Alex Larson Activist, Environmentalist
Alex Larson is my hero. She should be everyone's hero in Palm Beach County. If you haven't heard her at Palm Beach County Commission meetings, you have missed our treasure who holds elected officials feet to the fire. Needless to say, most of the County Board of Commissioners hate her guts. That is a badge of honor.
Yesterday she was in court as a plaintiff in a suit against Palm Beach County on public meetings laws. The County allows three minutes for the public to speak on the entire Consent Agenda, some of which are big ticket items. The county complains that if someone from the public got to speak on all items for three minutes each, they would be in session for another 2.5 hours. They are elected to represent the people.
The plaintiff's argument is that the Consent Agenda restrictions constitute a deliberate dilution of the public's constitutional right to a redress of grievances.
The County's policy is the same as Lake Worth's but here in our city, we only get 2 minutes, not three. Also, our commission's mayor would not allow Commissioner McVoy to pull the general obligation bond that was placed on the Consent Agenda for discussion, the biggest ticket item in Lake Worth now going to the polls.
The judge told Alex Larson and her co-petitioner, Fane Lozman, that their suit can proceed. Alex says she is going to win the suit and when she does, this will change Lake Worth's policy as well. It's really too bad that we have to sue for rights and spend our money but thank God for the First Amendment.