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THOUSAND OAKS : Inquiry Planned in Vote on Office Space

The Ventura County district attorney’s office plans to question Thousand Oaks officials next week to determine whether the City Council broke the law when it voted, without public notice, to provide office space for county Supervisor-elect Maria VanderKolk.

Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Matthew J. Hardy said Thursday that his office will also view a videotape of Tuesday’s meeting to determine whether the council violated the state’s open meeting law.

Hardy said the district attorney’s office agreed to look into the matter when Greg Cole, a Thousand Oaks resident, called Wednesday to complain.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, the council voted 4 to 1 to declare an emergency, allowing it to bypass public notice requirements, then voted to give VanderKolk space at the old city library until she takes office in January.

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According to city officials, VanderKolk needs the space immediately and there was not time to place the matter on the agenda.

But Hardy was skeptical.

“This is definitely not an emergency. What’s happening in Santa Barbara right now is an emergency,” Hardy said, referring to the disastrous brush fires.

Thousand Oaks City Atty. Mark G. Sellers defended the council’s decision, but said he will place the issue on the council’s July 10 agenda so residents can be heard and the council can vote again.

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In the meantime, VanderKolk will not use the space.

“I welcome public input,” VanderKolk said Thursday in a prepared statement urging the council to put the matter on its agenda.

She said the plan will not cost the city any money.


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