GRASS VALLEY, Calif. April 13, 2017 – Nevada Irrigation District (NID) directors conducted their meeting yesterday in front of a packed audience. The public comment period lasted for close to 90 minutes, with ratepayers once again urging the NID to live stream and make video recordings of their meetings available.
On March 8th, the board declined to provide live streaming and video recordings of their meetings, following a 2016 request by the League of Women VotersWNC), the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and the Federation of Neighborhood Associations (FONA). Director Nancy Weber proposed to have NID join Nevada County, the cities of Nevada City, Grass Valley and the Town of Truckee by providing video of their daytime meetings. Her motion died for lack of a second. On Wednesday, the public made their displeasure known.
65,037 voters in NID’s 5 districts – 85 seats in the board chambers
Citing Fire Marshall regulations, seating was limited to 85 people in the board chambers, according to Chair Nick Wilcox. The daytime scheduling makes it difficult for many of the 65,037 registered voters (48,008 in Nevada County and 17,029 in Placer County) to attend the meetings.
A letter read into the record by LWVWNC, SYRCL and Fona reads, in part: “You all know the work you are responsible for is vital to our community and to each citizen and the issues before you are complex with long term impacts. This affordable, good government action is needed for citizens who are unable to attend your meetings in person due to work commitments, health or disability, or other reasons. We remind you that engaging the community more fully will support you in fulfilling your responsibilities.
There is no reasonable argument against conducting business with the same openness and engagement as other government entities in Nevada County and none was made by the Board at the March 8, 2017 meeting.”
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Members of the public demanded transparency and the use of commonly available technology – used by the county and the cities – to make meeting recordings a part of good governance practices. Directors thanked the members of the public for their comments. Watch the public comment period below, as YubaNet is live streaming the meetings until the district will meet the ratepayers demand.
Directors took a break after the public comment period. Closed session items and board member reports were all that remained on the agenda. YubaNet’s reporter stopped the live streaming and left the meeting. During board member reports, Director Wilcox complained that no sound was available on a YubaNet recording of a workshop and Director Miller said if livestreaming was available they could counter misinformation easier. How do we know? A member of the public exercised their First Amendment right, recorded the remarks and posted the video to Facebook.