California open government roundup: Mayor called out for Brown Act, free-speech issues

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez is feeling the heat, accused by Mia Casey of violating the Brown Act by interrupting her while she was criticizing Velazquez for his treatment of the public. FAC’s David Loy said that Velazquez not only violated the Brown Act but also Casey’s right to free speech. (Benito Link, April 1, 2022, by John Chadwell)

The Ventura city attorney said five members of the city council violated the Brown Act by discussing city business without public notice. The violations occurred during a trip to Washington, D.C. in March. (Ventura County Star, April 3, 2022, by Wes Woods II)

The San Dieguito Union High School District board is accused of holding meaningless meetings over a proposed redistricting plan and failing to post agendas online with adequate notice for the meetings of Feb. 10,17 and 24. (The Coast News, April 1, 2022, by Laura Place)

The San Diego County Board of Education is taking over redistricting for the San Dieguito district. Moves to correct errors in the redistricting process delayed the process until the district missed the county deadline February 28. (EdSource, April 6, 2022, by Emma Gallegos)

The Alameda County Taxpayers Association is suing Alameda County supervisors who they claim violated the Brown Act by appointing a person as supervisor without a public search and evaluation of a pool of potential candidates. (San Jose Mercury News, March 30, 2022, by Annie Sciacca)

The Panama-Buena Vista School District has begun a new process for involving the public in redistricting, allowing them time to examine proposed maps. A citizen had contended the initial maps diluted the influence of Asian and Latino communities. (, March 27, 2022, by Perry Smith)

It’s alleged that the Ventura County Board of Supervisors violated the Brown Act when they put the county CEO on leave in a closed meeting and failed to report the action. The county attorney said there was no violation since the Brown Act only includes a stipulation that action that affects employment must be reported including appointment, dismissal and resignation but not leave. FAC’s Monica Price said, “I would say being placed on administrative leave is affecting your employment status. A reasonable mind could differ, but that’s the way I see it.” In any case, the supervisors would be well-advised to choose transparency. (Camarillo Acorn, March 26, 2022, by Kyle Jorrey)

An Orange County Superior Court judge rejected a lawsuit over Brown Act violations concerning Anaheim’s sale of Angel Stadium to the Los Angeles Angels. (Patch, March 22, 2022, by City News Service)

The San Benito County Board of Education is accused of violating the Brown Act for holding meetings advertised as having no physical location but meeting in person with certain invited members of the public. (Benito Link, March 23, 2022, by Jenny Mendolla Arbizu)

Former Huntington Beach mayor Debbie Cook, Orange Juice Blog, March 18, 2022, alleges that the Costa Mesa water district committed multiple violations of the Brown Act including holding secret meetings, failing to post meeting times properly and make documents available online and telling citizens that they had to have an appointment to see meeting minutes.

Local environmentalists are charging the Los Angeles Count supervisors with downplaying a major change to the county tree ordinance. The county wants to end public notification when oak trees are about to be cut down. (The Signal, March 17, 2022, by Jim Holt)

The editorial board of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, March 15, 2022, argues that the Sonoma County supervisors violated the Brown Act while establishing new district boundaries. They failed to reveal rationale for a closed door session on November 19 and withheld a staff memo from November 29 that contained board comments on the boundaries.

Fresno County District Attorney decided not to bring criminal charges against a city council member who asked in a closed session if the city had made a deal with the operator of the Granite park sports complex. The council member had recused herself from the issue owing to a personal relationship between her and the operator. The district attorney said there was not enough evidence to support charges. (California City News, March 3, 2022)