Municipal and Special Districts

Property Tax Refund Claims May Be Filed Directly In Superior Court When The Assessed Property Was Not Owned By The Taxpayer; Such Claims Are Governed By A Four-Year Limitations Period

January 27, 2015 | Bulletin No. 1173988.2

When a taxpayer requests a property tax reduction, the taxpayer must ordinarily first request a reduction with the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board before the taxpayer may file in superior court. However, in Williams & Fickett v.

Inadvertent Disclosure of Privileged Documents in Response to a Public Records Act Request Converts the Document Into a Public Record

December 15, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1166066.1

The Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, delivered a sobering reminder to public agencies to carefully review documents produced in response to the Public Records Act (“PRA”)  to avoid disclosure of documents protected by evidentiary privileges.

California Supreme Court: Arbitrators May Rule on Pitchess Motions

December 8, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1163976.1

In Pitchess, the California Supreme Court (the "Court") held that, upon good cause, a criminal defendant can obtain law enforcement personnel records.  In 1978, the California Legislature codified this process by adding a series of statutes to the Evidence Code.  In Riverside County Sheriff’s Department v. Stiglitz (Drinkwater), December 1, 2014, Case No. S206350, the Court held that these statutes authorize an arbitrator (and not just a judge) to order the review of law enforcement personnel records.

City SLAPPs Away Landlord's Section 1983 Claim

December 7, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1160236.1

Anti-SLAPP motions provide defendants with a valuable tool to dispose of meritless cases that stifle protected speech . In Squires v. City of Eureka (October 17, 2014, A138768; A139849) ___Cal. App.4th___  [14 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 12, 987], the Court of Appeal upheld the use of an anti-SLAPP motion by the City of Eureka ("City") to dismiss a case brought by a group of landlords, after finding that the case stemmed from the City's protected code enforcement activities.

Courts Uphold Supplemental Assessment of Wells and Related Facilities/Improvements; and Validate Use of Cost Approach

November 11, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1156003.2

The County of Kern Tax Assessor’s (“Assessor”) use of the cost approach to value to appraise new oil and gas wells for the purpose of levying supplemental assessments has been upheld by the Fifth District Court of Appeal. In Chevron USA, Inc. v. County of Kern (October 28, 2014, F066273) ___Cal.App.4th ___ [2014 Daily Journal D.A.R. 14,553], the Court of Appeal affirmed the Kern County Assessment Appeals Board's (“Board”) decision which upheld the Assessor’s cost method for valuing new oil and gas wells, and found that the Board’s decision was a valid exercise of its discretion.

Public Works Institute | Ethics Training

Event Information


Thursday, November 6, 2014


8:30 AM


Sacramento Area Sewer Dist.
10060 Goethe Rd

Sponsored By:

Sacramento Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA)
(2014 Public Works Institute, November 5-7, 2014)


Jonathan P. Hobbs
Bruce Cline, City Attorney, City of Folsom


This presentation will focus on a) What is Ethics, b) Ethical vs.Legal Issues, and c) Organizational Culture


Tax Increment Financing Making a Return to California

Daily Journal, Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tax increment financing is back in California. New state legislation expanding the use of property tax increment through infrastructure financing districts (IFDs) gives local governments a tool to invest in needed infrastructure and economic development projects, much as they formerly could through redevelopment agencies until their elimination in 2012. However, it's clear that the new IFDs won't fully replace redevelopment agencies and the billions of dollars of tax increment they once generated.

Public Agency May Recover the Cost of Supplementing Administrative Record

September 29, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1146149.1

In CEQA litigation, the party challenging the project can either request that the agency prepare the record of proceedings (“Record”), or prepare the Record itself, subject to certification by the lead agency. In either case, the party preparing the Record must strive to do so at reasonable cost, and a prevailing party who prepared the Record may recover the costs of doing so. 

Court of Appeal Confirms Subdivision is a CEQA Project

September 15, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1143376.1

In Rominger v. County of Colusa (2014) (September 9, 2014, C073815) __ Cal.App.4th___, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held that a tentative subdivision map is a project under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).  In doing so, the Court rejected the County of Colusa’s (“County”) and project applicant’s contention that, in the absence of a specific development plan, the division of land alone is not a CEQA project.  Ultimately, the appellate court found that the petitioners had submitted sufficient evidence so as to require the preparation of an environmental impact report (“EIR”) for the subdivision project.

Sunshine Ordinance Preempted by City Charter Provision Creating Attorney-Client Privilege

August 13, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1135574.1

The First District Court of Appeal determined that City of San Francisco (“City”) resident Allen Grossman (“Grossman”) was not entitled to documents related to the development of certain San Francisco Ethics Commission (“Commission”) regulations. The case concerned a group of documents that had been withheld on the basis of attorney-client privilege, even though the City’s Sunshine Ordinance required disclosure of the documents. The Court found that the attorney-client privilege afforded to the Commission’s communications with the City Attorney’s Office in the furtherance of seeking legal advice were enshrined in the City’s Charter, which preempted the Sunshine Ordinance (S.F. Admin. Code, ch. 67). (St. Croix v. Superior Court (2014) __ Cal.Rptr.3d ___ 2014 WL 3704275).

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