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A recount of the December Fairground Boards’ meeting – “Unquestionable Integrity?”

By Donna Westfall and Linda Sutter – December 18, 2018 – For ease of reading we’ll use DW and LS to denote who said what.

LS: The Park and Recreations Special District began the meeting at 5:30 pm on Thursday night, December 13th. The meeting was not appropriately posted. You can not find their agenda on their website.

DW: Think 1/4 cent sales tax board. That’s Park & Rec Special District. I could not find their agenda nor their minutes on the website. I found their November agenda on the 41st District website. Here’s a list of their officers as of November 2018:
Doug Wakefield (President),
Rich Wier (Vice President),
Sabina Renner (Secretary),
Steven Westbrook,
Robyn Holt

Also in attendance were:
Kimberly Floyd CEO (Randy Hatfield’s daughter – more than a few of us are wondering if there wasn’t nepotism at play here in her hiring)
Lindsey Reichlin – Fair Staff

LS: Clearly this Board has no clue or fundamental understanding why they cannot violate government codes. Just when I thought progress was being made, they go two steps backwards. VP Wier cannot understand why they have been doing things in violation of law for several years and now all of a sudden they cannot accept lawful change but it gets better.  BUT, the biggest change made is that instead of holding their meetings together, (41st Dist + Park & Rec Special Dist) they are now held separately, which is the correct way to run them.

DW: I came in late because of a prior meeting on Homelessness held at True North Organizing Network’s office. As far as running meetings, I agree with Linda Sutter, these people at the Fairgrounds Boards are clueless. They frequently forget to ask if anyone from the public had any comments. Mostly prompted from the audience, by Ms. Sutter I might add, to ask for public comment.

LS: Agenda item #5: Discussion about moving the meetings to the Flynn Center. Three of us got up to encourage them to do so mostly so that the meetings could be filmed and televised so they could no longer operate without transparency. After that, one man got up and said “I think these meetings should remain here because they have been here for years” The Board voted 5-0 to remain at the somewhat unaccommodating, nontransparent meeting room. What, did you honestly think they would listen to the constituents of the audience (taxpayers)?

DW: It’s entirely possible that they could independently hire a videographer and post video of the meetings on YouTube.com. The meeting was adjourned and Robyn Holt came over to me and said they could do that. Excellent suggestion. Let’s see if they’ll put it on a future agenda and actually do it. If they were to move to the Flynn Center, it would cost them to hire someone from the County to record the meetings. It might be cheaper for them to hire their own videographer.

During the changing of the guard; the next meeting started at 6 pm. Two members of the Board were not in attendance: Kevin Hartwick and Darin Bradbury. There was a new face there. John Pritchitt. Pritchitt, we believe, took the place of Bob Cochran who resigned. Here’s the list of December Board Members:
Kevin Hartwick (President),
Matt Westbrook (Vice President),
Darin Bradbury,
Kim Haban,
Kara Miller,
Richard Taylor,
John Pritchett,
Vanessa Alexandre

LS: What no Kevin Hartwick, Darin Bradbury or Bob Cochran? I hate to say it but when there is trouble in paradise I have a propensity of making people scatter quickly. It’s like turning the light on and watching the cockroaches scramble.

LS: Public comment was first on the agenda. By the way Randy Hatfield is hanging around Crescent City a lot lately, trying to tell everyone there is no there there. Ok, whatever; that’s what was reflected in the 2018 Grand Jury Report right? As I begin to read all the money that Randy Hatfield spent at his own whim, board members just shrugged their shoulders with complete “so” attitudes. Cound not approve of their expenditures for November because the State had not given them the necessary paperwork yet. OK, next.

DW:  I looked for minutes on line at their website and found none. Only Park & Rec Special District posted their budget. The 41st District did not.

LS: The Budget: Kim Floyd did do a pretty good job of explaining some of the expenditures, however, had we been at the Flynn Center we could have actually seen a presentation of the expenditures. But, as always, the public does not have access to the budget to review prior to the meetings and they refuse to hand out copies to the public. All Brown Act violations, but who really gives a damn? It’s only public money.

Del Norte County resident, Eileen Cooper commented on that. She notices there was a half million dollar deficit and the gap is not closing. Isn’t there an ole saying, “Get more, spend more?” So be the case. Of course, John Pritchitt was upset about explaining the violations of not only government codes and how they are spending money, but the California Constitution Article XVI section 6 as well.

DN:   I didn’t get a copy of the budget, but luckily Linda Sutter had lists and lists of expenditures. One of those expenditures caught my attention: Nine months of shipping expenses amounting to thousands of dollars in the $2,000 to $3,000 per month range. So, I found out that Lindsey Reichlin was acting secretary and handed in this FOIA request:

     Please provide the following info:
     Expressway Service covering January 2017 – August 2017.

  • What was being shipped from LA to Crescent City?
  • Why were thousands of dollars spent?
  • Please provide documentation on what exactly was shipped.

Under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules, they have 10 days in which to provide the requested information.

Linda made the comment that expenditures like this could be something associated with someone doing gun running if they were so inclined.

LS:  I’ve requested three times that the issue of the missing $921,000 published in the Grand Jury report be addressed as an agenda item.  Nothing has been done. No one will put it on the agenda.

DW:  When a member of the public gets up to speak, they are required to give their name.  Helen Ferguson, long time resident and active in the fair in a variety of ways got up to speak about needing new rubber mats for the horses to walk on as it has been 12 years or more since they had new mats. I had never met Helen Ferguson before, and she didn’t start off with her name.  She must have overheard me talking to someone about that because she stopped and said her name.  When she concluded, I got up with my public comment:  I let the board know that I wear a number of hats and at that moment was speaking as Editor of crecentcitytimes.com, an on-line newspaper.  I let them know that as far as I could recall, second or third hand, I was told that 12 or 15 years ago, some rubber pads were gifted or granted to the Fair.  However, part of that story was that Kevin Hartwick took a good number of the pads for his horse ranch in Smith River.  So, I would suggest that if any pads are given through gifts or grants, that it doesn’t look good if board members wind up with them.

LS:  Before the meeting was adjourned, so they could go to closed session, John Pritchitt made this comment.  Mind you, this was his first meeting.  “I just want to state that I have been to many meetings and sat on many boards.  The Board Members here have devoted long hours of their time and money and in my opinion demonstrates “unquestionable integrity.”  Oopsy, Board member Pritchitt, didn’t you read the Grand Jury Report that couldn’t find and wasn’t given an accounting for the $921, 920?  Where was the “unquestionable integrity” then?

The meeting adjourned and then the icing on the cake occured.  They had a closed session meeting and everyone there had to go stand outside in the cold and wait on their meeting.  And, remember, they voted not to move their meetings to the Flynn Center where the public could wait in the audience until closed session was over in order to hear any reports made out of closed session. 

 

 

 

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