COMMENTARY: Recent Court Opinion on the Decisions by Local Leaders Raises Questions

How elected and appointed officials have failed to support the greater community's interests

A recent Monterey County Superior Court ruling “that San Benito County unlawfully approved a new oil-development project near Pinnacles National Park,” speaks of the lack of learned examination and study on important concerns. 

The court agreed with the claimant “that the San Benito County unlawfully failed to consider development… as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.” An action, as the judge states, is unlawful. “The court also found that the county failed to properly analyze” critical elements required of any acceptable and thoughtful analysis, i.e., “the water usage, water pollution risks, greenhouse gas emissions, and threats to the California condor — even from the initial 15-well approval.” 

The Monterey superior court judge’s opinion and censure focused on the scholarly inability and inadequate decision making analysis of the San Benito County, i.e., the “county failed to properly analyze.”

The fact that many San Benito County residents share in the disappointment, insufficiency, and incapacity of proper decision making of our officials – both elected and appointed, is demoralizing.  Our officials have demonstrated that they do not pursue an acceptable level of intellectual analysis as is required to govern. This is a dangerous ritual! Such inadequacies have profound implications on our daily quality of life. A lack of in-depth analysis regarding public policy decisions that affect the greater community’s interest is wanting.

The “unlawful failure” of the county “to properly analyze… the oil field beyond the initial 15 ‘pilot’” decision, by the San Benito County Board of Supervisors, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act, raises questions of the ordinary and interest-driven leadership – at all levels of governance.

The Monterey County Court judge’s ruling and criticism of the San Benito County Board’s decision in the Pinnacles National Park case can be extended to national, state and local leadership’s misreading and lack of scholarly examination of the law. 

This includes the Hollister City Council's misreading, misunderstanding, and total lack of appreciation for the U.S. Constitution, especially when it comes to privacy and civil liberty concerns – a common sense course of legislative operation for any governing body.

Luis Burguillo

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.