Palo Alto school district rule for limited disclosure of anonymous donations may not pass Brown Act muster

The Palo Alto Unified School District board passed a unique rule to circumvent the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. To establish some awareness of anonymous donations while keeping the identities of the donors secret to the public, the board is allowing the superintendent to know who is donating $50,000 or more then providing that information to each of the board members individually. But for the superintendent to inform each board member without holding a public meeting may well be holding serial meetings, illegal under the Brown Act. (Palo Alto Daily Post, December 10, 2017, by Allison Levitsky)

A Brown Act blip marred the San Dieguito school district transition from electing trustees district-wide to electing them from small sections of the district. On November 2, the board held a closed meeting to consider a proposed map for the elections. The meeting was announced as “Current and/or Potential Litigation” when in fact no one was threatening or bringing any lawsuit to force a change in the election system. (Del Mar Times, December 4, 2017, by Marsha Sutton)

The San Francisco District Attorney is not exacting any penalty for an Ethics Commission violation of the Brown Act. He determined that the committee’s vote to tell a planning commissioner to recuse herself on a vote on affordable housing last April was not on the agenda but merely warned the commission not to err that way in the future. (San Francisco Chronicle, December 5, 2017, by Rachel Swan)

The First Amendment Coalition and Californians Aware are planning a lawsuit against the City of Bakersfield over an alleged inadequate response to a challenge over their holding closed session meetings to discuss revenue and a tax increase. The meetings were convened as conferences with legal counsel regarding possible or existing litigation. (, November 29, 2017, by Joseph Luiz)

When the Madera County Board of Supervisors was under investigation for possible Brown Act violations and favor trading with interests doing business with the county, they voted to censure the  investigator District Attorney David Linn for allegations of using “racists, sexist and otherwise offensive” language with employees. (The Madera Tribune, November 27, 2017, by Charles Doud)

The Palo Alto school board agreed to correct a Brown Act violation after admitting that they failed to post notice of a closed session over a possible lawsuit from a family of a student who claimed she was sexually assaulted on the Palo Alto High School campus in 2015. (Palo Alto Weekly, November 21, 2017, by Elena Kadvany)

Citizens in Cupertino expressed outrage over closed sessions held by the city council on planning regarding the affordable housing crisis. The city claimed the public will have ample opportunity to weigh in before the council makes any decisions.  (Cupertino Today, November 21, 2017, by Staff Writer)

The Mariposa County Unified School District may have violated the Brown Act in failing to hold an open meeting on establishing a new position for oversight of facilities and maintenance. (Mariposa Gazette, November 16, 2017, by Matt Johnson)