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Legal Notes Archive

Title Issue
The Gatto Act Provides Cities With New Opportunities for Environmental Cleanup

The Gatto Act Provides Cities With New Opportunities for Environmental Cleanup

The Legislature’s elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012 stripped cities of several important tools to address blight in the community. Meanwhile, contamination or the threat of contamination still serves as a blighting influence in many California communities. The Gatto Act provides local agencies with a tool to address brownfields.

June 2014
Wireless Industry Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority

Wireless Industry Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority

Wireless industry lobbyists continue to advocate before Congress, state legislators and the Federal Communications Commission that local zoning requirements are a barrier that must be cleared away. It is not too late to voice concerns, and city officials have many reasons to do so.

April 2014
Practical Advice for Minimizing CEQA Liability in Your City

Practical Advice for Minimizing CEQA Liability in Your City

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the primary state law that requires public agencies and their decision-makers to understand and evaluate the environmental consequences of their discretionary decisions before making them. Moreover, CEQA requires that public agencies not only consider but take action to mitigate or avoid significant adverse environmental impacts where feasible.

February 2014
California Supreme Court: Cities May Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

California Supreme Court: Cities May Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Over the past several years, California cities and counties have faced the issue of whether to permit or ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Many cities imposed bans or prohibited dispensary operation, while others required permits, business licenses and regulations. The California Supreme Court has affirmed that cities have the authority and the right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries within their boundaries.

December 2013
Due Process Walls in the City Attorney’s Office: Safeguarding Fair Hearings

Due Process Walls in the City Attorney’s Office: Safeguarding Fair Hearings

In light of a recent court decision, cities should make sure their practices are consistent with the due process rights of parties involved in quasi-judicial proceedings.

October 2013
How Cities Can Remove and Deter Graffiti and Maximize Cost Recovery

How Cities Can Remove and Deter Graffiti and Maximize Cost Recovery

August 2013
Opportunities to Save Pension Costs Through Collective Bargaining After Pension Reform

Opportunities to Save Pension Costs Through Collective Bargaining After Pension Reform

The Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 mandates uniform, generally lower benefit formulas for all “new members” of California public agency defined benefit retirement plans.

April 2013
Making Drug Dealers Pay For Law Enforcement

Making Drug Dealers Pay For Law Enforcement

Cities are increasingly using civil actions rather than criminal prosecution to curb illegal drug sales within their borders. Often such actions are taken either under general nuisance laws or the California Drug Abatement Act. However, the California Unfair Competition Law has also been used effectively to curb drug sales and close down businesses where drugs are sold.

February 2013
Filarsky v. Delia: An Unqualified Win For Qualified Immunity

Filarsky v. Delia: An Unqualified Win For Qualified Immunity

The doctrine of qualified immunity protects government defendants from liability as long as their conduct did not violate clearly established law. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on the issue of whether private contractors also enjoy qualified immunity, which has a potentially significant impact on all cities.

December 2012
Realignment: How Cities Can Maximize Existing Powers and Recover Costs to Fight Crime

Realignment: How Cities Can Maximize Existing Powers and Recover Costs to Fight Crime

Cities can draw on their own police powers and state laws to abate problems from drugs and prostitution to graffiti and gangs.

October 2012