California open government roundup: Watchdog brings Brown Act suit in firing of ex-con who headed Marin County law library

A local watchdog of the Marin County Law Library is suing the library’s board for violating the the state’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, in obscuring reasons for firing the head librarian who had served time in prison. (Marin Independent Journal, January 1, 2016, by Gary Klien)

The Long Beach City Council is voting again on January 6 on the naming of a Los Angeles real estate company as the new successor lessee for the Queen Mary. The decision to re-vote was prompted by allegations of violations of  the Brown Act in failing to adequately describe the lease item. The re-vote cancels an earlier unanimous vote to approve a 66-year lease for the company. (Long Beach Post, December 30, 2015, by Jason Ruiz)

The Vallejo City Council held a public hearing about allegations of violating the Brown Act by establishing of the Mare Island Straits Economic Development Committee which has been meeting without notice since 2014. The city staff said the committee is not a legislative body subject to the open meeting law. (Vallejo Times-Herald, December 30, 2015, by John Glidden)

The League of Women Voters of Fresno is questioning the new policy of allowing council members not present during votes to vote in absentia. (The Fresno Bee, December 30, 2015, by Nyla Zender of the League of Women Voters)

A Santa Rose Press Democrat editorial calls the state legislature to task for passing bills in haste resulting in flawed laws that need remedial legislative action. The latest example is a bill on pot growing that allows local governments to pass their own regulations but with an arduous local deadline of March 1, 2016. The state legislature is not subject to the Brown Act. (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, December 18, 2015, editorial)

In approving a sweetheart deal for Honda on the expansion of a test track, the Kern County Board of Supervisors did not disclose Honda’s name, not technically an open meeting violation, but not in keeping with requirements for open government. (The Bakersfield Californian, December 12, 2015, by Lois Henry)

Emeryville school trustees have been accused of violating the Brown act by meeting behind closed doors to review the costs of a city-school project that they then funded on the same occasion by voting to issue an additional $4.5 million in bonds. (Contra Costa Times, December 4, 2015, by Daniel Bornstein)

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