Public's right to speak at Dutra Hearing: Brown Act requirements

Always more Dutra Drama, just when you thought we'd had enough.

The County says that the Dutra hearing is "closed to public comment".

Do not allow the Press Democrat or Argus, City councils, County supervisors or any other public boards tell you that you can be prohibited from speaking at a public meeting to any item either on or off the agenda. The Press Democrat has erroneously repeated county counsel's seriously flawed assertion that the hearing for voting on tomorrow's Dutra Asphalt Plant project is "closed to public comment."

Brett Wilkison double checked this afternoon with County Counsel Steve Woodside and assistant County Counsel Dave Hurst, who both repeated that they are acting in accordance with the Brown Act and can forbid public comment on Dutra.

However, the Brown Act requires that you will be allowed to speak. Generally, the public can speak to any agendized item at the time it is being heard. The public can speak to any item not on the agenda during the general public comment periods of a meeting, as set by the public agency or board.

Come on up, and express yourself for your allotted 3 minutes. Dutra will start sometime around 3pm tomorrow, Tuesday 12/14.

As of 4:30pm today, our attorney is also drafting a letter on this for tomorrow, citing also the Bakersfield Citizens case, which clearly holds that public comment must be accepted up to and including the final hearing. The PD is now going to do a story on this for tomorrow, quoting Terry Franke,, who has litigated successfully a number of times on this area.


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