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Legal Opinions - Yearly Index

Opinions published in 2012

Opinion Question Conclusion Published
12-602 May Jim Fitzpatrick simultaneously serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District and as a member of the Planning Commission of the City of Costa Mesa? Whether the offices of director of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District and commissioner of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission are incompatible, and whether Jim Fitzpatrick has therefore forfeited his office as sanitary district director, present substantial questions of fact and law warranting judicial resolution. Accordingly, the application for leave to sue is GRANTED.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 67
12/18/2012
12-301 Does a police department have discretion to establish guidelines that would allow an impounded vehicle to be released in less than 30 days in situations where a 30-day statutory impoundment period could apply? (Veh. Code sections 14602.6, 22651 (h)(p).) A police department has discretion to establish guidelines that would allow an impounded vehicle to be released in less than 30 days, under Vehicle Code section 22651(p), in situations where a fixed 30-day statutory impoundment period, under Vehicle Code section 14602.6(a)(1), may also potentially apply.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1
05/03/2012
12-203 1. Does a voter-approved charter amendment, which specifies that certain supplemental cost-of-living adjustments will not be paid to retired employees of the City and County of San Francisco (City) and their covered beneficiaries “unless the Retirement System was also fully funded based on the market value of the assets for the previous year,” violate the vested pension rights of retired City employees and their covered beneficiaries?

2. Did the City’s Board of Supervisors secure an actuarial report on the cost and effect of the proposed charter amendment before voting to submit that charter amendment to City voters?
Because Proposed Relator’s claims do not implicate the state’s sovereign interest in the enforcement of state laws respecting the amendment of city charters, and because it is not in the general public interest for us to authorize the filing of the proposed quo warranto action under the circumstances, leave to sue in quo warranto is DENIED. The denial of this application, however, does not preclude Proposed Relator from bringing another form of legal action on its own behalf to challenge the substantive validity of the charter amendment at issue.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 50
12/14/2012
11-1113 Is Richard Kuritz unlawfully holding the office of Director of the Arrowbear Park County Water District because he does not reside within the boundaries of the District? (Formerly Opinion No. 11-1115) Whether Richard Kuritz is unlawfully holding the office of director of the Arrowbear Park County Water District because he does not reside in the District presents substantial questions of fact and law warranting judicial resolution; accordingly, the application for leave to sue in quo warranto is GRANTED.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 43
10/09/2012
11-1104 Under state law, may a city install and utilize an automated photographic traffic enforcement system in order to enforce a right-turn prohibition at an intersection equipped with official traffic control signals and signage indicating that such turns are prohibited at all times? Under state law, a city may install and utilize an automated photographic traffic enforcement system in order to enforce a right-turn prohibition at an intersection equipped with official traffic control signals and signage indicating that such turns are prohibited at all times.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 59
12/17/2012
11-704 When a county treasurer serves as the treasurer of a public cemetery district, must the governing board of the cemetery district obtain the county treasurer’s approval before it may invest its endowment care fund and surplus endowment income funds outside of the county treasury? When a county treasurer is serving as the treasurer of a public cemetery district, the governing board of the cemetery district may invest its endowment care fund and any “surplus” or “idle” endowment income funds in the manner prescribed by statute without the county treasurer’s approval.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 113
12/24/2012
11-702 Did the City of Bakersfield sufficiently meet and confer with the Bakersfield Police Officers Association before placing an initiative measure on the November 2010 ballot which, after it was passed by the electorate, resulted in the enactment of ordinances that (1) set a new and different pension benefit calculation formula and contribution level for City public safety officers hired on or after January 1, 2011, and (2) provided that the new benefit formula and contribution level may be amended or repealed only by a vote of the electorate? Leave to sue in quo warranto is GRANTED to decide whether the City of Bakersfield sufficiently met and conferred with the Bakersfield Police Officers Association before placing an initiative measure on the November 2010 ballot which, after it was passed by the electorate, resulted in the enactment of ordinances that (1) set a new and different pension benefit calculation formula and contribution level for City public safety officers hired on or after January 1, 2011, and (2) provided that the new benefit formula and contribution level may be amended or repealed only by a vote of the electorate.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 31
06/11/2012
11-504 1. If a county’s population exceeds 45,000, does the Community Recreation Act permit the use of school buses to transport persons for purposes of community recreation that is not directly controlled by a public authority?

2. How are the transportation provisions of the Community Recreation Act enforced?
1. If a county’s population exceeds 45,000, the Community Recreation Act authorizes the use of school buses to transport persons for purposes of community recreation only if that recreation is under the direct control of a public authority, except that a school district which, on July 25, 1983, already had in place “established practices, policies, and procedures” permitting school bus use by nonprofit organizations “for purposes consistent with community recreation” is authorized to continue such historically permitted use.

2. A school district’s use of its school buses for community recreation purposes not authorized by the Community Recreation Act may subject the district to oversight by the Department of Education, and to legal actions to compel the district’s compliance with statutory and constitutional standards.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 121
12/26/2012
11-401 1. May a term served on a town council that was served prior to the effective date of a local initiative term-limit ordinance be counted against the term limit imposed by that ordinance?

2. If city voters enact an ordinance imposing a two-consecutive-term limit on the Town Council and in the same election elect or re-elect members to the Town Council, where the terms of the newly elected and re-elected members commence shortly before the effective date of the ordinance, may the new term be counted as the first of the two terms subject to the limitation?
1. A term served on a town council that was served prior to the effective date of a local initiative term-limit ordinance may not be counted against the term limit imposed by that ordinance.

2. If city voters enact an ordinance imposing a two-consecutive-term limit on incumbency on the Town Council and in the same election elect or re-elect members to the Town Council, where the terms of the newly elected and re-elected members commence shortly before the effective date of the term limit ordinance, the new term may be counted as the first of the two terms subject to the limitation, such that an incumbent Town Council member may serve consecutively his or her current term and one more.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 37
07/13/2012
11-304 Does the Prison Industry Board’s power to “establish, notwithstanding any other provision of law, procedures governing the purchase of . . . goods and services,” as provided in Penal Code section 2808(g), mean that the Prison Industry Authority is exempt from state laws governing public works contracts? The Prison Industry Board’s power to establish procedures for the purchase of goods and services, as conferred by Penal Code section 2808(g), does not exempt the Prison Industry Authority from state laws governing public works contracts.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 102
12/24/2012
11-302 Is Linda Sanders Rubin ineligible to serve as director of the Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District while she is employed as the Director of Dietary Services at the El Centro Regional Medical Center? Whether Linda Sanders Rubin is ineligible to serve as director of the Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District while she is employed as the Director of Dietary Services at the El Centro Regional Medical Center presents substantial questions of fact and law warranting judicial resolution; accordingly, the application for leave to sue in quo warranto is GRANTED.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 77
12/19/2012
11-204 1. Where a community services district has received approval from a Local Agency Formation Commission to exercise its latent power to provide police protection and law enforcement services within its boundaries, may that district contract with the county or another local public agency in order to have the county sheriff or another local agency police department provide those services?

2. If so, does state law require the district to first obtain competitive bids or otherwise solicit proposals from multiple parties?
1. Where a community services district has received approval from a Local Agency Formation Commission to exercise its latent power to provide police protection and law enforcement services within its boundaries, that district may contract with the county or another local public agency in order to have the county sheriff or other local agency police department provide those services.

2. Where a community services district has received approval from a Local Agency Formation Commission to exercise its latent power to provide police protection and law enforcement services within its boundaries and that district desires to contract with the county or another local public agency in order to have the county sheriff or other local agency police department provide those services, state law does not require the district to first obtain competitive bids or otherwise solicit proposals from multiple parties.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 26
06/01/2012
10-1103 1. May a director of a County Water Authority who represents a member agency of the Authority vote on a contract between the member agency and the Authority?

2. If a director of a County Water Authority who represents a member agency of the Authority may not vote on a contract between the member agency and the Authority, is the director also restricted in other activities related to the contract?

3.May a director of a County Water Authority who represents a member agency of the Authority vote on an action coming before the board of the Authority in which the member agency has a financial interest, if the action is not a vote on a contract between the member agency and the Authority?
1. If a director of a County Water Authority is an officer of the member agency that he or she represents, then the director may not vote on a contract between the member agency and the Authority. If a director of an Authority is not an officer of the member agency, then the director generally may vote on a contract between the member agency and the Authority.

2. A director of a County Water Authority who represents a member agency of the Authority may participate in actions related to a contract between the member agency and the Authority, other than voting on the contract.

3. A director of a County Water Authority who represents a member agency of the Authority may vote on an action coming before the board of the Authority in which the member agency has a financial interest, if the action is not a vote on a contract between the member agency and the Authority.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 130
12/27/2012
10-902 1. What constitutes an “island” within the meaning of Government Code section 56375.3, pertaining to the annexation of surrounded or substantially surrounded islands of unincorporated territory?

2. Does Government Code section 56375.3 require the annexation of an “entire island” or “entire unincorporated island” as set forth, respectively, in subdivisions (b)(1) and (b)(2) of that statute?

3. May a Local Agency Formation Commission split up an unincorporated island that exceeds 150 acres into smaller parcels in order to utilize the streamlined “island annexation” procedures set forth in Government Code section 56375.3 and thereby avoid the landowner/voter protest proceedings that would otherwise be required?
1. For purposes of Government Code section 56375.3, an “island” is an area of unincorporated territory that is (1) completely surrounded, or substantially surrounded—that is, surrounded to a large degree, or in the main—either by the city to which annexation is proposed or by the city and a county boundary or the Pacific Ocean, or (2) completely surrounded by the city to which annexation is proposed and adjacent cities. An “island” may not be a part of another island that is surrounded or substantially surrounded in this same manner.

2. Government Code section 56375.3 requires the annexation of an “entire island” or “entire unincorporated island” as set forth, respectively, in subdivisions (b)(1) and (b)(2) of that statute.

3. A Local Agency Formation Commission may not split up an unincorporated island that exceeds 150 acres into smaller segments of 150 acres or less in order to utilize the streamlined “island annexation” procedures set forth in Government Code section 56375.3 and thereby avoid the landowner/voter protest proceedings that would otherwise be required.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 16
06/01/2012
10-804 May a judge who has voluntarily retired for disability with the approval of the Commission on Judicial Performance and the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court be certified to administer oaths under Code of Civil Procedure section 2093(c) and Government Code section 1225? A judge who has voluntarily retired for disability with the approval of the Commission on Judicial Performance and the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court may not be certified to administer oaths under Code of Civil Procedure section 2093(c) and Government Code section 1225. However, pursuant to a separate statutory scheme, a judge who has voluntarily retired for disability, but who is later found by the Commission on Judicial Performance to be capable of judicial service and is assigned to a court by the Chair of the Judicial Council, may administer oaths while sitting on assignment.

Official Citation: 95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 89
12/20/2012

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