Economic Development, Real Estate and Housing
- Court Upholds Redevelopment Dissolution Bill, Strikes Voluntary Payment BillDecember 29, 2011The California Supreme Court today issued an opinion in the California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos case, upholding Assembly Bill x1 26 (the "Redevelopment Dissolution" bill) and invalidating Assembly Bill x1 27 (the "Voluntary Payment" bill). The Court provided a four month extension for all deadlines contained in AB x1 26 that arise prior to May 1, 2012. As a result, ... read more
- California Supreme Court Revises Stay of Redevelopment Dissolution and “Opt-In” LegislationAugust 18, 2011California Redevelopment Association, et al. v. Ana Matosantos, et al.
The Supreme Court has revised its August 11 partial Stay of AB x1 26 and x1 27 by clarifying that the entirety of Part 1.8 (Health and Safety Code Sections 34161 through 34169.5) is excluded from the stay and remains in effect. This means that Health and Safety Code Section 34167.5, which permits the Controller to ... read more
- Next Steps for Redevelopment Agencies After Passage of Dissolution and “Pay to Play” Assembly BillsJuly 1, 2011On Tuesday, the Legislature approved the latest budget proposal (SB 87) and sent the previously passed trailer bills, AB 1X 26 and 27, to the Governor for signature. The California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities will be filing legal actions in efforts to invalidate the legislation and obtain a stay on implementation.
If the legislation is upheld, redevelopment ... read more
- Proposed Legislation to Address Governor’s Proposal to Disestablish Redevelopment AgenciesFebruary 24, 2011Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, February 23rd, the State Department of Finance released language for a proposed budget trailer bill that addresses the Governor’s proposal to disestablish redevelopment agencies. The 26-page bill has not yet been formally introduced, but may be introduced and considered by the Budget Conference Committee within the next few days. It is likely that the ... read more
- Court Holds That CEQA Does Not Require Analysis Of The Environment’s Impacts On A Proposed ProjectDecember 21, 2011Ballona Wetlands Land Trust v. City of Los Angeles is the second in a series of challenges to CEQA review of a mixed-use residential development, the Playa Vista Phase Two Project. In a prior case concerning the same Project, the Court issued a writ of mandate invalidating a 2004 EIR for failing to consider “in-place” preservation of archeological artifacts, and for presenting a ... read more
- Anti-NIMBY Findings Apply to All Residential Development Projects, Not Just Affordable HousingNovember 29, 2011In a decision interpreting a long-standing statutory provision, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that Stanislaus County erred when it denied a residential development but did not make findings under Government Code section 65589.5(j).
In Honchariw v. County of Stanislaus, filed November 14, 2011, the court rejected the County’s assertion that the so-called Anti-NIMBY (“not ... read more
- Cities and Counties May Ban Medical Marijuana DispensariesNovember 14, 2011On November 9, 2011, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, issued a ruling holding that state law does not preempt the City of Riverside's ("City") ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries ("MMD"). (City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, Inc., et al. (2011 Cal. App. LEXIS 1406).)
Having opened in the City in 2009, Inland ... read more
- Ninth Circuit Establishes Test For Whether Zoning Ordinances Treat Religious Land Uses On Less Than “Equal Terms”July 19, 2011On July 12, 2011, in Centro Familiar Cristiano Buenas Nuevas, et al. v. City of Yuma, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with jurisdiction over California, established the test to interpret the “equal terms” provision of the federal “Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act,” or RLUIPA.
The Ninth Circuit, in striking down zoning regulations for a tourist district ... read more
- California Supreme Court Clarifies Corporate Standing Requirements for CEQA Lawsuits in Upholding Environmental Review of Plastic Bag BanJuly 16, 2011In Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach, the California Supreme Court clarified and, potentially, expanded the rights of corporations to bring CEQA lawsuits and sought to inject “common sense” into the CEQA process.
The Coalition had sought review under CEQA of the City’s adoption of a plastic bag ban ordinance. The City challenged the standing of ... read more
- New CEQA Case Limits Disclosure Of Information About Vulnerable Cultural Resources And Clarifies Water Supply Availability AnalysesJuly 15, 2011In Clover Valley Foundation v. City of Rocklin, the Third District Court of Appeal considered a challenge to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a 558-home residential development in the City of Rocklin. While this case addresses a host of CEQA issues, the most notable holdings come with respect to the EIR’s analysis of impacts to cultural resources and water supply.
The ... read more
- 180-day Statute of Limitations Applies Unless CEQA Notice of Determination is Posted for 30 Full DaysJuly 12, 2011Latinos Unidos De Napa v. City of Napa
In Latinos Unidos, the First District Court of Appeal addressed calculation of the 30 day posting period for CEQA Notices of Determination. Applying Code of Civil Procedure § 12, the court determined that the 30 days commences on the first day after the Notice of Determination is posted and continues through the entire 30th day.
The ... read more
- Appellate Court Finds that Inclusionary Housing Requirement is Not an Exaction, Therefore Challenge is Time-BarredApril 5, 2011In a decision supportive of local inclusionary housing ordinances, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that a subdivider's challenge to a development condition requiring below market rate housing was not governed by the AB 1600 Mitigation Fee Act statute of limitations.
The case is primarily analyzed as a statute of limitations issue, but in the course of the analysis, the court finds ... read more
- Ninth Circuit Expounds on Burden Shifting Framework Established by the Supreme Court in City of Los Angeles v. Alameda BooksFebruary 7, 2011In the second published decision by the Ninth Circuit in this case, the Court addresses the new framework and burden shifting standard put in place by the United States Supreme Court when addressing constitutional challenges to ordinances aimed at reducing the secondary effects of adult entertainment businesses. (See City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books, Inc., 535 U.S. 425 (2002) ... read more
Labor and Employment
- California Supreme Court Holds Counties May be Bound by Implied Contracts to Provide Health Benefits to Retired EmployeesNovember 22, 2011In Retired Employees Association of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange (“REAOC”), the California Supreme Court addressed a question posed to it by the Ninth Circuit: “Whether, as a matter of California law, a California county and its employees can form an implied contract that confers vested rights to health benefits on retired county employees.” REAOC, ... read more
- Take Advantage of the Opportunity to Provide PERB with Feedback Regarding AB 646November 10, 2011Signed by Governor Brown on October 9, 2011, AB 646 amends the collective bargaining process for local public agencies by requiring the parties to proceed to fact finding after mediation and before a local public agency may unilaterally implement its last, best, and final offer. Several commentators have pointed out ambiguities with respect to the scope and application of the fact finding ... read more
- Effective January 1, 2012, Fact Finding Now Required After Mediation and Before Imposing Last, Best and Final OfferOctober 10, 2011Governor Brown signed AB 646 - which amends the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act ("MMBA") to require fact finding after mediation and before a local public agency may unilaterally implement its last, best and final offer.
Effective January 1, 2012, when a local public agency has reached an impasse during collective bargaining with representatives of a recognized employee organization, the employee ... read more
- Ninth Circuit Re-Affirms March 2011 Decision Holding Employer’s Rule Against Hiring Job Applicants Who Have Previously Tested Positive for Drug or Alcohol Use Does Not Violate ADA or FEHASeptember 25, 2011In Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Association, __ F.3d __ (9th Cir. 2011), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals approved an employer’s rule against hiring job applicants who have previously tested positive for drug and alcohol use. The court’s initial ruling was released in March 2011, but on September 21, 2011, the court denied the job applicant’s petitions for rehearing.
The ... read more
- Court of Appeal Approves Public Employee Termination for Posting Craigslist Sex Ad While Off-DutyMay 9, 2011
In San Diego Unified School District v. Commission on Professional Competence (Lampedusa), --- Cal. Rptr. 3d ---, 2011 WL 1234686 (ordered published May 3, 2011), the California Court of Appeal upheld a school district's dismissal of a schoolteacher who was terminated for posting a sexually explicit ad and photos of himself on Craigslist while off duty.
The ad neither identified ... read more
- The Second Appellate District Provides Guidance Regarding an Employer’s Reasonable-Accommodation DutyApril 26, 2011
The Second Appellate District's recent case of Cuiellette v. City of Los Angeles (2011) __ Cal.Rptr.3d ___, 2011 WL 1522390, highlights two critical issues that employers must consider when conducting a reasonable-accommodation analysis under the Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA").
First, employers should not refuse to accommodate an injured worker based solely on a 100% permanent ... read more
- Employer Liability for Biased Supervisor Who Influences TerminationMarch 24, 2011The employment discrimination case, Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 131 S.Ct 1186, 2011 WL 691244 (U.S.), decided on March 1 by the U.S. Supreme Court highlights the critical importance in conducting an objective investigation that confirms the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for discipline before taking action against an employee.
In Staub v Proctor Hospital, the employee ... read more
- Title VII Anti-Retaliation Provisions Are Held Applicable to Complaining Employee’s FiancéeJanuary 27, 2011In Thompson v. North American Stainless LP, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") protected an individual from being terminated in retaliation for his fiancée's prior complaint of discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
The Supreme Court's ... read more
- California Supreme Court Confirms Longstanding Rule Concerning Employee LayoffsJanuary 26, 2011
The Court confirms that there is no duty to bargain over the decision to initiate layoffs
IAFF, Local 188 vs. Public Employment Relations Board
City of Richmond (Real Party in Interest)
California Supreme Court No. S172377
On Monday, January 24, 2011, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding an employer’s duty to bargain under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act ... read more
- CARB Adopts Final GHG Cap-and-Trade ProgramOctober 26, 2011After surviving a highly publicized ballot box challenge and lawsuit, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) unanimously adopted a final greenhouse gas (“GHG”) cap-and-trade program regulation. The cap-and-trade program is considered to be the cornerstone of CARB’s implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Assembly Bill 32 (“AB 32”). ... read more
CEQA and NEPA
- Significant CEQA Streamlining Reform Bills EnactedOctober 24, 2011Three important reform bills designed to streamline California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) processing and review for certain classes of projects have been enacted and will take effect January 1, 2012. SB 226 creates a new exemption for urban infill and renewable energy projects. It also makes a variety of amendments to both CEQA and SB 375, the landmark 2008 legislation designed to ... read more
- Court Rejects CEQA Challenge to GHG and Water Analysis in Addendum to 1994 EIRJune 23, 2011In Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development (CREED) v. City of San Diego, the Court upheld the use of an Addendum to a 1994 environmental impact report (EIR) to approve a revised Project. The Court rejected two challenges: (1) that the Addendum failed to include an analysis of the impacts of greenhouse gases which was not addressed in the 1994 EIR; and (2) that the City ... read more
- City Approval Of Preliminary Terms for New Football Stadium Was Not A Project Approval And Did Not Violate CEQAMay 26, 2011In Cedar Fair, L.P. v. City of Santa Clara, the latest case interpreting Save Tara, the Sixth District Court of Appeal found that the City of Santa Clara did not violate CEQA when it approved preliminary terms for a new football stadium. The City had adopted a 39-page Stadium Term Sheet which detailed proposed construction, financing and other provisions for development of a stadium for ... read more
- Governor Signs AB 506 (Wieckowski) Affecting Chapter 9 Bankruptcy FilingsOctober 14, 2011On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed legislation that creates new requirements for local government entities considering Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings. The final bill allows a local government entity to file a bankruptcy petition so long as it has either declared a fiscal emergency or engaged in a specified mediation process with its major creditors.
This legislation was promoted by public ... read more
Trial and Litigation
- Project Thresholds Change Under Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting ActSeptember 27, 2011Public entities that utilize the UPCCAA should take note that the monetary thresholds for bidding on public projects has changed as follows:
(a) Public projects of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or less may be performed by the employees of a public agency by force account, by negotiated contract, or by purchase order.
(b) Public projects of one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ... read more
- Local Agencies Now Required to Provide Electronic Copies of Project Documents to Contractor Plan RoomsFebruary 16, 2011The California State legislature recently passed AB 2036, codified as Section 20103.7 of the Public Contract Code, which provides that "[a] local agency taking bids for the construction of a public work project or improvement, upon request from a contractor plan room service, must provide an electronic copy of a project's contract documents at no charge to the contractor plan room." Section ... read more
Municipal and Special District Law
- Ninth Circuit Finds Anti-Solicitation Ordinance Aimed at Day Laborers Violates First AmendmentSeptember 26, 2011The Ninth Circuit invalidated a City of Redondo Beach ordinance that prohibits solicitation between day laborers and occupants of motor vehicles on streets and highways. In Comite De Jornaleros De Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, Ninth Circuit Case No. 06-55750, No. 06-56869, the Ninth Circuit en banc opinion reversed the prior panel decision that held the Redondo Beach ordinance ... read more
- Non-elected members of public agency boards beware!February 1, 2011Under the broad language of proposed rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), intended to implement provisions of Section 975 (“Section 975”) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), non-elected members of the governing board of a municipal entity may fall under the definition of “municipal advisor” and thereby ... read more
- Executive Summary: Bills to WatchJune 8, 2011Various labor-related bills are currently making their way through the California Legislature. This executive summary provides a brief description of these bills and how each could potentially effect cities, counties and special districts around California.
Assembly Bill 646
Under the authority granted to local governments by the MMBA, many cities, counties and ... read more
Oil, Gas and Energy Law
- The Williamson Act: Agricultural Land Conservation and Solar DevelopmentMarch 23, 2011
On March 11, the California Department of Conservation (“Department”) issued an opinion entitled “Considerations in Citing Solar Facilities on Land Enrolled in the Williamson Act” (“Opinion”). This provides suggestions to cities and counties for permitting solar development on agricultural land under contract in the California Land Conservation Act (“Williamson Act”).
The ... read more