SEAL BEACH : Council Opposes Relaxing Brown Act

The City Council has declared its opposition to a recently approved state law that releases cities from having to post agendas three days in advance of public meetings and to allow time for public comment at such meetings.

State legislators passed the measure as part of the state budget in order to save money. By law, cities are entitled to seek compensation from the state for the costs incurred in posting agendas for city council and other meetings, although Los Angeles is the only city that has ever filed for reimbursement.

City Council members said they felt the new legislation made it necessary for the city to reaffirm that Seal Beach would continue to post agendas 72 hours in advance and allow citizens time to make comments.

"We feel the bill has a possibility of shortchanging citizens," Councilman Frank Laszlo said. "We were under the impression that it allows limitations of communications."

Laszlo said that making the city's policy clear now would deter any future city council from using the relaxation of the Brown Act's requirements to abandon the posting of agendas or limit time for public comment at meetings.

"We do it, but you never can tell what future city councils will do," he said. "When I'm not on the council, I'd like to see the agenda still posted well in advance."

The council's action may prove unnecessary, because the state Senate has passed another bill that would reinstate the open-meeting requirements. That bill has been sent to the governor for his signature.

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