California open government roundup: Supreme Court to decide public records case

The California Supreme Court will decide if law enforcement agencies can charge those seeking police body cam videos for the costs of redaction. The city of Hayward wanted to charge $2,938.58 for body cam videos after Hayward officers were involved in policing a 2014 protest in Berkeley against police violence. (San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 2018, by Bob Egelko)

A citizens group is contesting an appointment to the San Bernardino County board of supervisors claiming the supervisors violated the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. The citizens claimed the supervisors met privately to narrow a list of applicants from 48 to 13. (San Bernardino Sun, January 2, 2019, by Sandra Emerson)

The Oakland City Council pulled a fast one in side-stepping the Brown Act in passing an early childhood education initiative when it fell short of the required two-thirds voter approval. The council failed to adequately inform the public that the vote was on the agenda, simply stating that the council would act to formally accept the election results. (East Bay Times Editorial, December 14, 2018)

Lafayette prevailed in a lawsuit claiming that a land deal conducted behind closed doors violated the Brown Act. The legal fees cost the city $683,692. The court found the city ran an open, fair process. (Lamorinda Weekly, December 12, 2018, by Pippa Fisher)

Horse manure on a beach sparked a heated Half Moon Bay city council meeting with some charging that the issue appeared on the agenda without sufficient public notice. At issue is a contract with a company that conducts horseback riding tours on Poplar Beach. The city is concerned that the tours cause erosion and leave too much horse poop. (The Half Moon Bay Daily Journal, December 7, 2018, by Zachary Clark and Journal staff)

A Kern County Grand Jury accuses the Rand Water District of financial incompetence, failing to keep adequate records and violating the Brown Act by making water sales and other decisions outside of public meetings. They also failed to give public notice of a meeting in October.  (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent, December 5, 2018, by Lauren Jennings)

An editorial in the, November 27, 2018, criticizes the Long Beach City Council for not allowing sufficient public discussion in deciding whether to sign a contract with a company to establish a community hospital for profit on city land.

An Orange County superior court judge ruled that reporters could have access to search warrants issued in the case of a doctor charged with sexual assault. (U.S. News and World Report, October 23, 2018, by The Associated Press)

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