In October 2019, as you may recall, the infamous white savior rogue charter conspiracy known as The Accelerated Schools held a board meeting at which they committed three distinct and shocking violations of California’s quintessential government transparency law, the Brown Act. One of the most appalling of this series of thoroughly appalling transgressions was their requirement that members of the public sign their names to a sheet in order to enter the public meeting.
This, of course, is explicitly forbidden by the Brown Act at §54953.3.1 TAS attempted to excuse this outlawry by claiming that they weren’t requiring a signature to attend the meeting, but just to enter the school grounds on which the meeting was being held. This is nonsense, of course, but nevertheless typical of the kind of empty technical loopholes that arrogant privileged zillionaires and their minions seem to believe are all it takes for them to evade their legal obligations.2
And so on December 18, 2019, in accordance with the procedures mandated by the Brown Act,3 I sent them a letter demanding that they unconditionally commit never to ever require people to sign in to attend their meetings and informing them that if they didn’t completely obey me within 30 days I was going to file a petition asking a judge to (metaphorically) slap some damn sense into them.
And lo! Just yesterday, TAS’s metaphorically mobbed up lawyer Wayne K. Strumpfer of privatizing powerhouse law firm Young Minney & Corr, who’s basically a liar and enabler of outlawry but evidently knows a losing position when his clients manage to back themselves into one, sent me a letter utterly and abjectly capitulating to my demand!
But before he got around to the utter abjection Dr. Strumpfer went on and on and on explaining to me that The Accelerated Schools actually did nothing wrong, that I pretty much made everything up, that his clients only acted according to the very highest motivations, and that requiring people to sign in to attend meetings is how TAS prevents school shootings! And I guess that that’s working because as far as I know they haven’t had any.
On that subject, it’s interesting that Strumpfer doesn’t say a word about the fact that TAS chooses to have its meetings on school grounds during school hours when schoolchildren are present even after parents have been pleading with the board literally for years to have meetings in the evening so that working people have a chance to attend. One might think that having meetings at times when no kids were around would be a more effective way to protect the kids than having people sign a piece of paper, but admittedly I know nothing whatsoever about whatever kind of eleven dimensional galaxy brain hypercrapola in which these TAS people and their shyster lawyer have earned an average of 2.7 Ph.Ds each.4
In any case Dr. Wayne finally gets around to the actual point, which is that they don’t want to get sued by me so dammit, they concede everything! The only actual concrete effect of this concession5 is that if they ever require people to sign in to their meetings I can sue them without giving them notice or even asking them to stop. Which I totally will do, by the way! So that’s a little victory over the satanic minions of privatization. Read on for a complete transcription of Wayne K. Strumpfer’s jittery little surrender letter!
Re: Your Cease and Desist Letter to The Accelerated Schools Board
Dear Mr. [Kohlhaas]:
Our office serves as general counsel for The Accelerated Schools Board. On December 18, 2019, you delivered a letter via email that demands “The Accelerated Schools cease and desist from violating the Brown Act as described below and to request that, in order to avoid costly and unnecessary litigation,” The Accelerated Schools Board respond “with an unconditional commitment to so cease and desist.”
Your letter claims The Accelerated Schools Board violated the Brown Act at their October 24, 2019, meeting when you were informed by an employee of school that you were required to sign your name to a sheet in order to be admitted to the part of campus where the meeting was being held.
The Accelerated Schools is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation that operates public charter schools. As required in Education Code Section 47604.1, The Accelerated Schools Board of Directors complies with the Brown Act. Government Code Section 54953.3 states a “member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a legislative body of a local agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance.”
The Accelerated Schools, like a large majority of public schools throughout California and the nation, are taking campus security very seriously. We are sure you are aware of the tragic events at schools across the country over the past seven years. Because the October 24, 2019, Board meeting was held on ACES Elementary School grounds during classroom hours, The Accelerated Schools Board of Directors believed it was in the best interest of student safety to require all visitors to follow visitor policy. This included signing in at the front office.
With that said, The Accelerated Schools Board does not wish to enter into litigation with you over this issue at this time. Therefore, the Board of Directors acknowledges it has received your cease and desist letter dated December 18, 2019 alleging that the following described past action of the legislative body violates the Ralph M. Brown Act:
At the October 24, 2019, The Accelerated Schools Board meeting, you were informed by an employee of The Accelerated Schools that you were required to sign your name to a sheet in order to be admitted to the part of campus where the meeting was being held.
In order to avoid unnecessary litigation and without admitting any violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, the The Accelerated Schools Board hereby unconditionally commits that it will cease, desist from, and not repeat the challenged past action as described above. Going forward, The Accelerated Schools will hold their Board meetings in an area that can be confined without providing access to our school campuses so that signing in for security purposes will not be necessary or required, but only voluntary.
The Accelerated Schools Board may rescind this commitment only by a majority vote of its membership taken in open session at a regular meeting and noticed on its posted agenda as “Rescission of Brown Act Commitment.” You will be provided with written notice, sent by any means or media you provide in response to this message, to whatever address or addresses you specify, of any intention to consider rescinding this commitment at least 30 days before any such regular meeting. In the event that this commitment is rescinded, you will have the right to commence legal action pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 54960 of the Government Code. That notice will be delivered to you by the same means as this commitment or may be mailed to an address that you have designated in writing.
This unconditional commitment shall be approved by The Accelerated Schools Board in open session at the next regular meeting as a separate item of business, and not on the consent calendar. Nothing in this letter shall be construed or admissible as evidence of a violation of the Brown Act pursuant to Government Code Section 54960.2(c)(4).
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Very Truly Yours,
LAW OFFICES OF YOUNG, MINNEY & CORR, LLP
Wayne K. Strumpfer
ATTORNEY AT LAW
Image of self-proclaimed lawyer H. Wayne K. Strumpfer is ©2020 MichaelKohlhaas.org and here’s a link to its third cousin once removed, at least according to family lore and legend.
- Which states, in exceedingly unequivocal terms, that “A member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a legislative body of a local agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance.”
- It’s not by accident that such folks think that as it applies to them the law is nothing but a bunch of empty technical loopholes that allow them to evade all its obligations. For the most part that’s true in practice, whatever the theory might suggest. It just happens not to be true for the Brown Act or the Public Records Act, for that matter. They still have a long way to go before they’ll understand this difference.
- At §594960.2.
- I’m counting Ed.Ds as Ph.Ds here, which isn’t strictly fair because Ed.Ds are about 9.62 times harder to get than Ph.Ds, just ask anyone who has one!
- Aside from giving me an excuse to mock them incessantly, not that I need an excuse.