Council: Special closed session to address pending VCCCD litigation

January 27, 2006
Santa Paula City Council

Less than two weeks after publicly expressing disappointment and anger, the City Council will meet in a special closed session Monday to discuss pending litigation against the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD).

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesLess than two weeks after publicly expressing disappointment and anger, the City Council will meet in a special closed session Monday to discuss pending litigation against the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD). The January 30 meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 970 E. Ventura Street.Although the meeting will be open for public comment, the balance of the session will be held behind closed doors to address VCCCD, as well one case of potential litigation, on-going labor negotiations, and to continue the evaluation for City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.At the January 17 meeting, the City Council said they might file a suit against VCCCD after the city’s request for records related to the bond measure that would expanded or created a new East Campus was spurned by the college district.
Bobkiewicz noted that the City Council and City Attorney Karl Berger “may come out of closed session for comments, but I’m not sure at this point if there will be any action to announce from the closed session. It’s unclear at this point.”In October, an increasingly angry City Council directed Berger to request all public records related to Measure S, the $356 million VCCCD bond approved by voters in 2002 that placed an almost $20 tax per parcel valuation of $100,000 on property owners. Passed in 2002, the Measure S campaign included numerous local appearances by VCCCD administrators and trustees promising that, if passed, a portion of the bond – about $25 million - would be used to expand Santa Paula’s East Campus. Last fall district officials said that the East Campus plan – originally slated for a six-acre parcel and now centered on 40 acres in East Area 1 - might be scrapped due to rising construction costs.Aside from all records and communications of Measure S, Berger also requested those documents pertaining to a new planetarium and athletic facilities being considered by the district, projects that might be funded in lieu of Santa Paula East Campus.It was only after almost three months of VCCCD delays, and amid claims that the city’s request was “vague and overbroad and unduly burdensome,” that an attorney for the district wrote that the records would be released by February 1. Correspondence from VCCCD’s attorney also noted that Berger’s request was “an abusive, albeit legal use of the Public Records Act process.”



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