I wanted to send a note to everyone on the DCSki.com forum regarding tomorrow, Wednesday 11/7/2007. I admit that this is of short notice, but if there happens to be anyone who would be willing to stop by a public meeting being held in Moorefield at 7pm at the USDA office, you are more than welcome to attend.
The reason I am writing to encourage everyone to attend is because our SaveLostRiver.org group discovered that it is now on the agenda for the Potomac Valley Soil Conservation District's (who happens to be a division of a state government agency) monthly meeting to vote on banning *ALL* camera and recording devices from being present in the public meeting. This is in result to myself and other members of our group attending a PVSCD meeting held on October 3, 2007 where we took pocket video cameras and voice recorders to record the events happening at the meeting. In accordance of being respectful and abiding by the law, we all sat quietly in the audience area with our cameras easily seen by board members so as not to disturb the process of the meeting.
Midway through the meeting when board members along with their lawyer left for a private executive session, the lawyer for the PVSCD, Howard Krauskopf, began to poke fun at one of our group members who was holding a camera and who stands to loose his home if the dam goes through. Mr. Krauskoph did so unprovoked and seemed to get some sort of child like glee from having done this. However it was later learned that it would possibly be on the agenda for Novembers meeting that the PVSCD would ignore STATE LAW and ban all recording devices from future meetings. Sure enough we learned yesterday that it is officially on the agenda for tomorrow night for the board to review policy which was recommended to them by their lawyer Mr. Krauskopf to ban recording devices.
Many of you may feel that this is a violation of law and ones personal rights by a governing body preventing any citizen or media outlet from recording what goes on in the public meeting. If so, you are in deed correct on that feeling. In fact the state of West Virginia has the "Open Governmental Meetings Act" which dictates how any state based government agency is to conduct itself, what can and can not be done, and the punishment of what happens when those laws are violated. If anyone is interested, please read a copy of the WV Open Governmental Meetings Act located at: ( http://www.wvsos.com/adlaw/register/meetings/OpenMeetingsHandbook.pdf
) The specific article in question is Page #13 (S6-9A-9).
This really makes a person wonder... what is going on about the Lost River Dam #16 if they are wishing to ban all electronic recording devices for good from their meetings by going against a state law that allows all individuals and media outlets full recording access to all government meetings?