The California Court of Appeal has declined requests to publish its recent opinion concluding that the Brown Act was not violated by the Montebello City Council in denying public comment before holding a closed session with itself as the Montebello Redevelopment Agency board, since later, before holding a closed session in its role as that board, it did allow prior public comment. If you didn’t follow that, you can read the court’s opinion and see if it’s any clearer (or any weirder), and console yourself that it looks like city councils won’t be wearing these two hats much longer. In view of that fact, it’s hard to imagine that the California Supreme Court, which still has the power to order the opinion published, will do so. Kenneth Ofgang reported the details in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.
About The Editor
Terry Francke has a 39-year history of helping journalists, citizens and public officials understand and use their First Amendment and open government rights. With CalAware, Francke has authored comprehensive and authoritative guidebooks to California law on access to government meetings and public records and the news gathering and publication rights of journalists. Focusing on these issues in public forum law, he supervises CalAware's legislative and litigation initiatives; conducts workshops on legal compliance; helps design public records audits; supports local sunshine ordinance drafting efforts; writes CalAware Today, a blog on current developments and proposals in the law and best practices; and answers countless queries by phone and e-mail from citizens, journalists, public officials and employees, and lawyers. Francke previously served 14 years as executive director and general counsel to the California First Amendment Coalition, after a 10-year post as legal counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association. He has served as an advisory panel member to the National Center on Courts and the Media; taught journalism law at the Department of Communication at Stanford University; and served as an expert contributor to the 1994 major revisions to the Ralph M. Brown Act and the 2004 ballot proposition making open government a basic right of citizens under the California Constitution. Francke is a 1967 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1979 graduate of McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. Prior to his legal career, Francke worked as a weekly newspaper editor and in military and local government public affairs positions.
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