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Former Owner of San Leandro Batting Cage Facility …

State Relaxes Public's Right to Know Rules

In an effort to save money, lawmakers in Sacramento have suspended mandates that require local jurisdictions to keep the public informed by posting meeting agendas.


City councils, school districts and other local jurisdictions now have the option of becoming more secretive — if they choose.

Last month, the state Legislature suspended the Brown Act mandate that local jurisdictions post meeting agendas for the public.

The suspension was a cost-cutting measure.

It also allows local jurisdictions to forgo reporting to the public about actions taken during closed-session meetings.

How many California municipalities will choose to abandon the right-to-know mandates is unknown.

The League of California Cities is expected to release an official statement on the issue this week, but the organization’s Communications Director Eva Spiegel said for now the suggestion to cities is “stick with the status quo."

“The League has been very involved with the Brown Act,” she said. “We have always encouraged transparency.”

In California, mandates on local jurisdictions are state-funded. Brown Act mandates have been costing the state at estimated $100 million a year.

According to watchdog Californians Aware, local jurisdictions learned how to milk the system for state support.

They “could get a windfall of cash for doing something they had always done: preparing and posting meeting agendas for their governing and other bodies as mandated by Brown Act amendments passed in 1986 — but as, in fact, routinely done anyway since time immemorial to satisfy practical and political expectations,” the nonprofit reported Friday.

The suspension could last through 2015, so it appears the public will need to demand transparency from its representatives if it wants to stay informed.

A version of this story first appeared on the .

Marga Lacabe July 16, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Tom, you should find out if San Leandro has tried to bill Sacramento for the costs of making a photocopy (10c) and walking it to the front of the building and placing it so everyone can see it. I don't think San Leandro will use this as an excuse to stop posting agendas, if only because their agendas don't follow the Brown Act as it is anyway.
Tom Abate (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I notice that actions taken in closed session need not be reported. But I do not understand the cost saving.
Chris Crow July 16, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I wonder if the current San Leandro City Council is prepared to promise citizens the city will still abide by all Brown Act provisions even with this suspension...Would be nice if the mayor or City Manager pledged the city would continue, expand, and formalize its processes to inform and gain input from the public...
Paul Vargas July 17, 2012 at 01:05 AM
If they do, I'd be shocked.
David July 17, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Die Lösung Bertolt Brecht Nach dem Aufstand des 17. Juni Ließ der Sekretär des Schriftstellerverbands In der Stalinallee Flugblätter verteilen Auf denen zu lesen war, daß das Volk Das Vertrauen der Regierung verscherzt habe Und es nur durch verdoppelte Arbeit Zurückerobern könne. Wäre es da Nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung Löste das Volk auf und Wählte ein anderes? The Solution Bertolt Brecht After the uprising of the 17th June The Secretary of the Writer's Union Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee Stating that the people Had forfeited the confidence of the government And could win it back only By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier In that case for the government To dissolve the people And elect another?
Leah Hall July 17, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Ah yes, the "true unseen history of Marxism, progressivism and communism" -- Glenn Beck (back in the day when he had his own cable program on Fox)
Mia Ousley July 17, 2012 at 08:53 AM
Seems to me if the State wanted to save money, they could just say that info could be posted online. That way they don't have to pay for copying and the public still has the ability to know (albeit not all the public yet).
David July 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Leah, you do know Brecht's political leanings?
Leah Hall July 18, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Yes, quite! I have known both Bert /and/ Ernie's "leanings" since I was about six or so.
Leah Hall July 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Ernie is no longer satisfied with Bert's hesitation over commitment. (Ad for QueerPioneer.com) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0xl1QjvSlg&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLC96EE6560D82DA18


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