Legal Notes

Overview

Legal Notes

Article Legal Notes Steven L. Dorsey

Making Contracts Stick

Article Legal Notes Michael JenkinsLauren FeldmanSonia CarvalhoJeff Dunn

Addressing the Issue of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The two articles presented here examine the legal standards and practices under which cities may enact local laws either to ban or regulate dispensaries.

Article Legal Notes John H. KnoxMarc A. Levinson

Avoiding and Using Chapter 9

The stresses that can result in the drastic step of filing for bankruptcy protection are currently affecting many municipalities, but filing for Chapter 9 protection should be considered a last…

Article Legal Notes Nicole Hoeksma GordonMargaret M. Sohagi

Shovel-Ready on a Shoestring: Tools for Efficient, Cost-Saving CEQA Compliance

Cities can take many simple steps to maximize the efficiency of CEQA review while maintaining legal defensibility, and streamlining the process can also save money.

Article Legal Notes Michelle Marchetta Kenyon

How Cities Can Manage Legal Costs Without Increasing Risk

City attorneys are exploring ways to provide more cost-effective legal assistance while maintaining the level of service expected by the city.

Article Legal Notes Michael EstradaDebbie Cho

Using Design-Build Can Save Money on Public Construction

The Legislature recently granted California cities expanded authority to use the design-build project delivery method.

Article Legal Notes Richard Lam

Clean It or Lien It: Dealing with Foreclosed or Abandoned Properties

What are the viable options to protect the safety of neighborhoods where foreclosed homes are abandoned and become unsightly invitations to unlawful activity and sources of health risks?

Article Legal Notes Nikki Hall

Addressing ADA Accessibility Issues in the Public Sector

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has been in effect for nearly two decades, many public entities are not yet in compliance with its accessibility requirements.

Article Legal Notes Benjamin D. Winig

Lost In Translation: Local Public Agencies and Translating Official Documents

A look at the federal and state laws related to translation requirements.

Article Legal Notes Timothy H. IronsElizabeth M. Del Cidattorney

SB 97: The “Other” Global Warming Act

Article Legal Notes Christi Hogin

Building Green With Carrots and Sticks

Cities are increasingly using regulations and incentives to develop new greener building practices that reduce development’s short-and long-term environmental impacts.

Article Legal Notes Michael JenkinsHelyne MesharHernan Molina

Domestic Partner Rights in California

Michael Jenkins is a partner with the law firm of Jenkins & Hogin and serves as city attorney for the City of West Hollywood and several other Southern California cities; he can be reached at MJenkins@localgovlaw.com. Helyne Meshar is principal of Helyne Meshar & Associates and legislative advocate for the City of West Hollywood; she can be reached at HMeshar@aol.com. Hernan Molina is deputy to West Hollywood Mayor John Duran and can be reached at HMolina@weho.org.


It has been three years since California’s Domestic Partner Law was enacted. This article traces the law’s history, explains California cities’ role in its development and implementation and includes specific recommendations to ensure that your city is in compliance with the law.

Article Legal Notes Kourtney BurdickJoanne SpeersPatrick Whitnell

The Origins of California City Powers

Kourtney Burdick is deputy general counsel for the League and can be reached at kburdick@cacities.org. JoAnne Speers is executive director of the Institute for Local Government and a former general counsel for the League; she can be reached at jspeers@ca-ilg.org. Patrick Whitnell is general counsel for the League and can be reached at pwhitnell@cacities.org.


This column offers a brief and very general historical look at California cities’ constitutional history and powers. This information sheds light on some of the struggles cities face in protecting local control in the courts and the Legislature.

Article Legal Notes Kourtney Burdick

Living Wage Ordinances

Kourtney Burdick is the League’s deputy general counsel. She can be reached at kburdick@cacities.org.


In response to the rising cost of living in California, 21 cities have enacted living wage ordinances (LWOs). Included in this group are large cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Oakland; small cities such as Sonoma and Fair-fax; and medium-sized cities like Berkeley.1 These ordinances vary in some respects, but in general, their purpose is the same: They set a wage requirement that is higher — often much higher — than federal and state minimum wages.2

Article Legal Notes Michael ZischkeBradley Brownlow

State Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Water Supplies and CEQA

Michael Zischke and Bradley Brownlow are attorneys specializing in the California Environmental Quality Act and land use law with the San Francisco office of Cox Castle & Nicholson. Zischke is co-author of the treatise Practice Under the California Environmental Quality Act, published and updated annually by California Continuing Education of the Bar. He can be reached at mzischke@coxcastle.com. Brownlow can be reached at bbrownlow@coxcastle.com.


Last February, the California Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated ruling in Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible Growth v. City of Rancho Cordova,1 a case that has significant implications for water-strapped cities considering the approval of large development projects.