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 said Tuesday reluctantly voted to approve 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. Several supervisors cited the short period of time between their vote and the July 10-28 event as the reason for approving the deal.

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.

FILE - In this July 22, 2006 file photo, protesters Gary and Janet Evans of Sebastopol, Calif., try to talk with California Highway Patrol officers and Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies as they block off the entrance to the annual Bohemian Grove retreat, an exclusive California retreat for government and business leaders in Monte Rio, Calif. A retreat for members of the elite Bohemian Club is facing renewed scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors raised questions about whether sheriff's deputies should provide security for an event that discriminates by gender. Female supervisors say they were inspired by the #MeToo movement and in threats to women's rights nationally. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP, File)
FILE – In this July 22, 2006 file photo, protesters Gary and Janet Evans of Sebastopol, Calif., try to talk with California Highway Patrol officers and Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies as they block off the entrance to the annual Bohemian Grove retreat, an exclusive California retreat for government and business leaders in Monte Rio, Calif. A retreat for members of the elite Bohemian Club is facing renewed scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors raised questions about whether sheriff’s deputies should provide security for an event that discriminates by gender. Female supervisors say they were inspired by the #MeToo movement and in threats to women’s rights nationally. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP, File)

“We wouldn’t be up here even having this discussion if the Bohemian Club said No African-Americans allowed, no gays allowed, no Latinos allowed, no immigrants allowed or no Jews allowed,” Supervisor Shirlee Zane said Tuesday. “It’s scary right now to be a woman.”

Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose district includes Bohemian Grove where the retreat takes place, asked whether the county should do business with the Bohemian Club, even though a county attorney’s memo specified it could.

Hopkins said she understood some people thought “we should take the money and run,” but she questioned whether stationing deputies outside the campground would stretch the county’s resources and whether the amount of money appropriately compensated the county for the security services.

FILE - This July 17, 2015 file photo shows the entrance to the Bohemian Grove encampment in Monte Rio, Calif. A retreat for members of the elite Bohemian Club is facing renewed scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors raised questions about whether sheriff's deputies should provide security for an event that discriminates by gender. Female supervisors say they were inspired by the #MeToo movement and in threats to women's rights nationally. (Kent Porter/Press Democrat via AP, File)
FILE – This July 17, 2015 file photo shows the entrance to the Bohemian Grove encampment in Monte Rio, Calif. A retreat for members of the elite Bohemian Club is facing renewed scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors raised questions about whether sheriff’s deputies should provide security for an event that discriminates by gender. Female supervisors say they were inspired by the #MeToo movement and in threats to women’s rights nationally. (Kent Porter/Press Democrat via AP, File)

“What is the public benefit of contracting with this entity?” Hopkins asked.

Still, she approved the contract.

“I consider myself a gentleman,” Hopkins said tongue-in-cheek, explaining that the attention surrounding the controversy might create a public safety hazard. She also said she would need to be convinced of the public benefit of the arrangement or she would not approve future contracts with the sheriff’s department.

A man walks past the Bohemian Club's home Monday, June 10, 2019, in San Francisco. An elite Northern California men's retreat hosted by the exclusive Bohemian Club is facing scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after female supervisors from Sonoma County questioned whether they should allow sheriff's deputies to provide security for the event, which the supervisors say discriminates against women. While women can enter the club's San Francisco headquarters, they are barred from the annual July encampment where men reportedly relax and perform skits. (AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado)
A man walks past the Bohemian Club’s home Monday, June 10, 2019, in San Francisco. An elite Northern California men’s retreat hosted by the exclusive Bohemian Club is facing scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after female supervisors from Sonoma County questioned whether they should allow sheriff’s deputies to provide security for the event, which the supervisors say discriminates against women. While women can enter the club’s San Francisco headquarters, they are barred from the annual July encampment where men reportedly relax and perform skits. (AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado)

Supervisor Susan Gorin said the conversation about the retreat “should cause everybody to question how we support private clubs either through our sheriff’s contract or other tax benefits.”

Supervisor James Gore said he acknowledged his position of privilege as a “white dude” and that he learned a lot from his colleagues over the past week.

“I am inspired to be with a group of powerful women,” he said.

FILE - In this July 29, 1971 file photo is the roadway into the exclusive Bohemian Grove, a quiet encampment 80 miles north of San Francisco in Monte Rio, Calif. A retreat for members of the elite Bohemian Club is facing renewed scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors raised questions about whether sheriff's deputies should provide security for an event that discriminates by gender.  (AP Photo/Sal Veder, File)
FILE – In this July 29, 1971 file photo is the roadway into the exclusive Bohemian Grove, a quiet encampment 80 miles north of San Francisco in Monte Rio, Calif. A retreat for members of the elite Bohemian Club is facing renewed scrutiny for excluding women. This comes after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors raised questions about whether sheriff’s deputies should provide security for an event that discriminates by gender. (AP Photo/Sal Veder, File)

Representatives for the Bohemian Club have not responded to telephone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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