OPEN GOVERNMENT -- Writing in the Victorville Daily Press, reporter Brooke Edwards says, "Right or wrong, there seems to be a common perception that Victorville
City Hall is trying to pull a fast one — a perception Jim Cox was well
aware of when I spoke to him Wednesday, four hours after he’d started
as interim city manager."

This notion gained momentum in November, when a now-defunct
commission with highly paid political appointees to oversee Southern
California Logistics Airport was placed on the city’s consent agenda,
reserved for items that are “routine and non-controversial.” The item
flew under the radar so fast and low that some council members were
caught unaware.  

Since then, several conflicts have popped up between the concept of
open, honest government and how the city is using the Brown Act (the
state’s open meetings law) to meet in closed session.

The council voted to loan $200,000 to Victorville Motors during
closed session on Dec. 16. The agenda listed the deal as property
negotiations — just as it does when the city is buying land in Old Town
— since the dealership’s property was used as collateral.

At the end of the session, City Attorney Andre de Bortnowsky
announced the loan had been extended. Though it was a split vote and
the Brown Act clearly calls for that to be noted, he didn’t announce
which council members voted which way. Minutes from that meeting have
yet to be posted more than a month later.