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Disclosure: Problems of Closed-Door Sessions

Sen. Quentin L. Kopp (I-San Francisco) is to be congratulated for sponsoring legislation that enables public scrutiny of the local legislative process (March 29). I wish he had included the requirement to record the minutes of closed sessions of city council meetings and retain those minutes for a prudent period of time, before making them public.

Residents of Rolling Hills Estates have long suffered the effects of good-old-boy back-scratching cronyism in our local government. Back-room deals, questionable closed session council meetings and secret committee negotiations resulted in what I feel is an inappropriate expenditure of $1.4 million of county funds earmarked for Rolling Hills Estates.

A complicated agreement, which in my opinion, included questionable appraisals of donated land, and likely negative attendant tax consequences to the donor, resulted in our city transferring 20 of the available 28 acres to the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy. The Conservancy, an independent entity that can buy, sell or trade land, is not an agency of our state or local government. Therefore, I believe that public funds facilitated giving significant public assets to a private entity which has its own agenda, and not a single public hearing was held.

The arrogance of our City Council members who presided over the disposition of $1.4 million and 28 acres of land without public hearings, in secret closed sessions, prove the wisdom of Kopp’s legislation.

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MAURICE SINGER

Rolling Hills Estates


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