California: Open meeting law sees action

California government agencies are struggling with the demands of the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. In the south, Los Angeles County prosecutors are looking into allegations the one member of the Temple City Unified District school board used a closed session to criticize and attack fellow board members. Actions of board members are not a topic for closed sessions under the act. (Pasadena Star-News, February 20, 2013, by Brenda Gazzar)

On the coast, Newport Beach boating enthusiasts are suing the city over an increase in dock fees alleging that an ad hoc committee held several meetings on the topic without publishing an agenda, announcing the meetings in advance or inviting the public, a violation of the Brown Act.  The city claims that the committee was a working group and did not constitute a quorum of the city council so was not subject to the open meeting law. (Daily Pilot, February 20, 2013, by Jill Cowan)

An Orange County Register editorial suggests that the Newport council rescind their vote for the fee increase and submit the measure to the voters in 2014.

The north end of the state also found themselves entangled in a Brown Act dispute, this one over personnel changes made by the board of the Humboldt County Fair Association. Critics alleged that the board made decisions on an interim appointment without listing the item on the agenda. (Humboldt Sentinel, February 20, 2013, by Skippy Massey)-db