Council to Consider Open Government Decision

 

At its Feb. 19 meeting, the City Council discussed and took action on the city’s Open Government Commission’s (OGC) decision to declare a pair of ordinances relating to cannabis businesses null and void. The Council voted 4-0 to reconsider ordinances 3227 and 3228 at a future meeting. Councilmember Tony Daysog abstained.

Both ordinances regulate cannabis businesses. Ordinance 3227 involves the regulatory rules of marijuana businesses in Alameda, while Ordinance 3228 deals with the land-use zoning of potential marijuana businesses.

At issue is whether the City Council should let stand OGC’s decision that the ordinances the Council passed last October are invalid. At question is whether the city failed to properly notify the public of their placement on the City Council’s agenda. The city’s long-fought-for Sunshine Ordinance, adopted eight years ago, requires that the city give the public adequate notice of matters coming before the City Council (or any board or commission). Last November, OGC decided that the city did not give such notice about these two ordinances.

After OGC rendered its decision, the City Attorney’s office stepped in and has attempted to render the commission’s decision invalid, if not illegal.

Acting City Attorney Alan Cohen decided to call a special meeting. He invited OGC members to the table to reconsider its verdict because, Cohen said, OGC did not have the authority to declare an ordinance null and void. Now it appears they might. The City Council may soon take actions that could either strengthen or weaken the Sunshine Ordinance. Time will tell