11/6/2004 Daily Breeze Article about King Drew Center being closed
District Attorney Steve Cooley concluded Friday that county supervisors violated the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law, by reaching a decision behind closed doors to close the trauma center at Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center.
Cooley said he will take no legal action against the supervisors, on the grounds that they did not intentionally try to exclude the public.
***Mr. Cooley, Esq. is correct here –
Government Code # 54959. Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
“I don’t know that we need to hear the tapes,” said Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who had accused the supervisors of violating state law. “He’s the people’s attorney. He says they violated the Brown Act. That’s good enough for me.”
***What about “Innocent Until PROVEN Guilty?”
The supervisors agreed to release the meeting audiotapes on the condition that their contents remain confidential.
***Then how would there be prosecution, if Mr. Cooley had thought they did it intentionally?
Because Cooley agreed to those terms, he said he could not provide the factual basis for his written opinion.
After reviewing the tapes, Cooley determined the supervisors had violated the law both by discussing plans to close the trauma center and by reaching an “apparent consensus,” or a decision, on the plan.
“In so doing, the board considered matters which were not privileged and which should have been aired in an open and public meeting,” Cooley wrote.
“I take the Brown Act very seriously, and to the extent that any of our deliberations exceeded the Brown Act’s limitations, it is regrettable,” Yaroslavsky said. “But it was neither deliberate nor malicious, as the district attorney concluded.”