By Ralph & Kathy Stephenson
Prince William Residents for Balanced Development
We’ve been in shut contact with Brett Gloss and different plaintiffs who filed the Freedom of Data Act authorized grievance towards the Prince William Board of County Supervisors Democratic majority concerning the Dems’ Might 31 assembly that excluded the three Republican supervisors.
We’re scripting this message with the plaintiffs’ information and help.
We help the plaintiffs’ present intent to file a movement to Fairfax County Choose Dennis J. Smith to rethink his decision and, if unsuccessful, after that to probably file an enchantment.
As we, Gloss, and his co-plaintiffs have recommended, the choose failed to have a look at the statute in plain language and imposed an insurmountable bar which required the plaintiffs to show intent. The statute doesn’t require proof of intent, solely that the 5 Democrats attended and public enterprise was mentioned.
Choose Smith additionally inappropriately utilized the general public discussion board exception as a result of, in his view, the defendants didn’t prepare the assembly, thus the assembly was not topic to FOIA legislation. However testimony from the defendants clearly established that the police chief organized the assembly, and the police chief, after all, stories on to the BOCS. The choose’s judicial activist reasoning on this case creates an enormous loophole for future violators to maintain the general public at midnight: simply get a subordinate workplace to schedule the assembly. A county authorities entity organized the Might 31 assembly and solely choose members of the general public — these with ties to Supervisor Bailey’s husband — have been capable of attend. County residents and the press have been stored at midnight.
Listed here are a few of our unanswered questions in regards to the choose’s ruling:
- Why did it fall to non-public residents to file swimsuit on this case and be topic to a high-hurdle burden of proof? Why have been county or state attorneys/prosecutors not even investigating this obvious Freedom of Data Act violation, a lot much less bringing prices themselves, with all of the sources of the state behind them?
- As beforehand famous, proof of intent isn’t a requirement to indicate guilt on this case. Nonetheless, from an moral, not a authorized standpoint, if harmless of intent to exclude the opposite three Board of County Supervisors members from the assembly, why didn’t even one of many 5 Democrats, significantly Chair At-large Ann Wheeler, trouble to name and invite even one of many three Republicans as quickly because it was apparent they weren’t on the assembly — significantly Supervisor Peter Candland, whose district was instantly affected by the riots being mentioned?
- Once more from an moral standpoint, why has Chair Wheeler apparently nonetheless not apologized to the general public or any of the three Republicans for excluding them — in clear breach of widespread decency and her position as at-large Board of County Supervisors Chair At-large for representing the whole county?
This ruling, if left unrevised, Judg that may more and more put native authorities decisionmaking within the shadows with little or no accountability — an consequence clearly desired by Chair Wheeler, who has repeatedly and unprecedentedly tried to restrict citizen free speech and the correct to petition the government at Board of County Supervisors meetings, as well as the right to peaceably assemble.
For the reason that state and county authorities should not doing their job to litigate Freedom of Data Act legislation on this case, it falls to non-public residents to take action. Right here is the plaintiffs’ GoFundMe web site to cowl their ongoing authorized charges to assist maintain our authorities clear, accountable, and in service to all the general public — not only a few favored teams.
We thank the plaintiffs for his or her civic advantage; we help them and urge readers to take action, too.