By Jim Tortolano
Did the majority of the Westminster City Council violate the Ralph Brown Act in conducting two meetings without proper notice at a location at the private business of one of the council members?
Without “admitting any … violation,” the council on July 10 voted to sent a letter to Jodi Boyd, who made the complaint, that it “unconditionally commits that it will cease, desist from, and not repeat the challenged past actions” cited by Boyd.
The Brown Act is an open meetings law that places certain requirements and restrictions on the meetings of public agency government boards such as city councils and school boards.
In Boyd’s letter of complaint to the council, she alleged that:
- Meetings of June 2 and July 7 were only publicized to the Vietnamese American community
- Public notice was not posted on the city’s website
- Public notice was not posted at City Hall or in public areas
- Attendance by three members – Mayor Tri Ta and councilmembers Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen – represented a majority of the council
- At the meetings items within their jurisdiction were discussed
- The meetings were held at Ho’s private business, Family Acne Center. (Council meetings are usually held at the council chamber in the Civic Center).
- Maximum seating was around 30 folding chairs, “further restricting attendance by the general public.”
Boyd’s letter demanded that the council majority “cease and desist” the alleged violations.
The Westminster council is embroiled in a bitter split between the majority – Ta, Ho and Nguyen – and the minority – Tai Do and Sergio Contreras, and all five members are the targets of recall plans.