July 25, 2012 
Watchdogs Fire On California  
Over Brown Act Suspension
By Toni McAllister | July 24, 2012 | www.patch.com  

EXCERPT: While local officials say they have no intention of taking advantage of a suspension in the Brown Act that could pave the way for "cloak and dagger" government in California, that hasn't stopped the watchdogs and lawyers.

     Sacramento-based Californians Aware and San Diegans for Open Government (SDOG) are fighting the California State Legislature's decision to suspend a provision of the Brown Act that requires cities, counties and school districts to publicly post meeting agendas no less than 72 hours before meetings take place. ...

     ...  Additionally, Briggs Law Corporation, which has offices in San Diego and Upland, has filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of San Diegans for Open Government. The suit contends the Budget Act of 2012 signed by Governor Jerry Brown last month "unconstitutionally" suspends the legal requirement that local agencies post their agendas.

      The Brown Act suspension was incorporated into the Budget Act as a way to save money. In California, mandates placed on local jurisdictions by Sacramento must be funded by the state. In the case of the Brown Act mandate, the state was subsidizing nearly $100 million a year by some estimates.

      "We citizens cannot sit by while local politicians use Sacramento's inability to budget prudently as a license to conduct the people's business behind closed doors," said SDOG chairman Ian Trowbridge...

     ... "It's our duty as elected officials to ensure that the people have access to the workings of their local government and business being conducted on their behalf," said League President and Mountain View Mayor Mike Kasperzak. "It's enshrined in the California State Constitution that the people's business be conducted in a way that is open." ...   

San Diegans for Open Government (SDOG) Lawsuit over Brown Act Suspension / Briggs Lawsuit:

Californians Aware Website: www.calaware.wordpress.com 

EXCERPT: ... The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. ...

The First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce a landmark settlement in a case involving public access to government email messages. The agreement with the city of Auburn, California requires the city to save emails for at least two years-replacing a prior policy of deleting most emails after 30 days. The agreement, approved by the city today, also assures public access to emails about government business even when officials send or receive them using a private email account. ...

In This Issue
Watchdogs on Brown Act Suspension
The Brown Act -Link to Code
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