Have City's Public Services or Facilities Really Been Threatened?
Are You in Danger?

"By holding discussions on vital issues in secret, the board displays its contempt for the public."

An anticipated civil uprising, violent protest that threatens public safety, public employees or public facilities or threat to public services like the water supply, electrical service or access to public buildings are legitimate reasons to have a Closed Session under the Government Code 54957 referenced in the City Council agenda according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in a letter to the Board of Supervisors.

City Council Closed Session agenda item item B on the Closed Session Agenda says:

THREAT TO PUBLIC SERVICES OR FACILITIES Consultation with:  Department Representative, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

G.C.§ 54957

Using the closed session as a retreat behind closed doors to discuss sensitive business such as deployment of personnel, budgetary matters or allocations of resources would be illegal, also according to the DA's Office.

Later in the open session, a Mid-Year Budget Review is scheduled and changes to the Sheriff services may be possible raising suspicions that this may be a more likely reason for the closed session than La Habra Heights at risk for civil uprising, violent protest, or threat to public services.

A recent Los Angeles Times and District Attorney's Office Investigation into a similar matter regarding the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors resulted in a 6 page letter from the DA to the Board of Supervisors analyzing the Brown Act exception that allows Closed Sessions under Government Code 54957, and calling to task the Board for holding a Closed Session on prison realignment and the consequences.

In a January 31, 2012 Los Angeles Times Editorial, subtitled "By holding discussions on vital issues in secret, the board displays its contempt for the public" , the Times says, "No exemption allows a board of supervisors or any other public body to conduct discussions out of public view just because they want to speak candidly. In fact, the more frank the discussion — the more it deals with matters of safety, spending, deployment of public personnel and implementation of public programs — the more vital the need for the conversation to take place in the light of day."

It is hard to imagine the circumstances that "the urgency and magnitude of a threat to public access to services and facilities contemplated by Government Code Section 54957" would allow for a seven day delay to the regularly scheduled City Council meeting before it is discussed.

Read Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Public Integrity Division Letter

Read the Los Angeles Times Editorial