A secretive men’s-only retreat hosted by an elite club that has included former U.S. presidents and business leaders will pay for security protection from a Northern California county after a majority of women on the board of supervisors on Tuesday reluctantly approved a $151,000 contract.
The three women and two men on the Sonoma County board unanimously approved the contract with the Bohemian Grove, a private campground owned by the exclusive Bohemian Club. It was the 15th consecutive year that a security contract was approved. The contract would reimburse the sheriff’s department for staff time and vehicle-related costs. Several supervisors cited the short period of time between their vote and the July 10-28 event as the reason for approving the deal.
“The concern was we could jeopardize public safety if they were not able to come up with a plan B before encampment,” Supervisor Lynda Hopkins explained in a phone interview after the vote. She feared that even the wealthy, influential Bohemian Club might not be able to find a security detail because of the volume of events held in the summer and the need to book security “many, many months” in advance.
Women on the board had criticized the club at a meeting last week for excluding women from its event. They questioned whether the county should do business with an entity they say discriminates against women.
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