In Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” the upper class doesn’t read because it feels no need to. The Town of Apple Valley has taken this one step further by not making reading materials available before accepting public comment (“Town to host public scoping session on EIR for Ranchos acquisition,” Daily Press, July 6, 2015).
In this case, the unpublished document in question is the Town of Apple Valley’s 45-page “Apple Valley Ranchos Water System Acquisition Project: Initial Study.” The Town apparently released this document on June 24, but only to certain interested parties not including the general public (there’s no distribution list attached). For some, it arrived on Friday July 3rd, when Town offices were closed, and with Town offices closed on Monday, the public had no way of obtaining the document until the day of the meeting at which it was to be discussed. Even then, members of the public who traveled to Town Hall on Tuesday were assured the document did not exist.
At the meeting itself, there were only two copies of the document, marked “Do not remove” on the cover. Attendees were told that copies were available at the Town library (which is currently closed for repairs), or online at the Town’s website (it wasn’t), or from the Town Planning Center (which by that hour was closed). The PowerPoint presentation from the consultants who generated the study is still not available, despite assurances that it would be.
So, for the general public, the first opportunity to review this document came 13 days into the 30-day comment period.
The Town of Apple Valley repeatedly claims to offer transparent government and local control, but that’s not a claim based on “Brave New World.” Rather, that’s based on George Orwell’s “1984.”