Monday, October 19, 2015

Huntington Park, CA City Council Violates the Brown Act -- Part One

The Ralph M. Brown Act was designed to ensure that all government bodies dealing with public business remain open to the public and promote transparency and accountable local governance.

The Huntington Park, CA City Council does not seem interested in such transparency, but rather seeks to shut down anyone who does not agree with their perverse agendas of cronyism, nepotism, and flagrant violation of the constitutional, state, and federal, as well as laws state and federal.

The California Government Code is crystal clear about the rights and necessities of keeping local government open to the public.

Here are the statutes, and then let's discuss the frequent and flagrant violations of these laws.

54953.  (a) All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency
shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to
attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency, except

as otherwise provided in this chapter.

On October 6th, Dr. Robert Newman was forcibly removed from the city council chambers just for saying "Yes!" three times during one person's oral communications.

54953.2.  All meetings of a legislative body of a local agency that
are open and public shall meet the protections and prohibitions
contained in Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132), and the federal rules and regulations
adopted in implementation thereof.

The city council has not accommodated Southeast LA political activist Sandra Orozco, in that she is handicapped, and therefore should not have to wait extended periods of time to address the city council.

54953.3.  A member of the public shall not be required, as a
condition to attendance at a meeting of a legislative body of a local
agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information,
to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition
precedent to his or her attendance.
   If an attendance list, register, questionnaire, or other similar
document is posted at or near the entrance to the room where the
meeting is to be held, or is circulated to the persons present during
the meeting, it shall state clearly that the signing, registering,
or completion of the document is voluntary, and that all persons may
attend the meeting regardless of whether a person signs, registers,
or completes the document.

The Huntington Park city council has currently required members of the public to submit speaker cards, and anyone who neglects to do so does not get to speak to the city council. This is wrong, a flagrant violation of the Brown Act. In Torrance, the mayor allows members of the public to speak to the city council, even if they did not submit a speaker card. The city also permits oral communications at two different points during the city council meeting, since there is so much to discuss from meeting to meeting.

54954.3.  (a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an
opportunity for members of the public to directly address the
legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or
during the legislative body's consideration of the item, that is
within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body,
provided that no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on
the agenda unless the action is otherwise authorized by subdivision
(b) of Section 54954.2.
   (c) The legislative body of a local agency shall not prohibit
public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs, or services
of the agency, or of the acts or omissions of the legislative body.
Nothing in this subdivision shall confer any privilege or protection
for expression beyond that otherwise provided by law.

The Huntington Park City Council threw me out on September 21st when I wanted to address specific items on the agenda. The fact they are limiting individual participation to one period oral communications during the city council meeting violates the above statute. The city council threw out one gentleman, Dr. Robert Newman, because he was affirming the statements of another member of the audience. Another resident, Edmundo Perez, was not permitted to address the city council because he did not submit a speaker card -- another flagrant violation of the Brown Act.

The Huntington Park City Council has trampled on the Brown Act a number of times, preventing and limiting communications from the public. It's time to hold them accountable!

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