Is the Sun Shining Into the Irvine Community Land Trust?

In a previous article, I asked: Is the Irvine Community Land Trust Becoming a Black Box to the Public? This article will answer that question.

Background: ICLT Discontinued the Zoom Option for Public Attendance at Meetings

In 2023, the Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT) had Zoom as an option to watch ICLT meeting. Of course, many people cannot attend a 4 pm weekday meeting in person. So, the Zoom option allowed more public attendance and, therefore, more transparency. However, in the last few months, the Zoom option was not available. When asked via the ICLT email contact form the reason that the Zoom attendance option did not exist anymore, Executive Director Billy Hughes never replied.

Since in the past ICLT tried to limit public attendance*, this was a concern. The possibility of ICLT once again attempting to reduced transparency prompted me to write  the following article: Is the Irvine Community Land Trust Becoming a Black Box to the Public?

In that article, I asked community members to attend the March 18 ICLT meeting in person or send an email, and ask the that ICLT restate the Zoom option.

Update: Was the Zoom Option Reinstated and Did Transparency Win Out?

The short answer is Yes. At least partially, I hope. However, we will need to keep an eye on this to ensure that ICLT operates in a transparent manner.

Following are the details:

From feedback I have received, it seems that community members did send a lot of emails asking that the Zoom attendance option be reinstated. After the March 18 ICLT meeting, I sent a new email to Hughes asking if the Zoom options for ICLT meetings was reinstated. Hughes answer, with a caveat, was Yes.

Hughes said the ICLT board members discussed this at the March 18 board meeting and decided to reinstate the Zoom option for public attendance. However, he also said that physical changes had to be make to the current meeting location to facilitate Zoom access. He further stated that this was underway, and they hoped to have it ready by the next ICLT board meeting. The next ICLT board meeting is April 15.

Also, ICLT was also considering holding the board meetings less than once a month. However, at the March 18 meeting, the board decided to continue meeting once a month. Upcoming meetings are currently scheduled at 4 pm on the third Monday of each month.

So, transparency at ICLT looks promising, but we need to monitor it to make sure.

More Sunlight Still Needed at ICLT

Although it seems that the more sun will be shining into ICLT, more improvements are still needed.  To achieve that, the following should be posted on the ICLT website:

  • Anticipated meeting dates for this year as well as the meeting time
  • Agendas for meetings before each meeting
  • Meeting minutes for all upcoming ICLT meetings after they are approved by the board
  • Meeting minutes for January, February, March 2024

And to further increase the ability for community participation and transparency:

  • Post recordings of meetings
  • Ensure that easily accessible parking is available for those who chose to attend in person
  • Provide accommodations for the deaf, with meeting transcripts being one possibility

Notes

*For the last 12 years, the Land Trust held public Board meetings and posted all agendas and minutes on their website. However, five months ago, the Land Trust stopped following the Brown Act requirements and now the meetings and minutes are private.”Irvine Watchdog; October 22, 2018

If you want to do a dive into the good, bad, and ugly regarding the history of the Irvine Community Land Trust, see these Irvine Watchdog archives.