|(April 11, 2019, 12:00 noon) -- Long Beach city management has scheduled what it describes as a "study session" for 3:30 p.m. April 16 "to receive and file a presentation on the City’s Animal Care Services."
We are very concerned that it may turn out to be a "non-study-session" because as of noon Thursday April 11, the information to be studied isn't online for the public to study. No written report. No Power Point slides. Nothing.
That's not acceptable to us as a media outlet and it shouldn't be acceptable to taxpaying LB animal advocates, regardless of their individual positions on the issue.
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LBREPORT.com believes LB animal advocates, regardless of whatever differences there may be between them, should email their elected Councilmembers and politely but firmly state that it's unacceptable for city staff to conceal study session materials to be studied at the study session. We recommend that Councilmembers (who are elected to represent the public) to ask City Manager West (who works for the City Council) to have his subordinate staff (who work for Mr. West) to put the study session materials online for the public without further delay. (If you wish, feel free to share with us what response(s) you receive at (mail@LBReport.com) (which may be newsworthy.)
That's our preferred remedy, although there may be a poorer remedy in CA's Brown Act, which states in part that:
CA Gov't Code section 54957.5:
We note that paragraph (a) only requires release of the writings "without delay"...which City Hall might still try to delay until after the "study session." The City may also try to avoid the more specific language of paragraph (b)(1) by noting it applies to "regular meetings" of the City Council and the "study session" is a "special meeting."
This shouldn't be about statutory legalisms. The truth is there's absolutely no legal reason why materials for a Long Beach City Council public study session shouldn't be put online for the public immediately.
This is ultimately about respect for taxpayers, transparency and openness in Long Beach. We regret that hiding study session materials to be studied has become standard procedure. City management may find it more convenient to prevent the public and perhaps Councilmembers from studying materials to be studied, minimizing the likelihood of point by point challenges to management's contentions.
If the April 16 "study session" on LB's animal shelter is to be a legitimate, and not an illegitimate "non-study session," city management should upload the materials to be studied for public (and press) review without further delay.
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