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Community Digest

Downey

September 12, 1985

The district attorney's office does not plan to file criminal charges against city officials for holding an Aug. 5 meeting in a minibus and not allowing South Gate officials to attend.

At the meeting, Downey City Council members conferred with Rep. Glenn Anderson (D-Long Beach) for 45 minutes about a planned off-ramp in South Gate that is opposed by Downey officials but supported by South Gate officials. After the meeting, South Gate Mayor Bill DeWitt wrote to the district attorney requesting an investigation. In his letter, DeWitt maintained that Downey officials had conspired to violate the Brown Act, which requires that meetings of local legislative bodies be open. Violations are a felony punishable by up to a year in county jail or state prison and a $10,000 fine.

"I'm leaving open the possibility that there was a violation of the Brown Act," said Deputy District Atty. Candace Beason, "but it's not a criminal violation."

Beason said that in order for a criminal violation to occur, officials would have had to have taken some action during the minibus meeting. No action was taken, Beason said.

"I'm very disappointed," DeWitt said. "They (the Downey City Council) conducted public business at a meeting that the public wasn't invited to."

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