By Jessica Lloyd-Rogers of Lakeside, Oregon. Jessica is the editor and publisher of the Coast Lake News, a weekly print newspaper that serves Lakeside and the surrounding area.
With unintended irony, the Lakeside City Council unanimously voted in their July meeting to violate residents' Fourth Amendment rights when they passed an ordinance which allows city officials or designees to enter private property at will to search for code violations without a prior complaint.
Despite public comments from City Attorney Frederick J. Carleton that, "We are not after the money, we are after curing the problem,"the new ordinance also more than tripled fines from $200 per day per violation to $750 per day per violation.
To be fair, it is possible that the Mayor Pro Tem Rod Schilling, Councilors and the City Attorney did not intend to violate the U.S. Constitution or "go after the money". Those portions of the ordinance might have been an oversight that could have been discovered and changed with input from the public. That input was prevented by the secretive actions surrounding the adoption of the ordinance.
There was no public notice and the item was not listed on the agenda. Brought up under "Items Not on the Agenda" the Ordinance was referred to only by number and once by title before being immediately adopted without discussion.
Not content with violating the Fourth Amendment and Oregon's Public Meeting Law, the Council's procedure violates the City Charter and continues a pattern of secrecy and targeting citizens. And, of course, these are the folks who all ran on a platform of 'open and transparent' government.