4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Closed for legislation

City sued for violating the Brown Act

It's been a difficult year for open government in San Diego. City-council president Todd Gloria and city attorney Jan Goldsmith are currently embroiled in lawsuits for refusing to turn over correspondence sent from their private email accounts, a ballot measure championed by former councilmember Donna Frye and current councilmember David Alvarez was defeated, and now the city is being sued for denying citizens the right to make non-agenda public comments during Monday council hearings.

In a statement, Craig Sherman, attorney for the non-profit Center for Local Government Accountability, said, "While there is a history of the city wanting to limit such non-agenda public comment —moving it until an unpredictably and annoying late time on the meeting agenda; mostly holding it during business hours so working citizens cannot easily attend or comment; setting extremely short time limits for public speakers; and relegating non-agenda public comment to only be held on the regular Tuesday agenda meetings, the current practice of the City in limiting such access and public comment at the regular Monday meetings defies the principles and purposes of the Brown Act.

"The Brown Act specifically requires an opportunity for non-agenda public comment for each meeting and agenda of a local agency such as the city council. CLGA seeks a Superior Court judgment and declaration of law that CLGA is correct in its interpretation and application of the Brown Act applied to the City and its Monday and Tuesday agendas, and a permanent injunction preventing the City from excluding non-agenda public comment from Monday agendas in the future."

City-council members eliminated the opportunity for public comment from Monday meetings on September 24, 2001, in a 6-to-3 vote. Councilmembers Donna Frye, Toni Atkins, and Brian Maienschein voted against it; Scott Peters, Byron Wear, Jim Madaffer, Ralph Inzunza, George Stevens, and former mayor Dick Murphy voted in favor. The vote was part of larger effort to condense the Monday and Tuesday hearings by merging the two meetings into one and pushing the public comment portion to the beginning of the Tuesday meeting.

The ordinance contradicts the city's municipal code, which states: "Every agenda for a regular council meeting shall provide a period on the agenda for members of the public to address the council on items of interest to the public that are not on the agenda but are within the jurisdiction of the council. Non-agenda public comment shall be subject to the exercise of the president's discretion for a given agenda."

Sherman's clients are seeking to permanently require public comment on each agenda, a declaration confirming that the city has not followed the Brown Act, and for attorney's fees.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Most boards are shaped for men’s bodies

If I am having a bad day, I go to the ocean.
Next Article

The Addams Family 2: new kooky characters gone wrong

Cousin Itt’s synthetic CG likeness owes more to Dawk than it does Feliz Silla’s hair suit.

It's been a difficult year for open government in San Diego. City-council president Todd Gloria and city attorney Jan Goldsmith are currently embroiled in lawsuits for refusing to turn over correspondence sent from their private email accounts, a ballot measure championed by former councilmember Donna Frye and current councilmember David Alvarez was defeated, and now the city is being sued for denying citizens the right to make non-agenda public comments during Monday council hearings.

In a statement, Craig Sherman, attorney for the non-profit Center for Local Government Accountability, said, "While there is a history of the city wanting to limit such non-agenda public comment —moving it until an unpredictably and annoying late time on the meeting agenda; mostly holding it during business hours so working citizens cannot easily attend or comment; setting extremely short time limits for public speakers; and relegating non-agenda public comment to only be held on the regular Tuesday agenda meetings, the current practice of the City in limiting such access and public comment at the regular Monday meetings defies the principles and purposes of the Brown Act.

"The Brown Act specifically requires an opportunity for non-agenda public comment for each meeting and agenda of a local agency such as the city council. CLGA seeks a Superior Court judgment and declaration of law that CLGA is correct in its interpretation and application of the Brown Act applied to the City and its Monday and Tuesday agendas, and a permanent injunction preventing the City from excluding non-agenda public comment from Monday agendas in the future."

City-council members eliminated the opportunity for public comment from Monday meetings on September 24, 2001, in a 6-to-3 vote. Councilmembers Donna Frye, Toni Atkins, and Brian Maienschein voted against it; Scott Peters, Byron Wear, Jim Madaffer, Ralph Inzunza, George Stevens, and former mayor Dick Murphy voted in favor. The vote was part of larger effort to condense the Monday and Tuesday hearings by merging the two meetings into one and pushing the public comment portion to the beginning of the Tuesday meeting.

The ordinance contradicts the city's municipal code, which states: "Every agenda for a regular council meeting shall provide a period on the agenda for members of the public to address the council on items of interest to the public that are not on the agenda but are within the jurisdiction of the council. Non-agenda public comment shall be subject to the exercise of the president's discretion for a given agenda."

Sherman's clients are seeking to permanently require public comment on each agenda, a declaration confirming that the city has not followed the Brown Act, and for attorney's fees.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

#MeToo, from here to Africa

“So many girls out there are being molested by their own fathers, by their own cousins... It’s out of control.”
Next Article

Comes with a plastic bag of cemetery dirt

The Yucks, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Crush of Souls, Tolan Shaw, JT Moring
Comments
6

Oddly enough, these are the very same tactics that have been employed by Sweetwater's board of trustees, under Ed Brand!

The only conclusion that can be reached is that those entities choosing to limit public commentary via these methods merely implicate themselves in some sort of wrongdoing or corruption. Honest boards should have no need for draconian measures of control.

Makes me wonder if there is some sort of private study program for the dishonest politicians and administrators!

Sept. 12, 2014

There is. For city council people it is the League of California Cities. As detailed in Steven Greenhut’s book Abuse of Power, politicians would go to classes or conventions of the League of Cities to learn the finer points of screwing people over with redevelopment. Madaffer was chair or president of the League of Cities for a while. Oh, and the finer points did include manipulating city council agendas and proceedings to make it almost impossible for people to fight or question what the politicians were doing. We learned about this at meetings of Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform.

Sept. 12, 2014

So glad you reminded me of this.

Sept. 12, 2014

That makes me interested in learning more. Time to look into this a bit further! Thanks.

Sept. 12, 2014

Too bad Cory Briggs, Donna Frye and their group for Open Government doesnt look at the Sweetwater Union High School District. This district has been doing this type of stuff and more for 10+ years. Its probably because their is no money in it for them like their is in suing the City o San Diego.

Sept. 13, 2014

The quasi community groups - the CDCs, Advisory Boards, etc. go into "private session" right after the Pledge Allegiance whenever they choose, which is most of the time. The city does not require them to interface with the public, but the County Assessor does not hesitate to collect the money that funds them, and they are all taxpayer funded to some extent. This is an area where public inputs are the complete exception. It should not be this way. This is America!

Sept. 13, 2014

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close