New Livable California v. Association of Bay Area GovernmentsAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs are not-for-profit corporations focused on land use, zoning, housing, transportation, and open government. ABAG is a joint power authority of San Francisco Bay Area counties and cities, focused on housing. ABAG’s governing Board, consisting of county supervisors, mayors, and city councilmembers, is subject to the Brown Act, Govt. Code 54950. Plaintiffs contend the Board violated the Act’s vote reporting requirement during a meeting concerning a regional housing and transportation development proposal (CASA). The Board: rejected a motion to postpone a vote (Substitute Motion) on the CASA motion by “a show of hands,” that was reported as a “voice vote”; approved a motion to call the question on the CASA Motion by “a show of hands,” that was not reported; adopted an amended CASA motion by a “roll call,” that was reported as a “vote,” listing the name and vote of each member present.
The plaintiffs alleged that the vote procedures for the Substitute Motion and the Motion to Call the Question involved no announcement “publicly” reporting the vote or abstention of each member; that the improper vote reporting of the Substitute Motion rendered the later Amended CASA vote void because if the Substitute Motion had succeeded, no vote would have been held on the Amended CASA motion; and that the “secretive” voting undermined their ability to monitor how members voted. The court of appeal reversed the dismissal of the suit; the allegations concerning the Substitute Motion state claims under sections 54960 and 54960.1 for declaratory and injunctive relief.