"Giving Thanks," Josiah Hesse, November 28
What a beautifully written and sensitive article by Josiah Hesse. Alas, the striptease joints may be paying for it, but you are definitely a publication to be acknowledged. Congrats!
"The Secret Garden," Alan Prendergast, November 21
First off, I'd like to thank Alan Prendergast for his great reporting. I am saddened by the pervasive misperception of gardening as some sort of hippie-dippy BS. I am all too familiar with locals who, having no other credentials to speak of, tout generations of nativity — as if the longer an error is carried around, the more likely it will become true. It's a sorry fact that the image of the future is a threat for those trapped in the past.
Indubitably, the school board violated the sunshine law. CRS 24-6-401 stipulates that executive session can be called only to discuss land acquisition in a competitive bid process, and then "only if premature disclosure of information would give an unfair competitive or bargaining advantage to a person whose personal, private interest is adverse to the general public interest."
In this case, it appears the opposite occurred. The board erred on two counts: one, by calling an executive session when it was unreasonable to do so, and two, by placing a public project at a disadvantage during a competitive process while giving advantage to a private enterprise — the exact opposite reason for an allowable use of any executive session!
Failure to properly announce the sessions and publicly place an informative agenda at a specified location renders all discussions secretive and illegal. I would encourage legal action against the school board for negligence.
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Further, I'm not sure how a transaction broker, working for a private enterprise, with a real and apparent conflict of interest — and even offering counsel at said meetings — could, in good faith, be legally allowed to attend any such executive sessions. This is clearly a violation of paragraph (I) of the sunshine act.
That a real-estate agent, working as a transaction broker, who received commission from the sale of public land to Mr. Russell, was allowed into closed chambers for the discussion of the motion — whether or not the motion was voted on in public — is an unequivocal abuse of the law.
The economic benefits of a fully functioning community garden, with proper land stewardship and community participation, far outweigh any perceived gains from an RV park that will benefit a single individual. Gas-guzzling trucks are obsolescent; relocalized communities are the future.
Godspeed to the good people of Alamosa. I hope Westword will continue to report on this issue, and I encourage competent legal counsel to review this case and prosecute for criminal negligence and insider profiteering.