sent via email to me, Jeanne Blackwell @ firstname.lastname@example.org on Nov. 17, 2014, in response to Newsletter # 24, All Hands on Deck.
“Ask anyone who has served on the grand jury and they will tell you that sending 25 petitions to ask them for an investigation is exactly the wrong way to proceed. This is the opposite of spectacular. A civil grand jury does not respond to being bombarded with complaints. If anything, it will annoy the hell out of them. Furthermore, grand juries do not respond to requests to hurry up. They choose which complaints to investigate, and many are not taken up at all. They have no obligation to respond. You will not hear back from them one way or another. I recommend that you go to the Superior Court website and read the section about the grand jury.
Mimi Kalland, President
SLO Former Grand Jurors’ Association”
Thank you Mimi for taking the time to educate me on my civic duty and what we can expect from a jury of our peers. It appears reprimand is well within your parameters and you can and will not hesitate to exercise that power.
Thank you for letting me know that the grand jury regards multiple complaints on a single subject matter as a reason to automatically dismiss every single person’s right to file a complaint. It is important to know that you judge the complaints not by their content but rather by the mere fact that there are too many. And is 2 too many? What is that number Mimi and how are we to know which complaint, which person, triggers automatic dismissal?
It would appear you have no problem reprimanding as is very apparent by the air and tone of your message. If I did not take my civic duty to alert a vested seated jury of my peers who have vowed to keep a watchful eye over the intent and behavior of our public officials to heart, I would find your message to be a warning, the consequences of which is condemnation and censuring of our actions.
Was that your intent Mimi? Because I have to tell you that is exactly the impression I am getting from your message.
“A civil grand jury does not respond to being bombarded with complaints. If anything, it will annoy the hell out of them.” This sounds like a warning to keep our concerns to ourselves lest it becomes an annoyance and inconvenience to those serving on our behalf. It sounds like the grand jury regards “too many complaints” as a nuisance and source of irritation that gives you reason enough to rule them “out of order.”
I was unaware that it is our duty and responsibility as citizens, when filing a complaint to insure that it does not cause you any inconvenience. Unaware also that we should be very cautious to make sure we do not exceed an arbitrarily decided upon number of complaints that would trigger an annoyance and therefore automatic dismissal of our concerns.
I think your message is very clear Mimi. You are discouraging your fellow citizens from participating in a basic fundamental principle of our democracy. A right to petition our government for redress of grievances. Our basic fundamental right to be heard and our concerns recognized and addressed in a civil and consistent manner.
We are taking our civic duty and expectations of what constitutes a fair, honest, efficiently run governing body very seriously. That is why we thought it prudent and vigilant and choose to contact the grand jury with the hopes that they, more than anyone, would take these concerns to heart as well they should. And the more people that become civic minded and involved in what is going on in their community the better. Spectacular.
Being reprimanded and berated for doing the right thing in alerting the grand jury to the belligerent and arrogant behavior of our elected officials who feel quite confident in arbitrarily disregarding the concerns of over 74,000 people does prove one thing.
You do have the power and authority to reprimand and can “hurry up” if so motivated. Seems the number of complaints to the grand jury did prompt a “hurry up” response as is indicated by you email. So this same power and authority used to reprimand and censure the citizens could in fact be applied to the subjects of the complaint, The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. Good to know Mimi. Thank you.
This is very useful information and I will do my very best to get this information out there. This is a matter of public interest. I find it encouraging.
Doing the right thing prevents unintended harm from occurring. Filing a citizens complaint and seeking a remedy is the right thing to do. And everyone who has been harmed and is seeking a remedy has a right to file a complaint. Discouraging and threatening the citizenry from doing the right thing is wrong.
Using your power to discourage, with threats of reprisal to dismiss the right to be heard, is an abuse of power. And ironically enough that is exactly what the complaint against the Board of Supervisors is all about. The Board of Supervisor’s consistent and repeated failure to respond to the concerns of the people shows intent and knowledge of their power and the subsequent abuse thereof.
And I think more than anything your letter will serve as an inspiration for more people to do the right thing as a matter of honor and integrity and ‘bombardment’ the end result.
Since your email was sent to me in response to the newsletter I sent out I will make sure everyone on that list gets your letter.
As well as this response back to you. That only seems fair and the right thing to do.
The only thing truth has to fear is concealment.
SLO Clean Water Action.org
The safety of the people is the supreme law. Bacon’s Max. in Reg. 12; Broom’s Max. 1. Prevention is better than cure. Co. Litt. 304.