According to Webb, an item on the agenda would have placed the commission in violation of the Brown Act. I'd tell more about the item, but I've since learned that to do so might violate the Brown Act. So, readers will have to take my word for it.
Webb told us that if we didn't pull the item from our agenda, he would have an obligation to report the commission's alleged violation to the district attorney. After which, the Redondo Beach Harbor Commission would most likely receive a written warning from the DA to cease and desist.
On the face of it, one would expect the city attorney to defend a commission and its members rather than threatening to rat us out to the DA. He was performing his duty by informing us of what he believed to be a violation and providing us with advice on how to avoid the problem. If the commission refused to act on that advice, he would have been compelled to report the violation.
Laws such as the Brown Act are only as good as their enforcement, and until 2001 Los Angeles authorities had chosen not to enforce the Brown Act.
L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley seems intent on keeping the heat on potential violations. "The District Attorney's office has the authority to prosecute individual members of the legislative body criminally and to initiate civil actions to prevent or nullify actions taken in violation of the Brown Act," according to the web site of a branch of his operation known as the Public Integrity Division (PID), which aggressively pursues offenders.
The Manhattan Beach case centers around the City Council's separation agreement with former City Manager Geoff Dolan. The suit alleges the public was not notified of the council's intention to meet in closed session to discuss Dolan's departure from the city and payment of nearly $200,000 in severance.
Webb also warned the commission against any further "glib" references to the "Brown Act Police." Although that term was used facetiously at a previous meeting, it turns out the PID really is the Brown Act Police. Who knew?