Legal Opinions of the Attorney General -
Yearly Index

Opinions published in 2021

Opinion Question Conclusion Issued
21-201 THE CITY OF LANCASTER has requested our permission to sue proposed defendant MICHAEL RIVES in quo warranto to oust him from his public office as a member of the Board of Directors of the Antelope Valley Healthcare District. The City alleges that ouster is required on the ground that Rives also holds a second, incompatible, public office as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Antelope Valley Community College District, in violation of Government Code section 1099. There are substantial questions of law and fact as to whether membership on the Antelope Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors and the Antelope Valley Community College District Board of Trustees are incompatible public offices, thus requiring Rives to forfeit his first-held office on the Healthcare District Board of Directors. Consequently, and because the public interest would be served by allowing the action to proceed, the application for leave to sue in quo warranto is GRANTED.

Official Citation: 104 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 15
07/15/2021
21-101 The IMPERIAL COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION requests leave to sue ANNETTE GONZALEZ-BUTTNER in quo warranto to oust her from her public office as a trustee of the Imperial County Board of Education. The quo warranto application alleges that ouster is required on the ground that Gonzalez-Buttner also holds a second, incompatible, public office as a trustee of the Imperial Community College Board. We conclude that whether the doctrine of incompatible public offices precludes Annette Gonzalez-Buttner from simultaneously serving as a trustee of both the Imperial County Board of Education and the Imperial Community College Board presents substantial questions of law and fact that would ordinarily warrant a judicial resolution. Because Ms. Gonzalez-Buttner no longer holds the offices in question, however, we deny this quo warranto application as moot. 09/24/2021
20-101 1. May a county recorder recover base recording fees that were deposited in the county’s general fund?

2. May the recorder recoup any base recording fees that exceed the costs of recording and indexing services by offsetting other charges that the recorder collects for the county?
1. No. A county recorder may not recover base recording fees that were deposited in the county’s general fund because these fees belong to the county as a whole, not to the recorder separately.

2. No. The recorder has no right to base recording fees, including “excess” base recording fees. Therefore, the recorder may not use an offset to recover them indirectly.
08/05/2021
19-401 Does California law authorize a county to contract with the military for the county to provide certain governmental services—such as water, waste removal, sewage, landscaping, street maintenance, and emergency vehicle repair—in support of a military installation within the county? Yes. California law generally authorizes a county to contract with the military for the county to provide those kinds of services in support of a military installation within the county.

Official Citation: 104 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1
01/15/2021
18-502 Does a county’s nuisance abatement lien created under Government Code section 25845 have a ten-year expiration period like the judgment lien referenced in that statute? No. A county’s nuisance abatement lien created under Government Code section 25845 does not have a ten-year expiration period.

Official Citation: 104 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 9
02/16/2021
18-201 1. Would it violate the Ralph M. Brown Act for appointees to a joint powers authority to discuss a matter that is pending before that authority with their respective member agencies, at those agencies’ separately held open meetings?

2. Would it violate procedural due process for a member agency of a joint powers authority to discuss with its appointee to that authority, at the member agency’s open meeting, how to decide or vote a particular way on an adjudicative matter that is pending before the authority?
1. No. The contemplated discussions would not violate the Act because they would occur at open, public meetings, and there would be no collective deliberation by a majority of the members of any legislative body outside of such a meeting.

2. Depending on the particular circumstances, such discussion could violate procedural due process by infringing on a party’s right to a neutral, impartial decision-maker.
09/17/2021