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Council accused of meeting violations Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Jun 30 2012 12:00 PM

Critics of proposals made by Chula Vista City Councilman Rudy Ramirez during June budget meetings are alleging Brown Act violations by the City Council.

A letter given to the city clerk Wednesday contends three Brown Act violations occurred at two recent City Council meetings.

The first alleged violation cites vague agenda wording for a verbal report regarding the fiscal year 2012-2013 proposed budget.

The letter was sent by Chula Vista residents Mark Liuag, Jon Miller and Kevin O’Neil.

Liuag said because the agenda item failed to specify Ramirez’s proposals, which included the proposed merging of library and recreation departments, the Brown Act was clearly violated. He quoted a section of the Brown Act to the council and city attorney.

“The key question is generally whether the agenda listing would give sufficient notice to a reasonable person that a particular matter would be deliberated or acted upon at the meeting. If not, there may be a violation of the Brown Act, as interested members of the public might have been deprived of an opportunity to observe and comment on the deliberations.”

Liuag said the city should remedy the situation by adopting the original June 12 budget at the beginning of the meeting on Thursday, not the one currently on the agenda.

“We’ve been talking about this issue for over a year,” Councilman Steve Castaneda said. “The city manager was on notice from at least three of us that the Recreation Department was woefully underfunded … we had to take council action to restore services like we did last year with the Norman Park (Senior) Center.”

The second alleged violation had to do with Ramirez’s June 19 teleconferencing while on vacation in Hawaii.

“The streaming video of Councilman Ramirez did not fully enable the public to participate. For a substantial period of time Councilman Ramirez could not even be seen on the screen…” Liuag stated in the letter.

Ramirez said the city clerk gave him a copy of the procedures he needed to follow in order to participate in the meeting.

“I followed it to the T,” he said.

City Attorney Glen Googins stated his office was not dismissing the claims outright.

“My office takes allegations of city misconduct and Brown Act compliance very seriously,” City Attorney Glen Googins said in an email Wednesday.

The city has 30 days to either cure or correct the actions or inform the writers the city will not do so, according to Section 54960 of the Brown Act.

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