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California open government roundup: Panel calls for greater transparency from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

A civilian oversight commission is asking the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to reform its transparency practices to allow the public more information about its use of force, discipline of officers, and handling of complaints. The commission wants the department to post data including videos of incidents on its website. (Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2017, by Maya Lau)

The political skirmishing and alliance-forming activities behind two San Diego ballot measures raise the specter of Brown Act violations. The Brown Act, the state’s open meeting act, prohibits “serial meetings,” a number of private meetings to discuss public business to reach consensus. The measures ask voters to approve a hotel room tax for expansion of a convention center and a SoccerCity takeover of Qualcomm Stadium.  (San Diego Reader, May 22, 2017, by Matt Potter)

The Cayucos Fire Department is dodging accusations of Brown Act violations as it fight for survival. The department tried to form a citizen advisory committee without public notice and failing to provide documents to the public. (NewTimes, May 24, 2017, by Karen Garcia)

Prompted by a challenge from the Almanac, the Woodside Elementary School District voided actions at a May 1 meeting after minutes from the meeting did not match actions taken by the board at the meeting. (The Almanac, May 18, 2017, by Barbara Wood)

The Oakland City Council struck a blow for transparency when it voted to require the Oakland Police Department to get council approval before using new surveillance technologies. A similar measure was enacted by Santa Clara County in 2016. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 11, 2017, by Shahid Buttar)

Two citizens filed a lawsuit to prevent Santa Monica from shutting down Santa Monica Airport. The suit claimed the city had violated the Brown Act by discussing the shut down in secret meetings and closed sessions. (Santa Monica Daily Press, May 6, 2017, by Kate Cagle)

The Hews Media Group is contending that the Commerce City Council gave the city attorney a double digit increase in his hourly rate during a secret meeting without informing the public after the meeting, allegedly a Brown Act violation. (Los Cerritos News, May 6, 2017, by Brian Hews)


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