City Council Says Listening Requirement is Bad Precedent

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The Los Angeles city council has asked its city attorney to appeal a decision last month that rebuked it for failing to pay any attention during a hearing. The Court of Appeal held that attorney Roger Diamond’s client was deprived of due process when council members ignored him during a zoning matter. Diamond had produced a video showing the council members conversing, walking around and talking on their cell phones as he made his argument. The court ordered a new hearing.

Last week, the city council voted 10-0 to have its attorney file a petition with the California Supreme Court, probably seeking to have the appellate decision “depublished,” which makes it not citable as precedent. The city is apparently concerned that the ruling “could mean that the council must always sit ‘still and silent’ during any proceeding.'” I don’t recall that the court ordered them to sit motionless, just to listen, but a spokesperson for the city attorney’s office still thought the order was a bad idea. “We don’t think it [listening?] is a good precedent for any time a government body is meeting,” she said.

Daily Journal, Jan. 28, 2005