Cavanaugh

Meetings nothing ‘special’
Thanks for your coverage of the city of Encinitas removing 11 well-loved trees in Orpheus Park. I was grateful to see the Feb. 13 follow-up piece, “Council e-mails may be illegal.” To clarify, “the law (Brown Act) allows governing bodies to assemble behind closed doors to conduct labor negotiations, and discuss litigation and property negotiations during meetings designated as “closed sessions” not “special” sessions.
However, the city of Encinitas, has incorrectly been using the designation of “special meeting,” so that closed sessions are given 24-hour public notice, instead of the 72-hour public notice mandated for closed sessions that are related to and held before regularly scheduled council meetings. The regular agenda refers to closed sessions, and the intent of the Brown Act is to give adequate notice so that the public can attend the open part of these sessions, before council goes into the closed meeting, and so that the public can be present, at the regular meeting when council comes out of closed session. Then the report could be archived on the city Web site.
Traditionally, council had held closed sessions immediately before regular council meetings, and reported into open session at the beginning of the regular meeting, before any other business. Former Mayor Jerome Stocks began holding closed session earlier the same day as regular council meetings. Less people can attend now, and less people can see or be present for the public report. This “construct,” of a “special” standalone closed session is designed solely to give the public less notice for closed sessions.
All other so-called “special meetings,” are routinely given 72-hour notice such as the recent Joint Authorities special meeting held before the Feb. 11 regular council meeting, which schedule required oral communication speakers to wait for hours before they could address council.
Lynn Braun Marr


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