A Sacramento-based organization launched an online petition drive Sunday to amend the California constitution to ensure that municipal meeting agendas continue to be offered to the public.
In June, the state Legislature gave California cities and counties the option of not posting meeting agendas and other reports to save money. This action suspended a key provision of the 1953 Brown Act, which requires California cities, counties, school boards and special districts to follow a range of provisions in conducting their meetings openly.
On Sunday, Californians Aware launched a petition drive to place a proposition on the statewide ballot.
"Even though the law might not hold public officials accountable for no longer posting agendas or providing adequate descriptions of items on them, angry voters would hold them accountable," stated Californians Aware on its website. "Political exposure has always been a far more powerful motivator of Brown Act compliance than legal exposure."
A bill designed to preserve the Brown Act provisions is in limbo in the Assembly Appropriations Committee after the state Senate passed it.
The Studio City Neighborhood Council (SCNC) state in their bylaws where they must "post Board and committee Agendas in accordance with the Brown Act, SCNC Bylaws and the public posting log filed with the application for certification," and the locations are: Studio City Library, CBS Studio Center Radford and Colfax gates, Carpenter Avenue School main door and Studio City (Beeman) Park office.
SCNC President John Walker was asked about the state's recent action on the Brown Act and the Californians Aware petition drive. Walker provided Studio City Patch with a statement regarding SCNC's viewpoint on the Brown Act.
"We have always tried to be held accountable to what the Brown Acts requires, and I think that all (city chartered) and other public organizations that post agendas should be as well.
Not having a controlling ideal that we must all conform to might allow for closed door sessions, issues of importance passed without proper input from the public and other improper actions.
It's foolish to think that we would hold public elections for our councilperson(s), and then allow that person (group) to meet without proper notice to the people that elected them."