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I attended the Friends of Kate Sessions meeting at the Soledad Club on May 18 after receiving an email invitation. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m., but the gates were locked and the parking lot vacant until approximately 5:30. This community meeting, held the third Tuesday of each month, addresses community, crime, and quality-of-life issues in the Kate Sessions Park neighborhood.

I’d attended with the intention of giving my “Friends” an opportunity to share their side of the story regarding the 24-hour alcohol-ban proposal, having been informed that board member Richard Kiser felt my previous issue-related article, “Wake Up, Speak Up,” was a bit “one-sided.” But, things did not go as I’d hoped.

As I took a seat, an elderly female board member, who'd been asking community members to sign in, approached me with clipboard in hand. “Will you please sign in?” she asked. “Do I have to?” I asked. After an awkward pause, she said, “Well, no, but we really like you to.” “No, thank you. I’ll pass,” I said.

Then, board member Richard Kiser leaned back in his chair, spread his arms wide, and began to address me before the meeting began. At one point he introduced me as “Carolyn…the writer notorious for changing the facts” and referenced my “Wake Up, Speak Up” article. Kiser didn’t identify any fact(s) I’d “changed” in that piece or any other article. He then added, “She’s also the second signature on the online petition opposing the 24-hour Kate Sessions Ban.” (To view the petition click here.)

“You can’t videotape people if they don’t want to be videotaped,” said a board member. “In a public meeting?” I asked. “This is a board meeting,” said a member. “That’s it. Everybody quiet,” said Kiser, making a silencing gesture with his arm. “Is it illegal to videotape at a public meeting?” I asked. “Yes, it is, unless you have authorization…you can’t do it,” said a board member. “I think we can confiscate your camera. Would you like us to?” “What is the reason for doing this, by the way?” said another.

“I’m a stringer for the news. I’m a stringer — I write, I report.” “Do you have your credentials with you?” asked a board member, despite the fact that my identity had been established by Kiser. When I offered my driver’s license as identification, board members’ responses overlapped: “No,” and “Sorry, that doesn’t fulfill the obligations…” “What part of this don’t you get?” said Kiser more than once and, “We have a policy of no cameras in the building.” “We have our board meetings every third Tuesday of the month. It’s the third Tuesday of the month, and we’re requesting you do not videotape,” said a female board member who then phoned the police. When I asked if this was the Friends of Kate Sessions meeting, a board member responded, "This is City Beautiful of San Diego."

I managed to record a few minutes of these interactions before I obliged the board’s request for me to leave the meeting. I then phoned the police to make sure they were coming, as I wanted to share my experience with them.

“The way [Kiser] came across was very hateful from the moment he opened his mouth,” said an attendee. “It’s not something one would ever expect from a board at a public meeting. It was vicious...scary, really.”

As I was exiting, a board member pointed to the woman who attended the meeting with me (who hadn’t said a word, snapped a photo, or recorded video) and said, “She’s with her. She has to leave, too.” And, so, she did.

“These people are out of control,” said a community member. “Power-hungry, self-appointed volunteers who don’t want the public knowing…how they push things through to suit their own agenda. This has been going on for years. Good for you for exposing it.”

I explained what had happened to the SDPD upon their arrival. “It’s a civil issue,” an officer told me. “Not much we can do. If you feel your civil rights have been violated, you should contact an attorney. But, that doesn’t change the outcome today.”

The two officers disappeared down the cement stairway to speak with the Friends board while I waited in the parking lot. When the officers returned, they shared the Friends’ statements with me. “They said this is a private meeting…that it wasn’t noticed anywhere. It wasn’t open to the public. The public wasn’t invited.”

To watch a video from the meeting click here.

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Comments

LosAltos50 May 20, 2010 @ 9:36 p.m.

Interesting meeting.

A few years back I received a letter to join the Friends group and asking for a donation. I do not recall it saying anything about being a private club.

The website of the SDPD also has this listed as one of the monthly community meetings that take place in the beach area http://www.sandiego.gov/police/neighborhood/ncm.shtml
According to this, the third Tuesday of the month is the meeting that the author attended (or attempted to attend). Based on the City's own website I feel it's logical that this would be presumed a public meeting by any person attending for the first time.

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David Dodd May 20, 2010 @ 11:18 p.m.

What was it that Tip O'Neill said? Oh, yeah. Something about all politics being local. This is so typical of the crap that infests San Diego, the very people that run this meeting want to run all of San Diego, and they want to do it THEIR way, and damn-it-all, they don't want the public knowing about it (unless that's to their advantage, of course). This was listed as a public meeting and Kiser ran you out of it.

Kiser is a jerk, he'll show up here eventually, spewing his stupidity, and then (as with all passive-aggresives) stroke you in another thread in a different story. The Soledad Club's non-profit status should be changed, if it pretends to hold public meetings and then tosses out members of the press. I bet the State of California, hungry for money, would be interested in this story on many levels.

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David Dodd May 20, 2010 @ 11:19 p.m.

Oh, and Carolyn, as usual, outstanding job, you really rock at this.

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Duhbya May 21, 2010 @ 5:37 a.m.

Hi, refried. His exact quote was "All politics is local." Another notable one was "It's easier to run for office than to run the office."

I agree about Carolyn's work here. Very enlightening and informative. Congrats.

Sounds like the term "Soledad Club" might have more than one meaning.

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David Dodd May 21, 2010 @ 7:22 a.m.

Hey Duhbya. I like how O'Neill is still quoteable even today. And if I was a journalism major at SDSU, I think I would follow Matteo around in my spare time, because she has an amazing knack for finding stories. They can teach anyone to write, but they can't teach being in the right place at the right time. If I ever meet her in person, I'm going to try and get her to rub the top of my head and pass me along some of that karma.

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Duhbya May 21, 2010 @ 10 a.m.

Back atchya, Refried. So if she has a "nose for the news", and rubs your head, I guess you'll wind up with a "noggin for the news". I lived in Boston for a year in the mid-eighties, and had dealings with some folks who had O'Neill as a client. On a couple of occasions I visited them just after he had been there. There was a palbable energy pulsing throughout their office, as if they had just gulped down a gallon of espresso. Apparently he had that effect on people.

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David Dodd May 21, 2010 @ 10:26 a.m.

Even though he was considered as an extreme liberal by the right, conservatives admired O'Neill. I remember reading Buckley in National Review, there was a good measure of respect when he spoke of Tip. I think that O'Neill had a great understanding of what it took for those on either side of the aisle to co-exist in all things beltway-related. 2010 could use a guy like that, regardless of his ideology.

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FOKSP June 18, 2010 @ 10:26 a.m.

Let's set the record straight.

On May 18th, the Board of Directors of City Beautiful of San Diego, Inc. (CB) held it's monthly board meeting. City Beautiful is a 501 (c) (3) organization, operation of which is governed by the state's incorporation statutes. These generally allow the organization's bylaws to state the policy with respect to open or closed meetings.

The CB Bylaws state the following with respect to meetings:

Section 5.10 Member Attendance Only at Board Meetings Unless By Invitation. Unless by written invitation from the President, only members of the Board of Directors may attend board meetings.

Carolyn Matteo did not receive an invitation to attend this meeting as she states. There was no public notice given for the meeting as it was a private meeting. The board was under no obligation to allow her to stay. Although she identified herself as a journalist, she is clearly known to be an advocate for opposition to proposals set forth by the Friends of Kate Sessions Park, as evidenced by her signature (#2) on the online petition against the 24 hour ban on alcohol at Kate Sessions Park. Although identified as a hostile participant at our meeting, she was advised that this was a meeting of the BOD of CB and she could stay for the duration if she was willing to turn off her video and other recoring devices. She refused, continued to act in a disruptive manner and was then asked to leave the meeting. It was only when we finally called the police to remove her from the meeting did she reluctantly leave.

Note: Friends of Kate Sessions Parks currently operates under CB. On occasion, FOKSP has held public meetings regarding issues at Kate Sessions Park. These meetings are publicly and adequately noticed.

Michelle Youngers Board Member, City Beautiful of SD

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Grasca June 18, 2010 @ 11:31 a.m.

Thanks for setting the record straight. The same stringer also took liberties with the account of the Community Parks 1 meeting where the volunteers unanimously supported a 24 hour alcohol ban at Kate Sessions Neighborhood Park. Because this stringer has been taken to task by some, she has resorted to violating SD Reader policies numerous times as it relates to printing names of bloggers who choose to be anonymous and even invited readers to contact her offsite for more information about one person. Many feel that it time for this person to be banned from the site. I hope that the Administration upholds the Terms of Use and considers this step. It sets a bad example to let a flagrant disregard of Reader stated policies to continue.

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CuddleFish June 18, 2010 @ 11:56 a.m.

Thanks, Michelle.

Those of us who really cared to investigate the matter, and knew what was involved from our own experience as volunteers who are involved in Park and Recreation committees, had a clear understanding of each of the issues you have described.

I personally contacted the San Diego Police Officer involved in this incident, and he verified the account which you have now given. At the time, I considered posting a response which would set the record straight, but decided against it, as there are people who will not believe the plain facts when it does not jibe with their world view.

As I detailed in another post, Carolyn Matteo posted a highly biased and incorrect story regarding the alcohol ban, then fabricated another identity in order to come in and praise her own work, and attack posters. In a recent story, she posted the presumed name of a poster, first the first name, then when the Reader removed that post, the full name, then when the Reader removed that post, offered to give information about that poster to anyone who contacted her through her email. This sort of abusive and vindictive harassment is clearly in violation of the TOS.

It was clear to me from one of the first stories she posted that she was more trouble than she would ever be worth, falsely identifying herself as a reporter, and apologizing to officials in the City on behalf of The Reader. The Reader has indulged this woman, and it will be much to this site's detriment if they continue to do so, in my opinion.

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SDaniels June 18, 2010 @ 6:44 p.m.

I'm a neutral observer here, for the most part, but huh? to #10's statement:

"Many feel that it time for this person to be banned from the site."

Who are these many?...Many identities or individuals? (Let's get that straight, since the author and some posters appear to resort to alternate identities).

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David Dodd June 18, 2010 @ 7:42 p.m.

"Who are these many?"

Everyone involved with a 501(c)(3). Reporters often find out where the money goes. It isn't supposed to go toward politics, and even their ability to lobby is strictly controlled, supposedly. Obviously, there are "irregularities". Otherwise, why would a non-profit conduct closed meetings? Just because they can? Matteo does a great job, she has a nose for this sort of thing.

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Grasca June 18, 2010 @ 8:46 p.m.

The SD Reader administration thought the stringer postings about one person were so out of line that the entire story where the violations occurred was removed. Gone in a blink of the eye. Many individuals are concerned about honoring the Terms of Use clearly included on the SD Reader website which gives bloggers the right to post using a screen name. The stringer in question finds a need to "out" someone by providing a presumed real name and other information to all interested parties. In my opinion these clumsy, immature acts border on harassment and are obvious attempts to shut down comments by one commentator. I do recall that certain French pigs have great noses for truffle hunting.

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Grasca June 18, 2010 @ 8:51 p.m.

Just for the record I have one screen name and no more.

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Grasca June 18, 2010 @ 9:11 p.m.

Truffle hog vs truffle dog from Wikipedia. Who knew.

"Looking for truffles in open ground is almost always carried out with specially trained pigs (truffle hogs) or, more recently, dogs. The Lagotto Romagnolo is currently the only breed recognised for sniffing out truffles (although virtually any breed could be trained for this use).

The female pig's natural truffle seeking as well as her usual intent to eat the truffle is due to a compound within the truffle similar to androstenol, the sex pheromone of boar saliva, to which the sow is keenly attracted."

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David Dodd June 18, 2010 @ 9:15 p.m.

"The SD Reader administration thought the stringer postings about one person were so out of line that the entire story where the violations occurred was removed."

I find it interesting that the SD Reader administration would reveal this information to someone who neither blogs on their site nor writes for the publication.

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CuddleFish June 18, 2010 @ 9:40 p.m.

Deflecting attention away from reprehensible and outrageous conduct by blaming the victim.

Disgusting, if you ask me.

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Grasca June 18, 2010 @ 9:45 p.m.

I seriously doubt if SD Reader administration consults with writers and blog owners before editorial decisions are made. Prove me wrong.

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SurfPuppy619 June 18, 2010 @ 11:11 p.m.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Oh-oh, we are speaking latin legal terms again..............

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Grasca June 18, 2010 @ 11:33 p.m.

It's not pig latin and dogs are mentioned in the truffle post.

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Grasca June 19, 2010 @ 9:55 a.m.

Ernest Hemingway's third wife, the war correspondent, has returned to write another day.

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carolyngrace1111 June 19, 2010 @ 12:41 p.m.

Re: Post #26 -

Final paragraph of the above article states:

"Friends of Kate Sessions meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Soledad Club on 5000 Soledad Rd. For more information, call Michelle Youngers at (858) 625-9261 ext. 107"

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CuddleFish June 19, 2010 @ 12:59 p.m.

So let's go through this interesting episode. Tell us, Carolyn, if you care to:

Michelle Younger clearly documents in her posting that according to their bylaws, people can attend the closed-door Board meetings by invitation only.

Who "invited" you to this Board meeting? Care to share that email with us? Did this person have that authority?

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nan shartel June 19, 2010 @ 5:47 p.m.

9

yeah...let's set the record straight


Let's set the record straight.

On May 18th, the Board of Directors of City Beautiful of San Diego, Inc. (CB) held it's monthly board meeting. City Beautiful is a 501 (c) (3) organization, operation of which is governed by the state's incorporation statutes. These generally allow the organization's bylaws to state the policy with respect to open or closed meetings.

The CB Bylaws state the following with respect to meetings:

Section 5.10 Member Attendance Only at Board Meetings Unless By Invitation. Unless by written invitation from the President, only members of the Board of Directors may attend board meetings.

Carolyn Matteo did not receive an invitation to attend this meeting as she states. There was no public notice given for the meeting as it was a private meeting. The board was under no obligation to allow her to stay. Although she identified herself as a journalist, she is clearly known to be an advocate for opposition to proposals set forth by the Friends of Kate Sessions Park, as evidenced by her signature (#2) on the online petition against the 24 hour ban on alcohol at Kate Sessions Park. Although identified as a hostile participant at our meeting, she was advised that this was a meeting of the BOD of CB and she could stay for the duration if she was willing to turn off her video and other recoring devices. She refused, continued to act in a disruptive manner and was then asked to leave the meeting. It was only when we finally called the police to remove her from the meeting did she reluctantly leave.

Note: Friends of Kate Sessions Parks currently operates under CB. On occasion, FOKSP has held public meetings regarding issues at Kate Sessions Park. These meetings are publicly and adequately noticed.

Michelle Youngers Board Member, City Beautiful of SD


if someone has a differing opinion they're hostile???

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Grasca June 19, 2010 @ 6:30 p.m.

Yes. When an uninvited person is allowed to attend a private meeting if they observe certain requests/rules and then refuse. I doubt if many of us have needed to call the SDPD to remove someone who is not hostile or threatening. Unfortunately, the FOKSP were put in that position by someone who is old enough to know better. It is the old Terms of Use argument about the same individual but the FOKSP had the courage to enforce their rules when the Reader does not.

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CuddleFish June 19, 2010 @ 7:01 p.m.

You don't know the whole story, nan.

But even taking the story as presented here, on it's face, Matteo was deceitful on several counts. Combined with other instances of deceptive, unethical, hostile, vindictive conduct which I have detailed on many threads, it is hardly a matter of differing opinions. Matteo's conduct has clearly violated the Terms of Service. It is beyond severely disappointing that the Reader has done nothing to resolve this situation. But then, that does seem to be their pattern.

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CuddleFish June 19, 2010 @ 7:40 p.m.

Carolyn Matteo clearly states in her article that she was "invited" to the Board meeting. Was there actually an invitation, or was that another lie? If there was an invitation, who sent it? Was that person authorized to extend the invitation? Watching the (edited) video of the meeting is revealing on this point. No one sitting at the table stands to say, "I invited Matteo." If Matteo is interested in preserving what can laughingly be called her integrity (and I doubt she is interested), she can still come forward and provide that information.

Further, even though she came to the meeting uninvited (assuming what is the most likely case), according to Ms. Younger's post, and the account from the police officers, and even her own video, Matteo could have stayed if she turned off her recording equipment. Matteo states in her article that she had "attended with the intention of giving my “Friends” an opportunity to share their side of the story regarding the 24-hour alcohol-ban proposal."

We don't know if the alcohol ban proposal was on the Board's agenda that evening, however, Matteo may have been given the opportunity to speak on this matter had she merely stuck to her stated purpose and complied with the Board President's request not to videotape a private function. Surely she did not need the camera to be turned on to speak, or to listen. No one would have stopped her from taking notes. She further had a witness with her who would have verified anything that was said.

The video shows that Matteo was aggressive and combative and baiting the Board. She had come to a private function she had not been invited to, and was not welcome. She would not comply with the Board's requests. Without knowing what was edited out of the video, it is apparent that her conduct was so disruptive that police had to be called to have her removed. Again, I personally spoke to the police officer in this matter and he verified what Ms. Younger stated in her post.

Given all this, one can not help but come to the conclusion that in fact Matteo's purposes were very different than what she claims. She manufactured that whole confrontation to suit her purposes, and the Board fell for it.

Add manipulative to Matteo's list of qualities. Oh yes, indeed, it is no surprise that her supporters here admire her so much.

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Grasca June 20, 2010 @ 7:08 a.m.

May we please see or hear the invitation which was allegedly offered to the person in question ? I suspect that the person got the time of the meeting wrong because she read it from outdated information on the web and never was contacted personally with an invitation to a private event. Since the person in question documents local events with a keen reporter's sense of fairness, the invitation should be easy to produce and put the controversy to rest. I don't "crash" events and expect the big abrazo (hug for those who don't speak Spanish) and personally have never been removed by SDPD from a meeting. If the person in question had abided by the requests of the board members, then there would have been no incident and no story which earned the person in question money from the SD Reader which seems to have a soft spot for some who brazenly violate their stated Terms of Use. As a contributor who was forced to report the person in question 4 times in less than five minutes for the person in question's violations, I take this very seriously. The person in question found it necessary to broadcast my presumed name 3 times (removed by admin) and then gave a link to her email so those interested in my uninteresting self could get more info about me (comment removed by admin) but the person in question is still alowed to write and be paid by the Reader. Puzzling to me. The person in question went on to make an entry in another form where she again states my presumed name and makes questionable remarks about my uninteresting self. All this because there is a difference of opinion ? Overkill. I would like to know why the person in question has not been banned.

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CuddleFish June 20, 2010 @ 7:45 a.m.

Matteo's silence speaks for itself.

I had noticed the inconsistencies in her story about her invitation and the odd fact that the location was not open when she arrived there when I first read the story. The lie about the invitation was made abundantly clear by the rest of the story, and particularly in the video. No one stood to say that they had invited Matteo. Matteo herself did not point to anyone in the room and say, "This person invited me." She did not say that to the police officers who responded to the incident. In her video, she insists that she is at a "public meeting." All of this is clear indication that in fact she read wrong information from the Internet and went to the meeting with the deliberation intention of disrupting it, then presenting her edited version of how she was presumably mistreated and thrown out of the meeting.

Ms. Matteo is perfectly free to prove me wrong. Provide the invitation.

Oh, and while she's at it, she can also disclaim that she was not using a manufactured identity on another of her threads to support her story and attack posters.

And when she's done with that, she can also tell us how she was not violating the TOS by revealing the presumed name of a poster, not once, not twice, but three times, on this site (and has gone so far as to post that information on a social networking site), and why this is not harassing, abusive, and vindictive conduct.

Oh wait. I guess the Reader should be explaining that part.

I suspect the silence will last quite a while longer.

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robmarkg July 10, 2010 @ 10:49 a.m.

Carolyn Grace has really done a great service by exposing the closed door policies and close minded attitude of the "Friends of Kate Sessions" club. People like "Grasca" and "Cuddlefish" should be ashamed of themselves for trying to get her censored. Ms. Grace really did the community a great service by exposing these small minded people, and that is exactly what journalists are supposed to do. Clearly the Friends of Kate Sessions group has become corrupt, and there should be a much more aggressive investigation.

Sincerely

Rob Gordon Pacific Beach

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