Guest Commentary: by Lou Russo
The right of petition is expressly set out in the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”— from the First Amendment
The petition clause concludes the First Amendment’s ringing enumeration of expressive rights and, in many ways, supports them all. Petition is the right to ask government at any level to right a wrong or correct a problem. The right to petition allows citizens to focus government attention on unresolved ills; provide information to elected leaders about unpopular policies; expose misconduct, waste, corruption, and incompetence; and vent popular frustrations without endangering the public order.
On July 4, 1776, the country’s Founders adopted a famous statement of principles and list of grievances, declaring that: “In every state of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” King George III’s crowning wrong, in the end, was his indifference.’ — Freedom Forum Institute
San Diego Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) staff appears to need a refresher on the First Amendment, specifically, the “…right of the people to petition the Government…” about unpopular policies. A few days ago I received a copy of the LAFCO February Agenda regarding an item in Alpine, specifically a request for annexation on the part of Alpine Fire.
First, I noticed that communications I KNOW were provided to the LAFCO Director for the Commissioners was missing from the package. I pulled up the online version of the agenda, only to find that even the few public communications items attached to the mailed copy were absent. This is in spite of the fact that other items on the agenda DO have public communication for the Commissioners’ consideration.
The question then becomes, why did the Director of LAFCO decide to NOT permit the Commissioners to see communications so it could “redress” grievances? Or perhaps, now that Supervisor Dianne Jacob is the chairperson of LAFCO and some of the communications were directed negatively at her, that she ordered the Director to NOT include them for the Commissioners’ consideration.
The bottom line is, does LAFCO consider itself subject to The Constitution or not?
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Russo is a member of the Alpine Planning Group, a former San Diego Rural Fire Board member and was a Trump Delegate from California to the Republican National Convention