Do Lancaster City Council meetings violate state law?

LANCASTER – By not announcing which lawsuits are being discussed in closed sessions, taking action on items not on the agenda, and convening council meetings without a quorum, the Lancaster City Council is flagrantly violating California’s open meeting law, alleges a complaint filed against the City of Lancaster this week.

The complaint, which claims multiple violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act took place during the last three council meetings alone, was filed by long-time council critic Scott Pelka.

“Frankly I’m tired of the city doing this stuff and doing it illegally” said Pelka, a resident of Lancaster for about 11 years. “They don’t care about following the rules, they never have.”

Pelka said he filed the complaint Tuesday with the city of Lancaster, and copied all council members, city manager Mark Bozigian, city attorney David McEwen, L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley, and state attorney general Kamala Harris.

The complaint claims 11 violations of the Brown Act took place at council meetings between Feb. 28 and March 27. It lists the date and cites each provision of the law believed to have been violated on that date.

Among the violations, the complaint alleges:

  • At a Feb. 28 meeting (and every council meeting since) the council did not announce nor disclose which lawsuits would be discussed in closed session, violating section 54957.7(a) of the Brown Act.
  • At a March 13 meeting, the council took action on an item not on the agenda when council members appointing Kit Yee Szeto to the Lancaster Housing Authority, violating section 54954.2(a)(1). “Further, it is believed that the appointment of Kit Yee Szeto would constitute a clear conflict of interest as she is employed by the Mayor, and represents his personal interests, not those of the citizens of the city of Lancaster,” the complaint states.
  • At a March 27 meeting, a council meeting was called to order with only one council member in attendance, violating section 54952.2(a) of the Brown Act. Additionally, the meeting began 90 minutes after the posted and legally noticed starting time, violating section 54954(a), according to the complaint.

View the entire complaint here.

The complaint demands that those portions of city council meetings proven to have violated the Brown Act be declared null and void.

“In the case of the last meeting [3/27] where they opened the meeting without a quorum and then put the meeting in recess… that entire meeting should be null and void,” Pelka said.

His complaint also calls for a complete investigation into all public meetings conducted by the current city council to determine if any other violations of the Brown Act or violations of citizens’ civil rights have taken place.

“If these violations took place in the last three weeks, how many times have they done this in the last four years?” Pelka said.

Reached Wednesday, City Manager Mark Bozigian said he was aware of the complaint. Shortly after, the city released a response to the complaint which read:

“All City of Lancaster public meetings are conducted in accordance with California law, including the Ralph M. Brown Act. The correspondence in question will be addressed by the City Attorney’s office.”

Pelka said he is not surprised by the city’s response, and said he would be taking his complaint a step further.

“Now it goes directly to the district attorney’s office, they’re the second people you have to go to under the Brown Act… if I don’t get resolution from the district attorney’s office then I go to the attorney general’s office,” Pelka said.

Asked what he ultimately hopes to accomplish with the complaint, Pelka said: “Transparency. There is nothing transparent about the way [the city council] conducts their meetings.”

“The Brown Act is to protect me, the private citizen, when the city government breaks the law by not having open honest meetings,” Pelka continued.

View the entire complaint here. View the entire Ralph M. Brown Act here.

View past City Council meetings and agendas, from Feb. 2008 to present, here.

  68 comments for “Do Lancaster City Council meetings violate state law?

  1. Beervana
    February 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Whatever happened about these charges? Did the toilet get flushed or what??? I was hoping to see Scott prevail.

  2. February 13, 2013 at 1:13 am

    That is the very greatest file I’ve read enjoy it We’ve come to understand a lot of skills in this subject.

  3. Scott Pelka
    April 9, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Good luck to that…..

  4. kabuki theater
    April 8, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Still no mention of this story in the av press. Bet you the story pops up a day or two after the election. Go Rex! I mean really go.

  5. Allan
    April 7, 2012 at 11:57 am

    This is a baseless suit. Read the Brown Act. In the end it will be tossed out of court.

    • Stinger
      April 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Since Parris has paid off all of the local judges, you’re probably right. However, once it gets appealed, whatever ‘decision’ that Parris paid for will be overturned readily enough.

      BTW: How’s that LBC/Parris koolaid taste?

      • reminder
        April 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        Touche Stinger. I’m supprised Parris is so sensitive. His errand boy has no issue perpitrating acts of libelous fomusus yet question reticence of the AV Press regarding this story and the bugs coming crawling out.

    • Scott Pelka
      April 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Baseless, not hardly. But I guess Rex, the city atty, city clerk and anyone else who Rex has his thumb on will say that. Allan or whoever you are should try reading the brown act for yourself.

      I have and have based all of the complaints on its writing. Remember the famous BBQ. Seems I was right about that also and it was backed up by the DA’s office.

      However 11 violations are too many to ignore and they have gotten away with this crap for far too long.

      And I wont be stopping with this.

      • Nancy
        April 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

        God bless you Mr. Pelka along with Mr. Kiramis and Mr. Reves. I hope they are elected and start righting the evil, profiteering wrongs that have gripped and choked this poor town for years.

  6. April 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Who pays for these body guards, The Mayor says he needs?

    • Steve
      April 7, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Tax payers!! Rex needs them. Bullies cant be bullies without out protection. The little man hasnt changed since high school. Take them away and his confidence is gone.

    • Dan
      April 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

      These body gaurds are just people he is with. What makes them body gaurds? You people read too many conspiracy books and live off of his success in life. Try going to school and getting an education like Rex did to make something of yourselves.

      • Stinger
        April 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        Nice try, “Dan.” Those ARE bodyguards that Parris claims that he needs for ‘protection.’ He has admitted so in open council, claiming them to be a necessity for his protection from imagined threats.

        I find it particularly funny how absolutely no other elected official has ever seemed to need any special protection from the population. Parris is just that cowardly, is all.

        • Matt S
          April 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm

          LOL Rex has announced time and again that he has bodyguards. Didn’t he say his female bodyguard was out on maternity leave when the great 24hr fitness Rex vs. Abber slapping match went down? Now he’s got some old but spunky looking guy playing shadow. Funny thing is the guy looks miserable, having to spend his time with Rex. But then, so does Rex’s Shepard.

  7. Gerald
    April 7, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Still not a word of this story from the AV PRESSured to shut up by Parris and the Klan. Somebody mentioned Bell? Lancaster only makes Bell look better.

    • Fair Warning
      April 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

      From reading through this comment thread I see that you are saying the same thing over and over and over. Even worse, what you are alleging is unfounded (where is your proof?)and now you are trying to throw the ‘Klan’ into it, making it downright inflammatory.
      Last I checked, damaging someone’s reputation with false information in a public forum was grounds to be sued for libel and defamation. If lawsuits were brought forward, I don’t doubt that the owners of this site would give you up in a heartbeat. And make no mistake, all information on the Internet can be traced by IP address to its true source. The bottom line is, you need to STOP, because you are damaging this forum and will eventually damage yourself in the long run. You have been warned…

      • Stinger
        April 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

        “You have been warned…”

        Another parrisite threat to try to silence the people. Sorry, parrisite but the protections of libel and slander are very much muted when applied to elected officials and public personas. Your master, Parris, is not a good enough attorney to know that, apparently.

        Go get your $1.50 and drink your koolaid.

      • James
        April 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm

        I bet my life you could not find me if you wanted to as I always post through a proxy chain. So.. keep touching little boys.

        • Matt S
          April 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm

          Damn. Rex must be getting worried. He’s got spooks throwing out child sex crime claims against people speaking out against him. And then they brag about being un-trackable. If someone is molesting children, why “oh great unfindable guy” is the “molester” you’re making these claims against not in jail? And if they are true, why do you have to post through “proxy chains”? You would rather be untraceable then protect all these victims of child abuse? Something of a douche eh? Guess the DA won’t let Rex use men’s central as his dungeons anymore.

          • Scott Pelka
            April 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm

            Just look at all the claims he made against Ken Mann in the election 4 years ago. And now its like 2 peas in a pod. Its amazing what money can but with certain people here in Lancaster/Bell.
            While we are at it lets talk about the land LPAC sits on and the redevelopment funds used to purchase it… Then the parking lot was given to Erlich to build a movie theater.
            Are you also aware that the family that owns Arrow appliance sold a building to the city years ago so they could build LPAC and now Rex wants to throw them out of the downtown store. Nice job Rex

  8. Gladdis
    April 7, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I got what you meant about Scott being pulled over and something being “found” in his car. That does seem to be the way they work sometimes. People who cross the King and his Court can fall victim to retaliation. That retaliation comes in various forms.

    • Stinger
      April 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      All too true, Gladdis. All too true.

  9. Gladdis
    April 7, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Comments to this story are music to my ears.
    I thought I was the only one who thought these people should be investigated. I too have witnessed different departments at the city ignoring problems and complaints. When I complained about a problem and nothing was done about it, I told a city employee, that I thought a thorough investigation of Lancaster was in order. She and her boss (one of Rex’s buddies mentioned by someone else in this comment section) quit speaking to me or responding to any of our neighborhood concerns. They are a sneaky corrupt bunch hoping they can all collect before they get caught.
    I hope Scott Pelka prevails and the David G. situation should get thrown out of court.

    • roger
      April 7, 2012 at 5:26 am

      We should vote for David G just to pist them off…

    • Aaron P.
      April 7, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Just wait until after the election and you will hear that crime is up in Lancaster. Also if Sandra Johnson gets elected then I guess it will be called The Good Olde Boys and Girls Club. She will use her position to promote UAV as much as possible. Just how much are we not being informed and maybe heading down the same road as the City of Bell.

  10. Gerald
    April 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Still no news on the issue over at the AV PRESSured by Parris to print only crime and sports news. Scaring the locals = votes.

  11. Nan
    April 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

    OK…this is too cool. Need to watch the whole thing. Apparently Mr. Pelka & Mr. Parris have had differences 4 a long time :) Guess the rest of you already know that….I’m just a little behind

  12. Gerald
    April 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

    The AV PRESSured by Parris is still sitting on the story. I wonder what the cost of their subscription to Parris is?

  13. April 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Or he will be arrested at a City Council Meeting, like Mr Grajeda. MLK was jailed,hosed and threatened.He refused to be afraid and continued to March on and speak out…His work is still being carried on. If Scott is wrongfully arrested, it’s just more proof of the corruption of LASD and their Boss(not Baca).

    • Scott Pelka
      April 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      I don’t break the law… and by the way neither did Mr. Grajeda. I was there and witnessed the entire event. In fact the city violated his right to speak at a public meeting. The Brown act is to protect the public from bad actions from occurring during and in closed session of public meetings.

      • AB
        April 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

        Surely you are not talking about that video of grajeda on youtube. He was acting like an idiot. How can he be taken seriously yelling like that? My favorite part was him screaming at the captain about the captain stalking him! The other good part was talking about his baby mama. What a joke! Keep supporting your sex offender felon buddy Pelka!

        • Scott Pelka
          April 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

          What David did in that meeting being upset over the captain stalking him was in his complete rights to do so and the committee had no right to have him removed. He was loud maybe but has his right to speak at any meeting. I have been louder than that when Rex and myself have had plenty of shouting matches in meetings. A lot louder than that. He wasn’t violent, has never been so at any meeting and didn’t deserve to be arrested. I would defend anybody in that situation. Even you.

        • roger
          April 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

          Grajeda was there to get status on charges he filed against D’arrico for assual on him at the City Council Meeting. you can see the Video of the assualt here the video of the assualt was posted by The AV Time, D’arrico is free as a bird, but they arrested Grajeda instead……
          The problem with this issue is that it setting a precedent and now anyone can be arrested at the will of the City Council, if they succed with taking Grajeda’s rights then you and I are next, just say the wrong thing or get upset and there you go, to the Pokie with you.

        • April 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

          Maybe, some people in this Valley don’t want to believe it but, the LASD has shown a pattern of arresting those that witness their illegal behavior. They regularly perjure their selves in reports. They arrest as a form of intimidation

        • Scott Pelka
          April 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm

          The sheriffs dept. here has issues.. many issues and serving at the whim of the mayor is one of them. I do believe they have sworn to protect us. not to act as Rex’s bodyguards on his bikerides.

  14. Scott Pelka
    April 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Sorry to disappoint you Ace but I will succeed with this complaint that I have a history in doing so and winning. And the only thing on my passenger seat of my car is more copies of the brown act complaint. Perhaps if you get more active in pursuing law breakers instead of being so negative about someone who is fighting them we all might be in a better place.

    • John Howard
      April 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Man you pick up 1 piece of info online and use it like you know what it is all about.. 4 are on patrol in the downtown district that encompass over 190 businesses in the area. Not just “The BLVD” and it’s likely for managing the source of new parole releases, the metrolink station. There is much more to it than just one street or area, it’s a city wide focus on directed attention to the areas were crimes are most often attempted. I think the idea is that if the dam has a leak you don’t cover it all in plastic, but put a plug in the hole. The metrolink is definitely a “hole” for parolees and frequent offenders so by managing that source more directly the city may better use resources available. I understand that patrols are focused on Ave K and other centers, but I heard this 3rd party from someone who was at the right place when it was presented to downtown businesses in a public place earlier this week.
      Pick up that phone and ask the city about it or the sheriff. I’m sure if you can call “Ronnie” then you can call someone about this.. or are you going to just keep recycling stuff you read online like you know something?
      Hold on let me go to the other blog site and smack you there too.. brb..

      • Scott Pelka
        April 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm

        Oh lets see… Rex claims crime is down 47% (or what ever he decided to pull out of his behind) in lancaster since he became mayor… Then why do we need extra patrols. Here is an Idea, do what he wanted to do with the homeless and put them on a bus and send them home.

        If they want to fix anything downtown than lets start with the traffic and crappy parking… or lack there of. And now they want to build a 2 story building next to the Lemon Leaf remove the current 25 parking places now there and replace with no new parking for the new tenant. Good Job Rex and Erlich.

  15. AV Town Crier
    April 6, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Scott, if anybody can pull this off it’s you. You have the tenacity to ride it out. The only hope of success is if and when Kamela Harris decides to investigate.

    Not only will she find numerous violations of the Brown Act, but cronyism, and crooked insider deals. One good example is Scott Erlich and the whole BLVD deal. I’ve never seen any thing as corrupt as that whole deal. Plus Erlich seems to own most of the BLVD. All one needs to do is check out the relationship between Rex and Scott. I’m just saying.

    • Gladdis
      April 7, 2012 at 1:34 am

      Isn’t Rex part owner of Bex with Scott? Are they related by blood, marriage or church?

  16. Abdul Majeed Askia
    April 6, 2012 at 6:57 am

    We live in a society full of contradictions. The religious houses speak of being saints,holy and up-right,and yet the pastor or the preacher own
    a liquor store and/or is the president of the liquor chain. All most
    9o%percent of the liquor outlets are owned by religious folk. Personally
    I do believe there are good people who drink and sale alcohol. I am only
    speaking of the contradictions.

    I recall having a discussion with a saint/minister on financial issues
    and he told me how much money I should have had by now! I told him, that
    I thought we were not suppose to peddle in illegals occording to Gods
    word. Like so many youth I became puzzled. There I was striving to up
    hold all the does and don’ts and yet the one’s with all the money and
    violating all the does and don’ts was not only owners of store houses
    but were also over the religious houses!

    I don’t have any big fuss about drinking alcohol( I don’t drink ). Again,
    in my travels to discovered that we were trully all in this together
    because religious people even have investments in casino’s,ciggerettes
    and in all the do’s and don’ts ! They own the motels and hotels,and
    night clubs and all the goodies!

    I begin to feel like a fool,a sucker ! I started to feel like I had
    been had,bam boozled and led a stray! Haven’t you noticed how religious
    folk will condemn a person for having a drink and yet overlook the
    one that owns the factory ? I started to feel like a self righteous
    fool wondering how was I going to survive in this maze, in this concrete
    jungle where money rules! Remember the saying ‘whoever got the goal
    makes the rules !’ Again, I had a drink decades ago,several decades ago
    I was in the night clubs. I know the ropes. I just didn’t realize
    religious folk was running the whole show! Yes, I know all about the night
    life. Where i became puzzled was there I was thinking that I was
    coming into the light and on sacred ground and the religious people
    were making mockery of me for being broke ! You see the attitudewas/is
    get the money by any means, as long as you have money you are in ! So,
    needless to say i didn’t know where to turn with all this new
    enlightenment I had come into.Puzzled,in a maze>do I turn back or go
    forth,do I throw the chips in or play the game ? Oh,man homie my minds
    playing tricks on me !!! Just about everything that use to be illegal
    is legal and those with the most money are able to make the biggest
    donations,drive the finest cars and live in the finest homes and there
    I was an ex-sinner trying do right walking down the street. I think
    it was fifty cent who said he was “going to get rich or die trying!”
    I think that young man figured out money talks!!!!As you can see i am
    waiting on the big religious hierarchy to engage in this discussion.
    I’ll be the first to tell you “I am a sinner in need of repentance”,
    my record is too tainted to claim sainthood, but I can tell you,I was
    lost but now I’m found, I dead but now I am alive, I was blind
    now I see!!!

    Come to the round table. We are all in this together. As Paul said,
    our righteousness is like flithy rags!348 east k-8 suite ‘c’ lancaster
    Ca. Phone Abdul Majeed Askia 323-945-9589 or pastor Gerry Mitchel at
    661-5464.Come and meet the community leaders and the young dynamic
    pastor Gerry Mitchel. See you

    • April 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Abdul, if you walk with god and not man, your path will be revealed to you and you will find your way out of the maze.
      Just because one is in the pulpit feeding people the word of god does not make them saints. A saint is just a sinner who fell down and got back up. All those with the money, will answer on judgement day. so Like Tupac said “I will bring my bottle of Gin in case I don’t get in”…lol. God knows everything! Money only talks here in this hell, called earth.

  17. Vincent
    April 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I live in Ventura and my daughter suggested this site for entertainment. Aside from Bell is there anywhere in this state more strange and corrupt than Lancaster?

    • Gerald
      April 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      The answer Gerald is no. Lancaster is as strange and corrupt as it gets. The difference between Bell and us is our crooked politicians are more clever.

      • Stinger
        April 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        With respect, Gerals, I would disagree with your assessment of their cleverness. I would opine that the differentiating factor is in the corruption having been spread to those who are entrusted with protecting us from the corruption of the elected PRIOR to the elected getting (read: buying) into office. Thus, all of the legitimate complaints of corruption by the people are summarily ignored by the local media, DA’s office, judges in the local circuit courts, and county officials.

        • Gladdis
          April 7, 2012 at 1:40 am

          Amen Stinger. I like your comment about the DA’s Office, judges, etc.

  18. AB
    April 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Stinger, isn’t it true you were pro Rex, and even helped elect him? Why the change?

    • Stinger
      April 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      No, AB, that is not true. Since I had not met Parris before the big LBC meeting to launch his campaign (which they called the war on gangs – a group that was never legitimate, by the way) I was, quite frankly, ambivalent towards Parris. Oh, I met him briefly at that meeting and found him to be kind of a jerk, but still didn’t consider him a big issue. It was not until after he was elected that I met him again and actually WATCHED him engage in a corrupt act of cronyism with Larry Grooms in the Council Chambers right after he was sworn in!

      Since then, I have watched him show pure disdain for the people of this community who have the temerity to actually take the time to speak to the council. I have watched him throw away decades of traditions of fairness to solidify his power (remember when commissions were made up of persons who were chosen by members of the council instead of serving only the mayor?). I have watched him violate the US Constitution on numerous occasions. I have watched him violate anti-corruption laws left and right and lie through his teeth about it. I have discovered more about his recent past history in dealing drugs by people who were his customers, while he preaches how perfect he has become. I have seen too much of this clown and even seen how he attacks those who would legitimately challenge his policies. The littany of abuses just goes on and on.

      That ANYBODY who is not corrupt to their core could possibly support such a downright evil person as Parris has shown himself to be is just plain beyond my belief.

      • roger
        April 7, 2012 at 5:32 am

        isn’t Parris backed by the LBC that is one big voting machine, what happened with separation of church and state???? I thought a church can loose thier non-profit status if they get invorlved in politicts

  19. Scott Pelka
    April 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Just because Rex is doing things that violate the law doesn’t mean I have to accept that. If more people would speak out and complained and followed through then people like Rex would crawl back under their rock… or better yet go to jail.

  20. Scott Pelka
    April 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Kabuki Dance is not part of my resolve… But it would be funny to watch. As far as the AV Press is concerned they are working on the story. Some of the violations occurred during the non-agendized portion of the meeting which the mayor refuses to broadcast. That is why I have taken to record that portion of the meeting and post it on youtube for everyone to be able to see.

    • Palmdale_Steve
      April 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      But that’s what you are going to get. A Kabuki Dance of following the Brown act. See we are following the rules…shinny object watch the shinny object….shinny object…shinny object.

      • John Mlynar
        April 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm

        I tried the kabuki dance and ended up in traction. May I send you the bill, Palmdale Steve?;)

    • Gerald
      April 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      Of course the AV PRESSusred by Parris is working on the story. I have no doubt they will have it finished AFTER the election. I cancelled my subscription today. I hope the AV Times accepts donations because I will gladly send them what I was paying to the Pattis Press.

      • William
        April 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        I cancelled the AV Press last August. They are the Valley’s Fox News.

        • Stinger
          April 5, 2012 at 9:22 pm

          I cancelled my subscription once it became clear that they had become the AV Parris instead of the AV Press (which didn’t take too long).

          • William
            April 6, 2012 at 12:54 am

            But, before I did, I sent a long strong letter to every email address at the AV Press, about 30.

        • roger
          April 7, 2012 at 5:34 am

          I cancelled mine also, they call themselves a newspaper, they are a shameless propaganda machine for Parris.

  21. Ed
    April 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Scott, you bring a breath of fresh air to the desert. We will be watching and waiting for the results of your (our) venture.

  22. April 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Scott,I look forward to more of this from you. If You are not able to get any follow up out via the newspaper please post update on this site. I saw one of the meetings in March and they kept saying numbers and voting on what, I do not know? and appointing people to things, one lone citizen was there asking if these appointments could be left for the voters to decide instead of people just being appointed by city council vote and he just seemed to be ignored….City of Bell???

  23. Palmdale_Steve
    April 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Two words on how this will be resolved:

    Kabuki Dance

    • April 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      What is a Kabuki Dance?

      • Palmdale_Steve
        April 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm

        Google is your friend.

      • April 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        Got it!! I still say I smell Bell??? The Mayor thinks he can out smart everyone but I am sure there is a trail…

        • Scott Pelka
          April 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm

          City of Bell spelled backwards is Lancaster…

  24. Gerald
    April 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Ever wonder why the AV PRESS won’t report any of Parris’ evil doings and manipulates elections even more than the city clerk’s office?

  25. Stinger
    April 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Good job, Scott! Yet more evidence of how der fuhrer, Parris, and his cronies operate without regard for the public or the law.

Comments are closed.