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Pomona Broke State Law, Complaint Says

D.A. probes allegation that the city violated an open meeting statute.

August 31, 2004|Hugo Martin | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is investigating charges that the Pomona City Council violated the state's open meeting law when it approved a downtown business improvement district on Aug. 2, city officials confirmed Monday.

The district attorney's public integrity unit also has requested that the council rescind all decisions made in the July and August council meetings when the improvement district was on the agenda, according to Pomona city officials.

The investigation was triggered by a complaint that the public notice for the council meeting on Aug. 2 was posted in front of City Hall in a glass-encased bulletin board in a way that partially obscured the agenda. Investigators would not say who filed the complaint.

Susan Chasworth, assistant head of the district attorney's public integrity unit, confirmed that her office is investigating possible violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act stemming from the council meetings at which officials discussed the business improvement district. Chasworth would not give details of the investigation.

The council voted July 19 and again Aug. 2 to create the improvement district after property owners in the downtown area voted to support it.

City Atty. Arnold M. Alvarez-Glasman said the district attorney's office wrote to the city recently, noting that investigators had received a complaint that the agenda was partially obscured. The letter also requested that the council rescind all the decisions made at the July 19 and Aug. 2 meetings, he said.

Alvarez-Glasman called the alleged violation a technicality and said he was surprised that the district attorney's office would ask the council to retract all its decisions for the two meetings. He said the city "took an abundance of caution to ensure that the public was notified about the meeting."

Alvarez-Glasman said the council had yet to meet since the alleged violation took place, and was likely to discuss on Sept. 13 how to respond.

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