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We are grateful that our local governments take responsibilities seriously

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Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012 12:00 am

It was heartening to see on Thursday's front page that Lodi and Galt city councils are going to continue posting agendas before their meetings.

Legally, they're no longer required to do that, but why wouldn't they? Some might wonder what all the fuss is about and frankly we wonder, too.

Not surprisingly, the fuss starts in Sacramento.

California's Brown Act requires that public meetings be mostly open to the public and that detailed agendas be posted three days prior.

Then, a few years back, some of California's bigger cities hoped to cash in on a new law that required the state to pay them back for required programs. They told the state, if you want us to post an agenda, you have to pay us to prepare it.

How these large cities, counties and special districts thought they could run a meeting without an agenda is beyond us. If it weren't for the money involved it would be a ridiculous argument, but the state ponied up.

Then the state ran short of money. Fed up with paying local governments to do what they should be doing anyway, funding for agendas was stopped. A key section of the Brown Act was voided.

Or was it?

Very few cities have actually been so pig-headed and disdainful of the people's right to know that they stopped posting agendas. But then it happened — or appears to have happened — down in San Diego.

A citizens' group called San Diegans for Open Government has sued San Diego County for not posting an agenda on its website. The group also sued California, demanding the agenda money be restored.

What a mess.

But all of this is a yawner locally because our local governments appear to take their duty to keep the citizens informed pretty seriously.

People in city government often brag they are the branch of government closest to the people. This is proof that around here, city people walk that talk.

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