Sanitation District cancels meeting for the third time

FILE PHOTO. Luz Elena Henao, a treatment plant operator, cleans off large water filters used at the Sanitation District's Valencia Water Reclamation Plant on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal
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For the third time in as many months, the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board  cancelled its public meeting.

The board cancelled its meeting scheduled for March 14, then cancelled one set for April 11 and, on Friday, staffers at the Sanitation District announced the meeting set for May 9 was cancelled.

The last time the three-member board held its meeting at Santa Clarita City Hall was on March 8, when a handful of attendees claimed the board was in violation for having failed to provide essential environmental reports to the public at their meetings.

A lawyer representing the district argued at the meeting that the board was not in violation of the Brown Act.

“It was canceled because there were no significant items on the agenda,” said Basil Hewitt, spokesman for the Sanitation District, when asked Monday about the third and latest cancelled meeting.

A new meeting was “tentatively scheduled,” Hewitt said, for May 25 at 11:30 a.m.

Local environmentalists filed a Brown Act complaint with the local sanitation district in mid-April.

They also sent a copy of their complaint to the Public Integrity Division of the the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The person who filed the complaint was Lynne Plambeck, spokeswoman for the local environmental group, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, or SCOPE.

“We filed a cease and desist order,” she told The Signal last month.

The SCOPE letter of complaint refers to the action as “cure and correct” but the intended goal of the group is to make sure the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board provides copies of essential reports such Environmental Impact Reports.

Such reports are to be made available to the public at public meetings.

At the Sanitation District meeting last month, no such documents were made available for public viewing, Plambeck said.

In a response to Plambeck’s formal complaint under the Ralph M. Brown Act, Sanitation officials responded saying:

“The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District’s legal counsel disagrees with Ms. Plambeck’s assertions,” Hewitt told The Signal.

“There were no violations of the Brown Act at the March 8, 2018 meeting.

“Nevertheless, the District has responded to Ms. Plambeck in writing and advised her that at the Board’s next meeting, it will take formal action ratifying its prior approval of these agreements.”

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