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California Municipal Law Blog

Court Holds that Obstruction of Views Does Not Inversely Condemn Private Property

by on October 2, 2016

posted in Inverse Condemnation, Recent Court Decisions,

In what can only be described as a classic example of a “First World problem,” a Beverly Hills couple sued their city for ruining their beautiful views.  From their hilltop estate, the coupled had for years enjoyed unobstructed views of Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Hills, and other iconic Southern California landmarks.  But when Sequoia redwood trees the city had planted many years earlier began taking on their customary sizes, the tree canopy started blocking the couple’s view.  Because of the diminished view—which was getting worse as the trees grew—the couple sued the city for inverse ... Continue Reading

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tags: Beverly Hills, Boxer, Inverse Condemnation, View Obstruction,

Attorney General Addresses Conflict of Interest Question Affecting Joint Powers Authorities

by on September 11, 2016

posted in Ethics,

The California Attorney General issued an opinion related to the rights of Joint Powers Authority (JPA) voting members which likely affects all JPAs throughout California.  The question arose where a member of the board of directors was required to recuse himself from voting on an issue because of a conflict of interest. The subject of this particular opinion was the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), which is comprised of 26 individual agencies or municipalities. Some of these member agencies are allotted more than one seat on the board of directors. Those agencies, for example the City of Los ... Continue Reading

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tags: Attorney General, conflicts of interest, joint powers authorities, voting members,

Governor Signs Law to Require Agency Reports Before Approving Changes to Executive Compensation or Benefits

by on August 23, 2016

posted in Legislative Updates, Meetings, Uncategorised,

On August 23, 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 1436 (Bates), which mandates that local agencies report out certain information before changing the compensation or benefits of their “executives.”  Under this new law, legislative bodies (e.g., city councils, boards of supervisors, or boards of directors) for agencies must “orally report a summary of a recommendation” for changes in salaries or benefits before voting for the changes.  The votes must then take place in the open session portions of their meetings. SB 1436 is part of an evolving trend toward requiring greater transparency concerning ... Continue Reading

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tags: city of bell, closed session, executive compensation, open session, oral report, Public meetings, sb 1436,

Court Holds Six-Minute Discussion on Non-Agendized Matter Doesn’t Violate Brown Act

by on August 15, 2016

posted in Meetings, Recent Court Decisions,

When a person raises an issue not on a meeting agenda, how much can council or board members discuss the issue without running afoul of the Brown Act?  A recent court case provides some helpful guidance. In Cruz v. Culver City, a California appellate court held that a six-minute discussion about how to place an item on a future agenda did not violate the Brown Act.  Fortunately for local agencies, the court rejected a challenge to the discussion that had relied on a hyper-technical reading of the Act’s language.  ... Continue Reading

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tags: Agendas, Brown Act, Discussion on Unagendized Items,

Daily Journal Publishes Our Public Records Article

by on August 1, 2016

posted in Public Records Act,

In its July 25, 2016 edition, the Daily Journal published our article, Making Effective Public Records Requests.  The article discusses city attorney Derek Cole’s perspective on how to streamline the records-request process and obtain records more quickly.  A link to the article is here: Making Effective Records Requests Article  ... Continue Reading

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tags: California Public Records Act, Records Requests,

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