Mission Viejo Dispatch. "Cover-Up At City Hall. Council Hiding Public Safety Report"

I previously plugged a revised blog that performs a remarkable service for those living, working or simply interested in the city of Mission Viejo. Editor Brad Morton was the co-founder of the non partisan Committee for Integrity in Government where for seven years we surely put city council and city staff feet to the fire. Brad recently re-started the Mission Viejo Dispatch blog that can be found at www.missionviejodispatch.com

One issue that we were unable to prevent was the addition of high power lines by SCE in the northern section of our city. Following is Brad’s report on the stonewalling we are getting relating to a consultant’s report. Let me point out that local activists recommended the highly qualified consultant Sage and Associates yet their findings are kept under lock and key away from any public viewing.

While the Orange Juice blog truly serves the interests within the city limits of Santa Ana,every city is within our sights as it relates to abuses and incompetence.
As such I encourage you to check out the MV Dispatch as you broaden your sources of news. The following is Brad’s story as referenced above:

Cover Up At City Hall: Council Hiding Public Safety Report

December 27, 2007 by MissionViejoDispatch.com

For several months the City Council has been hiding a consultant’s public safety report. The report could hold findings on electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF) arguably harmful to the health of some local residents.

Prior to hiring the consultant, the City learned that overhead electrical lines installed in North Mission Viejo were emitting higher-than-expected EMF radiation. Southern California Edison stated these EMF levels would be lowered through a technique referred to as “rephasing.”

The City’s consultant took EMF measurements, perhaps to confirm SCE achieved the reduction. But that was almost a year ago, and thereafter the issue was hushed and relegated to closed sessions of the Council. Did the Council think it needed protracted secrecy to buy more time for SCE’s attempts to remedy the problem?

A copy of the consultant’s report was requested by this reporter in April. The City initially denied the request, claiming the document did not exist within City Hall. It was revealed that a highly unusual procedure was used to hire the consultant through the City’s outside law firm, even though there was no litigation. The procedure minimized the chance information would be leaked.

A second request for a copy of the document was made directly to the law firm. The firm’s attorney for Mission Viejo, William Curley, refused to provide a copy, citing limited confidentiality privileges for municipalities under state law. It appears the privilege arguments, e.g. listed here, are a smokescreen, and not legally valid.

Furthermore, these confidentiality privileges do not provide a legal requirement for documents to be kept confidential. Even under a relevant privilege, the City Council has full authority and discretion to release documents to the public.

The Council is familiar with the consultant’s report and refused to authorize disclosure. Why? It raises suspicions EMF readings were elevated. If so, questions are posed regarding the Council’s duty to warn the community and its courage to face public reaction.

Last week the Dispatch uncovered and reported other secrecy actions at City Hall. Those actions prevented advance public disclosure of a new slogan and logo for the community. These two recent cover-ups are ominous signs City officials may be increasingly inclined toward secret government and a lack of respect for residents.

Click here for a listing of latest studies and views of EMF exposure . . .

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