Around Town | July 16, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 16, 2010

Around Town

WHAT CAN THE BROWN ACT DO FOR YOU? ... When elected officials from Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Belmont and Burlingame formed the Peninsula Cities Consortium last year, their goal was to give their cities and citizens a greater voice on the design of California's proposed high-speed-rail system. But in the past week, the consortium found itself on the defensive when word got out that elected officials from Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Mountain View took a tour of the rail corridor with Curt Pringle, chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board of directors. The group briefly assembled for introductions before separating into two vans and proceeding along the corridor, Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt said. Though the tour itself was perfectly legal, the introductions technically violated the Ralph A. Brown Act, which bars elected officials from holding meetings or taking action without notifying the public. The introductions involved three of the five members of the consortium. Burt said the tour wasn't scheduled as a "meeting," but as a way to get Pringle acquainted with the corridor through which the high-speed-rail system is scheduled to pass. Pringle had recently taken a similar tour of the corridor in north San Mateo County, Burt said. Palo Alto City Attorney Gary Baum said the tour itself did not violate any laws, but the introduction time may have violated the Brown Act. That means the consortium could face a lawsuit that would require it to nullify whatever actions it took — if there had been any. Burt said the city officials involved in the tour had no intention to circumvent the law. "At worst, it's a technical violation," he said.

This story contains 718 words.

If you are a paid subscriber, check to make sure you have logged in. Otherwise our system cannot recognize you as having full free access to our site.

If you are a paid print subscriber and haven't yet set up an online account, click here to get your online account activated.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields