(March 1, 2021, 6:45 p.m.) -- An item on the March 2 LBCC Board of Trustees closed session agenda allows the Board to do the right thing by halting a taxpayer-draining political vendetta against Trustee Sunny Zia. Item 1.5 is agendized as a "Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation per Gov. Code Sec. 54956.9(a) LASC Case No. 20STCP03604: Long Beach Community College District v. Sunny Zia The litigation alleges, and Trustee Zia denies, that she improperly solicited campaign contributions.
In the March 2 closed session, at least one principled Trustee should make a motion to instruct LBCC's platoon of hired lawyers to stop spending any further billable sums on the litigation until the Trustees publicly release a Benchmark Investigations report on what allegedly occurred.
For the record, Mz. Zia supports making the Benchmark report public, Her fellow LBCC Trustees thus far have not. What does that tell you?
Ms. Zia, elected in 2014, re-elected 2018 and up for re-election 2022, has been a thorn in the side of some from her earliest days on LBCC's governing Board. She annoyed some by insisting on greater transparency and openness in spending taxpayer sums. Now she has committed full blown heresy by supporting then-LBCC Superintendent-President Regan Romali. For reasons that remain publicly unclear, other Trustees voted to fire Romali and when Zia refused to tow the other Trustees' line, they appear to us to be retailiating against Zia by politically poisoning her 2022 reelection prospects.
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The Brown Act gives the public the right to see materials circulated to a majority of a legislative body. That would apply to the Benchmark Report which has apparently been seen in closed session by the entire Board. Of course LBCC's lawyers will claim that shouldn't apply to "closed session" item but that doesn't end the discussion.
The Brown Act DOESN'T require withholding closed session materials. It allows it but it doesn't require it. The Brown Act isn't an "Official Secrets Act." In this particular matter, the Board of Trustees should side with transparency and openness, not legalistic stonewalling. It should show the public the Trustees' hired report on what allegedly occurred. Based on what allegedly occurred, it has already drained six figure sums and now threatens to drain more..
ˇYa basta! Enough already. No more...until LBCC's Trustees show the public the Benchmark Report. Taxpayers should be able to see on what basis the Trustees they elected have already spent a six figure sum before they spend any more on what appears to us at this point to be a political vendetta.
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