MCC asks Harbor to reinstate videos of board meetings

The Midcoast Community Council has challenged the Harbor District to restart the video recordings of the Harbor Commissioner board meetings. In their letter to the members of the commission, the MCC states that “…video records are essential to support the spirit and practice of conducting open meetings.”

The Harbor Commission has long been accused of shady dealings and hiding from the public. In my Guide to Local Government Agencies, written about a year ago and not updated since, I described the Harbor District in these terms:

A county-wide district that controls Princeton Harbor (as well as Oyster Point). Most Coastsiders have no idea it exists. Its meetings are not videotaped. I think the Commissioners like it that way.

However, things changed when Sabrina Brennan won election in a landslide victory in 2011. She pushed for videotaping and, starting early this year, those videos were re-posted to a wider audience on Montara Fog.

This increase in public scrutiny and public awareness seems to have made Commissioner Tucker, on the board since 1998, uncomfortable. He led the effort to end video taping, which succeed last week in a 3-2 vote.

The Harbor District once again becomes the only local government body which does not videotape its meetings. At this point they are not even making audio recordings.

In an apparent jab at Commissioner Holsinger, a loyal ally of Tucker, the MCC letter points out that it is routine to post links to government videos on internet sites.

Holsinger, at the August 21st meeting, complained that Brennan was posting links to the board’s meeting videos on her personal site, saying that that was a political use and he would not allow public funds to pay for videos that were being used for political purposes. Holsinger seemed unfamiliar with the Internet and the manner in which videos hosted at one site could be linked to and even played within another.

[Click to read the letter from the Midcoast Community Council.]