BREAKING NEWS, Monday, Jan. 27: Ventura City Council agrees to analyze CMWD 'alternative' to water lawsuit; votes to comply with state's open-meeting laws to report its Sept. 9 vote to add thousands to its water lawsuit

1 27 19 Ventura council meeting

                                           Video courtesy of Sophie Loire

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The Ventura City Council voted unanimously at its Monday, Jan. 27, meeting to consider by its Feb. 3 meeting a Casitas Municipal Water District "alternative" to suing Ojai Valley water users.

It also voted unanimously that it would comply with the state’s open-meeting laws — after complaints to Ventura County district attorney by Ojai Valley News and at least one other newspaper — and release information from its Sept. 9 closed-session meeting, at which it  unanimously voted to sue additional thousands of people in the Ojai Valley and Ventura over their use of water.

Ventura City Attorney Greg Diaz stated at the Monday, Jan. 27, Ventura City Council meeting: 

“The City Council has made the following decisions. In an effort to reduce the controversy in this matter, City Council has directed the city attorney to report out action taken by the council to add parties in this case, action taken by the City Council on Sept. 9, 2019. The vote to direct this to be reported out was by unanimous vote of the City Council with all members present.

“The vote on Sept. 9 was also unanimous with all members present.

“Second, also with the Channelkeeper's case, the city currently has a public records request from the Ojai Valley News requesting copies of all contracts between the city and law firm of Best Best & Krieger relating to this case. While these documents are considered confidential under the California Business & Professions Code, the City Council has specifically voted to waive attorney-client privilege as to these contracts with Best Best & Krieger, which pertain to this case and this case only. Copies will be provided to the Ojai Valley News in the morning. The vote to waive privilege as to these contracts was unanimous with all City Council members present.

“Furthermore, also relating to the Channelkeeper’s case, there is a second public records request from the Ojai Valley News relating to copies of all approvals, permissions or communications with the law firm regarding the commencement of the adjudication process. This request is at the heart of attorney-client privilege, which the City Council has declined to waive. That vote was also unanimous.

“Finally, prior to going into closed session this evening, representatives of the Casitas Municipal Water District appeared before the City Council and made an alternative suggestion to the current legal action. The City Council by a 7-0 vote with all members present directed the city attorney, staff and special counsel to prepare an analysis on the proposal and to report back that item for consideration by the City Council by the Feb. 3 closed session. That concludes my report, Mr. Mayor.”

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