City Watch LA just released an assessment from an attorney, and a few other individuals, which pretty much all agree that the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council was in clear violation of the Brown Act when they asked a videographer to stop taping the meeting. (my summary of the events here)
Surprisingly, when presented with a chance to respond, and more than enough time to reread the Brown Act, the Glassell Park NC Chairman, known only as “Bradley”, is unrepentant for his actions.
He claims that only a portion of a three hour tape has been seen, and that if the rest of the tape were made available we would see that the videography was disruptive:
What was not shared with you and omitted intentionally was the beginning of the video taping (7:05am) where she introduced herself and her intentions to tape, promised to provide us with the tape of the proceedings, past and present for our inspection, and our respect and understanding for her rights to videotape. However, due to her constant moving about and that of the camera, physically moving around in the meeting, the location of the video cam in our faces, and the continued disruptions through-out the meeting – with disregard to many of the board members kind remarks to not create the disruptions – she had to be asked to stop taping.
I highly encourage the videographer, who so far has remained nameless, to release the entirety of the tape to either City Watch LA or another third party to see if she was, in fact, being disruptive. Besides that, though, merely “physically moving around the meeting” is unlikely to be considered a disturbance.
Bradley continues to assert that he and the council are entitled to view the tape, so much as citing the 30 day grace period. However, the 30 day grace period to view a tape is intended for the public’s right to view a tape made by a government agency, not the other way around. Even if the videographer made promises to provide a copy of the tape to the Council, under the Brown Act she is under no obligation to do so.
Bob Gelfand, a member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council also tells City Watch:
I am particularly troubled by the following comment Bradley makes: “We did allow her to tape from 7:05pm until her departure (as Melanie states) and we are very familiar with this type of obstructionists’ tactics which anyone who is involved in NC’s Citywide is familiar with first hand. Neighborhood Councils seem to be plagued with this type of daily barrage to undermine city and local entities.” To take it in order: As I mentioned above, the videographer does not need permission to tape; her rights are clear under California law. No evidence has been supplied which supports the charge of “obstructionist,” and to use it in this context is simply to add insult to injury.