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By Hannah Fry and Emily Foxhall | October 9, 2013
In an attempt to "immunize" the city from "unnecessary litigation," the Newport Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to make a written pledge not to repeat the actions that led to allegations of violating the state's open meeting laws. City staff drafted a letter in response to resident Jim Mosher's allegation that the council violated the Ralph M. Brown Act in several instances related to the city's Sept. 10 decision to pursue a contract with a private company to outsource trash collection.
NEWS
By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com | May 11, 2011
COSTA MESA — Advocates for government transparency have asserted that some of the city's advisory panels violated the state's open meetings law. The small committees, called "working groups," are supposed to make their recommendations in public council sessions without discussing their findings with council members beforehand. The directives are found in California's open meetings law, the Brown Act. "The working groups are plainly standing committees, having been given, by title and staff description, as presented for approval, distinct and continuing areas of subject matter jurisdiction," according to a letter Californians Aware attorney Terry Francke sent to the City Council.
NEWS
January 3, 2003
June Casagrande Though one complaint that the city violated state open meeting laws was dismissed months ago, city officials continue to await word on whether a complaint filed in November 2001 is valid in the district attorney's eyes. Newport officials in October received a letter from the Orange County district attorney's office notifying them that the city did not violate state open-meeting laws when it decided, in closed session, to spend $455,000 to hire two lobbyists to represent the city's position on the John Wayne Airport settlement agreement.
NEWS
By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com | May 17, 2011
COSTA MESA — Working groups formed by the City Council in January did not violate the state open-meetings law, City Atty. Thomas P. Duarte wrote in a letter responding to an advocacy group's public assertion that Costa Mesa had breached the Brown Act. On Tuesday, a lawyer for the government transparency group Californians Aware rejected Duarte's response as unsatisfactory, saying it would pursue the matter in court. Terry Francke, general counsel for the Carmichael, Calif.-based Californians Aware, told the Daily Pilot he would recommend that the group seeks a California Superior Court order that any future meetings of Costa Mesa's "working groups" be held in compliance with the act. "A committee that is given a title and a general area of responsibility such as these … without a windup date or assignment of an immediate task have to be regarded as a standing committees," Francke said.
NEWS
By: Alicia Robinson | August 4, 2005
Costa Mesa's city attorney has rejected a resident's claim that city officials violated the Brown Act by participating in private meetings concerning the city's Job Center. Martin Millard, a Costa Mesa resident who has said the city shouldn't be running the Job Center, sent the complaint to City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow on July 12. It alleged that members of the City Council and city staff have worked with an independent committee but withheld information about their involvement and the committee's work.
NEWS
June 5, 2003
Christine Carrillo A student government budget committee will start abiding by the state's open meeting law after it was accused of operating behind closed doors by the college newspaper. "We sought legal opinion and found that [the committee] is subject to the Brown Act," said Kate Mueller, Orange Coast College's dean of students, who oversees the associated students. "We didn't know we were in violation of the Brown Act, and there was no attempt to be in violation.
NEWS
January 12, 2003
Among the laws that journalists hold most dear are those regulating government action and forcing most, though not all, decision-making to be done well out in the public's eye. These laws vary from state to state, some being much friendlier to government watchdogs than others. In California, the open meeting law is known as the Brown Act and, like most rules, is long and detailed, and sometimes even a bit confusing. Thankfully, it is rare that any public official or agency is found in violation of the law. It is not that rare, however, for Brown Act charges to be raised.
NEWS
December 12, 2001
Lolita Harper COSTA MESA -- City officials escaped further investigation into a possible violation of open-meeting laws by deciding to discontinue nontraditional negotiations with developers, the Orange County district attorney's office said Tuesday. The district attorney's office announced Tuesday it will drop its inquiry into a possible violation of the Brown Act because Costa Mesa officials decided among themselves to stop questionable negotiations with C.J. Segerstrom & Sons regarding the Home Ranch development in June.
NEWS
August 26, 2004
Marisa O'Neil A Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustee is accusing his colleagues of possibly violating board policy and the state's open-meeting law. Trustee Tom Egan read a written statement at the end of Tuesday night's otherwise routine school board meeting. The statement, which referred to an e-mail sent by a fellow trustee, was greeted with a stunned silence in the board chambers. "In the district's five-year strategic plan, we commit ourselves to: 'Hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of performance and service, which improve and support student learning,'" Egan read during his trustee report.
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NEWS
By Bradley Zint | January 21, 2014
Board members and staff of the Costa Mesa Senior Center met Tuesday morning to formally discuss a recently released independent audit forecasting a "fiscal crisis" at the facility. After some 90 minutes of discussion, the board voted to formalize in writing the varied sentiment toward the audit's 15 recommendations. Some members were skeptical of the findings, alleging that the document's suggested changes for the senior center were already in place, such as regular auditing and direction for board members on the rules of the Brown Act, the state's open-meetings law. "Basically, this report is what the city wants," said Executive Director Aviva Goelman.
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NEWS
By Charles Mooney | December 6, 2013
I have read "Commenting policy does not infringe on 1st Amendment" by Dennis Popp in the Dec. 1 Daily Pilot and would like to offer a different conclusion and correct and clarify some points made in Mr. Popp's letter on Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer's new public comment process. Contrary to Popp's letter, Mayor Righeimer's new process, which forces all but 10 non-agenda public commenters to wait until near the end of the meeting to be heard, does seem to infringe on the 1st Amendment right to speak in public comment sessions, as created by the Brown Act [the state's open-meetings law]
NEWS
By Hannah Fry and Emily Foxhall | October 9, 2013
In an attempt to "immunize" the city from "unnecessary litigation," the Newport Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to make a written pledge not to repeat the actions that led to allegations of violating the state's open meeting laws. City staff drafted a letter in response to resident Jim Mosher's allegation that the council violated the Ralph M. Brown Act in several instances related to the city's Sept. 10 decision to pursue a contract with a private company to outsource trash collection.
NEWS
By Ron Kaye | June 28, 2013
Journalists, the good government crowd, even some ordinary people who believe in democracy, felt triumphant when the farce in Sacramento over what they called the "gutting … neutering … eviscerating" of California's freedom of information law ended the way they had hoped. A victory for open government, for freedom, they said, proof that the politicians will respond to the public if people get aroused enough. Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature controlled by Democratic super-majorities that allow them to do anything they want with barely a whimper from the Republicans had backed down on making the state's public access law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, optional at the discretion of each and every government agency.
NEWS
By Jill Cowan | April 26, 2013
After private discussions with an Orange County Superior Court judge, the attorney for the Newport Beach Dock Owners Assn. agreed Friday to drop a request for a temporary restraining order that would have kept the city from collecting contested residential pier rent increases. In exchange, the city of Newport Beach will notify the court 15 days before taking any action to revoke pier permits for failure to pay. The hearing with Judge Luis A. Rodriguez was part of the association's lawsuit alleging that the city violated state transparency laws, or Ralph M. Brown Act, in the process to adopt the fee increases.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | April 16, 2013
Opponents to a fee increase for Newport Harbor's residential docks are urging affected homeowners to ignore them. But the city said anyone who doesn't pay could face a 10% penalty. Stop the Dock Tax and the Newport Beach Dock Owners Assn. plan to send out 1,100 mailers this week advocating that recipients avoid paying the "pier residential" fee included in water, sewer and recycling bills. The groups want residents to hold off paying while a lawsuit opposing the fees winds its way through the courts.
NEWS
By Jeremiah Dobruck and Jill Cowan | April 11, 2013
Newport Beach residents unhappy with a large increase to residential dock rents will try to prevent the city from collecting the fee while their lawsuit works its way through court. The Newport Beach Dock Owners Assn. announced Thursday that it will seek a temporary restraining order during a Tuesday court date barring the city from collecting the fee. The Dock Owners Assn. is suing the city, alleging it violated California's open meetings law while it was considering the rate increases.
NEWS
By Jill Cowan | February 20, 2013
At the first of two open houses designed to help dock owners navigate Newport Beach's new residential pier permitting process last week, a handful of residents sat scattered throughout the old City Council Chambers - not a huge turnout compared to the hundreds that showed up for hearings on the same subject just a few months ago. And while the tone of the Feb. 14 discussion wasn't exactly chipper, largely absent was the bitter anger that characterized the...
NEWS
By Jill Cowan | January 11, 2013
Opponents of Newport Beach's residential dock-fee increases reiterated their plans this week to sue the city if the recently passed increases aren't reconsidered. Attorney and state Republican Party Vice Chairman Steve Baric, acting on behalf of the Stop the Dock Tax group, alleged in a letter sent Thursday that an ad hoc City Council committee met and discussed the dock fees in violation of California's open meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act. The council, in voting to increase fees for residential dock owners on public tidelands Dec. 11, acted based on recommendations from that committee, according to the letter.
NEWS
By Jill Cowan | December 10, 2012
A group opposed to Newport Beach's proposed residential pier rent increases took a new tack in protesting the fee hikes Friday, alleging that a committee of council members has been meeting to discuss the rents in violation of California's open meetings law. In a letter sent on behalf of the Newport Beach Dock Owners Assn. Friday, attorney and state Republican Party Vice Chairman Steve Baric argues that an ad hoc committee of council members formed in July of 2010 continued to meet after its mandate had expired, thus making it a standing committee subject to rules found in the Ralph M. Brown Act. That committee, which initially consisted of Councilman Mike Henn (who was mayor at the time)
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