Big Pine Tribe raises open meeting law on water issues

For many years, Inyo citizens have expressed concern about the secretive nature of water issues with the public left out in


Big Pine Tribal Administrator, Gary Bacock

the cold. At last year’s end, Big Pine tribal officials expressed their own complaints about what they believe are violations of the Brown Act by the Inyo-LA Standing Committee.

Gary Bacock, Tribal Administrator, had earlier challenged that the Inyo Supervisors prematurely made a decision on a water issue before it went to the Standing Committee. The Board repeated their actions without admitting to a Brown Act violation.

Administrator Bacock issued a second claim before the holidays and said the Tribe believes both the Technical Group and Standing Committee of Inyo and LADWP staff and officials regularly violate open meeting laws. They want a response.

Inyo County Counsel Randy Keller he does not believe Inyo County is in violation of the Brown Act, but he did say that at their February meeting the Standing Committee will discuss membership of their group and requirements of attendance.

Currently, Inyo water issues are handled privately among staff of the Inyo Water Department and DWP. Very little of what goes on is openly discussed at the Technical Group meeting which officials claim are not subject to the Brown Act. Standing Committee meetings remain fruitless since each side has one vote.

The heart of the water issue, control of groundwater pumping, continues to be reviewed in private meetings of staff.

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