Council members secretly meet with Alliance

Government by Secrecy :  Botts, Hanna, Robinson holding illegal secret meetings with Banning Cultural Alliance


4/1/10 – Conspiring against all citizens of Banning, three City Council members have been attending secret meetings organized by the Banning Cultural Alliance. The meetings , held under the ambiguous name “Banning Revitalization Initiative”, are conducted in secrecy : the public is not allowed to attend, there is no agenda available, no minutes are published and the time and location is being withheld.  According to press reports the meetings are aimed at shaping City policy.

Based on those reports, Banning activist Chuck Katz called the Executive Director of the Banning Cultural Alliance, Carol Newkirk, to confirm the private nature of those meetings. “Carol Newkirk told me on the phone that nobody from the public can attend the meetings”,  Katz says.



According to a Record Gazette article of December 11, 2009 (view), Mayor Botts and Council members Barbara Hanna and Don Robinson have been attending the secret meetings. Also present has been at least one member of Banning City Staff :   John Jansons , the City’s Redevelopment Manager. The foregoing was confirmed by another – more recent – Record Gazette article of March 26, 2010 (view).

Legally, these circumstances make the  “Banning Revitalization Initiative”  a “standing committee” or “subsidiary committee” of the City Council. With two (or three) Council members meeting behind closed doors, this makes it a “per se”  meeting of the Council.  According to  the Ralph M. Brown Act ( see pamphlet, pgs. VI, VII) those meetings must be held publicly and therefore any Council Members  who attend  violate the Act.

Meets in secret with Cultural Alliance : Bob Botts

Meets in secret with Cultural Alliance : Barbara Hanna

Meets in secret with Cultural Alliance : Don Robinson

Furthermore, the City Council has never voted to send City Staff to any of these meetings. The Council has not even once acknowledged that any of those meetings are even taking place – we had to learn about them from press articles.

This raises the question : who’s idea was it to attend those meetings ? who ordered Mr. Jansons to attend the meetings ? Is this another example of “Council pressure” ?  The Grand Jury recently criticized the City Council for  “micromanaging” in order to control City Staff’s actions. – the Grand Jury found this condition to be one of the core problems of Banning’s government. Did Mr. Jansons act upon higher “orders” when he attended those secret meetings ? And, if so, who gave him those orders ?



The public needs to realize that the ugly Banning Cultural Alliance is at it again :  In full cooperation with three City Council members they set out to develop City policy in secrecy by holding meetings at which you – the citizens of Banning – are not welcome !

Wake up folks: you are being betrayed by oppressive Council members Bob Botts, Barbara Hanna and Don Robinson who show that they have no for respect for the principles of “open government”. Could they show more clearly that they couldn’t care less about your rights as citizens ? By the way, these are the same Council members who are also responsible for unconditionally overfunding the Cultural Alliance to the tune of $ 162,000, ( see Grand Jury Report).

What else are the City Council members discussing there that we don’t know about ? Is the Cultural Alliance secretly forging  plans with the City Council members to avoid repayment of the $ 162,000 that the Grand Jury says they owe ? Will we ever know what is really going on there behind closed doors ?



One of the fundamental principles of any legitimate government is that all policy decisions are to be developed in public. The people must be given the opportunity to attend all meetings. Agendas must be published beforehand, the time and location of all meetings must be disclosed. Only in a dictatorship is secrecy an element of governance.

Furthermore, this is yet another episode which goes to show that the Banning Cultural Alliance is not really about “art” or “culture”. Nobody  managing the Cultural Alliance holds an art degree. In reality , these parasites are focused on exercising uncontrollable political power over you, the citizens of Banning – in secret : they function as an illegal , unelected, yet taxpayer financed “Shadow Government” that conspires with certain Banning Council members.

With that said, the Banning Cultural Alliance – and the 3 Council members who are in bed with them –  constitute a great threat to the liberty and self determination of all citizens of Banning. And with the illegal actions of Mayor Botts and Council members Barbara Hanna and Don “taxdodger” Robinson, you – the citizens of Banning  – are being sold down the river, no questions asked. This is what you call an oppressive government. The citizens of Banning need to take back their City : three Banning City Council members are now totally out of control .