Friday, August 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bill restores sanity to local government

By
From page B3 | October 10, 2012 |

The issue: Brown signs measure giving some teeth to the state’s open meetings law

Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have sent a strong message to local government: Don’t cheat the system, and if you do, prepare to be held accountable.

At issue was enforcement of the state’s open meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act.

A NEW LAW related to the Brown Act overturns an appellate court’s decision in a case from Tulare County in which the court ruled that existing law does not provide a remedy for past violations by a local agency.

The challenge centered on a practice by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, which routinely met over lunch, outside public view and without having given notice of a public meeting. The Visalia Times-Delta documented more than 46 such meetings. Taxpayers paid for the lunchtime sessions.

When challenged, county supervisors said the practice had ceased.

The court ruled that existing law did not provide any specific remedy for past violations, and since no current violations were alleged, that plaintiffs had no right to legal relief. That’s legal-speak for a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, which may have included an order to cease such activities but also to recover legal fees.

Senate Bill 1003 by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, changes the rules for government accountability and thereby tips the scales back in favor of the public’s right to know how local governments are operating. It provides a specific process for members of the public to challenge past questionable — or outright illegal — actions by local government.

TAXPAYERS HAVE a reasonable expectation that local officials will conduct the public’s business in accordance with the law. If they do not, there’s a reasonable expectation that local officials can be forced to do so, in a manner that does not leave the public holding the bag for legal fees, should the government be found at fault.

Brown’s action came amid the late-September frenzy of legislative review, where literally hundreds of bills were either signed into law or vetoed. His signature on SB 1003 ensures that, effective Jan. 1, local governments no longer can pull these kinds of shenanigans with near impunity.

It’s a necessary change.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
     
    Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

    Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

     
    Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

     
    Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Record drought saps California honey production

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    World travelers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Weightlifters causing a racket

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    No support for militarization

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A better use for this vehicle

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Police are our friends, right?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Wage plan has a big flaw

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

    Light-hitting Cats fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Giants win nightcap in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Natsoulas to host mural conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    Yolo Mambo to play free show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6