Californian’s Aware: Costa Mesa Council “Work Groups” violate the Brown Act

Costa Mesa City Hall Entrance - Photo: Chris Prevatt

COSTA MESA — Hat tip and pat on the back to A Bubbling Cauldron’s Geoff West for calling the City of Costa Mesa on its failure to be transparent and open by following the Brown Act. Usually it’s me who finds this stuff. I’m glad to see that someone else is also looking out for these things. Geoff writes:

Yesterday a letter was sent from Mr. Terry Francke, General Counsel of Californians Aware, The Center For Public Forum Rights to Mayor Gary Monahan with copies to the remainder of the City Council, Hatch and (apparently in error) Kimberley Hall Barlow, former City Attorney.

WORKING GROUPS DO VIOLATE BROWN ACT

In this letter Mr. Francke cites the same section of the Brown Act I referenced in my earlier correspondence to Hatch and advises that our Working Groups ARE subject to the Brown Act. Near the end of his two-page letter Mr. Francke says the following:

While the Working Groups are intended to report their recommendations to the full Council in open session, and while Working Group members are apparently being advised not to communicate with non-members on the matters under study, the fact remains that if the group’s meetings are private, the public will have no sense (unless it is told) of just what avenues were explored, what options were examined and discounted or discarded, or who met with the group in guiding its inquiries or formulating its proposals. The public will be presented with a package to react to, and one with weeks or months of momentum behind it by the time it reaches the Council, needing only one of three voters to be approved.

COMPLY OR ELSE…

Mr. Francke is obviously quite serious about this issue because his final paragraph reads as follows:

Please take the necessary steps to see that the Working Groups begin immediately to comply with the Brown Act. And please consider that the Council’s failure to do so will result in my recommendation to our Litigation Committee that we seek the appropriate court order(s) to ensure such compliance.”

I cannot wait to see if the City Council actually changes course. My guess is that, just like other warnings they have received, they will continue at full speed ahead.

Thanks Geoff. Read his complete story HERE.

  3 comments for “Californian’s Aware: Costa Mesa Council “Work Groups” violate the Brown Act

  1. May 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Chris,
    Thanks for the props… busy couple days here in Goat Hill… Lobdell promises a response to this issue by Monday, the 16th.. the legal beagles are studying it now. Stay tuned…

    • May 12, 2011 at 12:16 am

      Those would be the same legal beagles that decided that Kimberly Hall Barlow was wrong when she said they couldn’t issue the 6 month layoff notices until an actual decision to contract out was made.

      Bet a buck they conclude they did nothing wrong.

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