Brown Act

Time to Bring California’s Open Meeting Law into the 21st Century

BY PETER SCHEER—-California’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, was enacted four decades before the arrival of the internet, a quarter century before the first commercial fax machines, and even a few years before “xerox” copying went mainstream. In all the years since, the Brown Act has been amended in ways big and small, but it has never been revised to tap the power of digital technology. Legislative bodies subject to the Brown Act operate

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A&A: Redaction of investigative report

Q:  An outside attorney is employed to investigate a city council member. The client is the city council. May the attorney redact information and not provide the client with the entire file? The outside attorney heavily redacted a report and will not permit members of the city council to review the entire file. The city attorney is party in investigation proceedings regarding harassment by council member. Is not the client entitled to the entire file

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A&A: Board member sent out email supporting project coming up for a board vote

Q: The School Board is trying to accuse one trustee of a Brown Act violation because he sent out an email in support of a project they were going to be voting on in the near future. The email went to all trustees as well. None of them responded and no discussion was made back and forth with this email. We do not think it is a violation, but need to know from an expert.

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A&A: Agenda items failed to mention a parcel tax as part of ballot measure

Q: I would like an opinion on whether circumstances surrounding the County Board of Supervisors’ placement of Measure A1 on the Nov ballot in Alameda County violated the Brown Act. a. The measure was first discussed at a special retreat on May 8. The Agenda (see url below) includes no mention of the Oakland Zoo or any parcel tax measure b. The Minutes of that meeting (url below) include no mention of the Oakland Zoo

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A&A: Brown Act rules for scheduling a meeting

Q: Can a majority of members of a body (city council) discuss the logistics (when and where) of scheduling a meeting, including the topic but no content, outside of an official meeting? My thought is yes because no information is exchanged, only the logistics. A: As I believe you are aware, the Brown Act, at Govt. Code section 54952.2, defines “meetings” to include “any congregation of a majority of the members of a legislative body at the same

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