California open government roundup: Appeals court allows Covid-19 data coverup

San Diego public health officials convinced a California appeals court to rule that it was in the public interest to withhold release of the specific locations of Covid-19 outbreaks, a ruling that alarmed open government advocates. (Voice of San Diego, August 3, 2021, by Jesse Marx)

In pursuit of its right to public records, ABC10 is suing the California Public Utilities Commission for messages between Governor Gavin Newson and PG&E at a time of the company’s exit from bankruptcy and its alleged criminal behavior over the outbreak of the 2018 Camp Fire. (ABC10, July 28, 2021, by Brandon Rittiman)

The Daily Californian, August 8, 2021, argues in a staff editorial that in approving UC Berkeley’s long range development plan in closed session, the Berkeley City Council shut out the city’s residents, a possible violation of the Brown Act, the state’s open government law.

Two Laguna Beach city council members are up for censure for disclosing confidential information about a hotel renovation project to a man involved in an appeal of the project to the California Coastal Commission. (Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2021, by Andrew Turner of the Daily Pilot)

The variant has prompted the state legislature to consider extending virtual government meetings. Many who can no longer attend city council meetings on zoom as agencies return to in-person meetings welcome the legislative initiatives. (The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, August 4, 2021, by Aldon Thomas Stiles of the California Black Media)

A judge is deciding whether Brown Act violations occurred when the East Palo Alto Sanitary District allegedly communicated outside of publicly noticed meetings to agree to terminate three employees. (Palo Alto Daily Post, July 28, 2021, by Emily Mibach)

In foregoing an open application process to appoint a new sheriff, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors prompted concerns about the board’s adherence to the Brown Act. Critics alleged that the board voted on a new sheriff without a previous public discussion. (Redding Record Searchlight, July 26, 2021, by Damon Arthur)

In investigating salary issues in the Anderson Union High School District, the Shasta County Grand Jury found several violations of the Brown Act. Meeting agendas were not continuously available 72 hours prior to school board meetings and doors were locked during meetings, preventing late access for the public. (KRCR, July 24, 2021, by Aaron Spurlock and Daisy Caballero)

A California appeals court is considering whether Placer County violated a public records law in its quest for approval of plans for the expansion of the Squaw Valley ski resort. (US News & World Report, July 23, 2021, by Scott Sonner of The Associated Press)

The Anaheim city manager and city attorney failed to inform the public and city council that the sale of Angels stadium did not comply with state rules for sale of surplus public land, potentially exposing the city to significant state penalties. (Voice of OC, July 24, 2021, by Norberto Santana, Jr.)

A San Joaquin County grand jury found the Stockton Unified School District trustees’ poor leadership blocked progress in the district. The grand jury found among other things that there was “a misunderstanding or disregard of the Brown Act [that] led to violations of the statute and reduced governance transparency.” (Stockton Record, July 22, 2021, by Cassie Dickman and Cameryn Oakes)

Residents in North San Diego County are accusing Palomar Health, that operates two hospitals in the area, with negotiating new contracts with physician staffing companies without public input. (MedPage Today, July 19, 2021, by Karfa Grant)

A group of citizens lost their bid to keep the Fresno High School mascot that some found racist. A judge dismissed their lawsuit that claimed in part that the school board violated the Brown Act by failing to mention the fiscal impact of the change of mascots in their agenda. (Fresno Bee, July 16, 2021, by Ashleigh Panoo)

The St. Thomas Moore Society is suing the San Diego Unified School District for changing the name of Junipero Sera high School. The lawsuit alleges violations of the Brown Act, that the district did not provide the public notice that the board was taking a vote on the school renaming. (The Daily Signal, July 15, 2021, by Sarah Parshall Perry)

Citizens are upset that the Brawley City Council voted to approve rental of city property for a cell tower without notice or input from the public. (The Desert Review, July 7, 2021, by Katherine Ramos)

The 2020-21 Alameda County Grand Jury found that the Peralta Community College board held secret meetings, a violation of the Brown Act. (The Daily Californian, June 28, 2021, by Christopher Ying)

The Fresno District Attorney asked that future votes by the city council on Granite Park be suspended pending an investigation of possible Brown Act violations relating to the project. (ABC 30, June 24, 2021)

Two members of the West Hollywood City Council were observed texting each other during a virtual meeting on a proposed hotel worker ordinance in violation of the Brown Act that forbids sidebar conversations on agenda items. (WEHOville, June 15, 2021)

An environmental group noted that Los Angeles County made changes to the County Oak Ordinance that protects local oak trees without informing residents in the Santa Clarita Valley. (The Signal, June 11, 2021