Letter: 40 Years is Too Long

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The City must sever its more than 40-year relationship with its contract legal firm, Rutan & Tucker. The most recent evidence to support this conclusion is the Orange County District Attorney’s finding as relates to the June 29, 2021 council meeting: “…there is substantial evidence that the City Council Members violated the Brown Act with respect to the public notice of the closed session and/or the scope of the matters considered during the meeting.”

The fact that the City Attorney either did not understand the rules regarding closed sessions under the Brown Act, or that he knowingly acceded to Council or City manager pressure to manufacture a fig-leaf rationale for the closed door session, the fact remains that his legal guidance has resulted in the embarrassing situation that the City Council finds itself in today. And for the reduced transparency citizens are owed under the law.

It can not be considered good practice for a customer to rely on a single vendor for years. A greater than four-decade reliance on one legal firm (and decades on one individual) must be detrimental to how the city’s legal affairs are managed and how laws are enacted and enforced. I call upon the City Council to address this issue with the seriousness it warrants.

Michael Morris, Laguna Beach

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