Best Best & Krieger News Feedhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=50Best Best and Krieger is a Full Service Law Firmen-us22 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800firmwisehttp://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss2015 California Public Records & Open Meetings Conferencehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38931&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorneys Matthew (Mal) Richardson and Richard Egger are among the speakers at The State Bar of California Public Law Section&rsquo;s 2015 California Public Records &amp; Open Meeting Conference.</p> <p><u>BB&amp;K Speakers</u></p> <p><b>Mal Richardson</b>, &ldquo;Records Related to Public Business, But Not Controlled by Third Parties&rdquo;<br /> This session will track developing law regarding records related to public business, but controlled by third parties. This includes the use of private email accounts to conduct public business, as well as records relied upon by a public entity in conducting business, that are maintained by a third party, such as n investment firm.<br /> 3:30 &ndash; 4:40 p.m.</p> <p><b>Richard Egger</b>, &ldquo;Ethical Issues Related to Open Government Law&rdquo;<br /> This session will explore ethical issues arising from public entities&rsquo; obligations to provide public record access, including determining who your client is for purposes of attorney-client privilege and related third-party protection of confidential personal information held by agencies. Discussion will also include the potential waiver of any privileges caused by inadvertent PRA-document disclosures and the public attorney&rsquo;s potential ethical duty to third parties under this circumstance.<br /> 4:30 &ndash; 5:30 p.m.</p> <p>BB&amp;K is a sponsor of this event. MCLE Credit is available.</p> <p><strong>When<br /> </strong>Friday, June 19, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> UCLA-Palisades Room at Carnesales Commons<br /> 251 Charles E. Young Dr. West<br /> Los Angeles, CA 90095</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://publiclaw.calbar.ca.gov/"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements19 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38931&format=xmlAB 1825 Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Webinar (June 19, 2015)http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38949&format=xml<div><br /> California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, pursuant to AB 1825, requires that employers with fifty or more employees in California provide at least two hours of Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training every two years to any employee that has a supervisory role in operations. This presentation is designed to satisfy those requirements.<br /> <br /> Joseph Ortiz will present the training via a live webinar. The webinar is interactive, allowing attendees to ask questions.<br /> <br /> <p><strong>The webinar will cover:</strong></p> <ul type="disc"> <li>What constitutes sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace</li> <li>How to recognize and avoid it</li> <li>What procedures to follow if you witness harassment or are harassed yourself</li> <li>The potential consequences - including personal liability - of sexual harassment</li> </ul> <p><strong><br /> Who should attend:</strong></p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Supervisors</li> <li>Human Resources Professionals</li> <li>Public Officials</li> <li>Managers &amp; Private Business Professionals with 50 or More Employees</li> </ul> <p><br /> <strong>When: <br /> <br /> </strong>June 19, 2015<br /> 10 a.m. - Noon PT</p> <p><br /> <strong>BB&amp;K Presenter:<br /> <br /> </strong>Joseph Ortiz, Partner, Labor &amp; Employment Practice Group in Riverside office<br /> <strong><br /> <br /> Cost:</strong><br /> <br /> $75 per person<br /> <br /> Please provide payment before the training. Otherwise, you will not be able to join the webinar or receive a certificate of completion. Colleagues must register separately.<br /> <br /> <strong><br /> Registration:<br /> <br /> </strong>To register for this webinar, please click <span style="color: #0000ff"><strong><a target="_blank" href="https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1559305766182941698"><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></a></strong></span>. <br /> <br /> <br type="_moz" /> <strong>Payment:<br /> </strong><br /> <form method="post" action="https://www.cart32.com/cgi-bin/cart32.exe/BBK-AddItem"> <font size="+1"><b>AB 1825 Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Webinar</b><br /> Qty: <input size="3" name="Qty" value="1" type="text" /> <b>Price: $75</b> <br /> <br /> <input type="submit" value="Add to Shopping Cart" /> </font> </form> <strong><br /> <br /> QUESTIONS:<br /> <br /> </strong>Contact <a href="mailto:amanda.fine@bbklaw.com?subject=Do%20You%20Need%20to%20Fulfill%20Your%20AB%201825%20Harassment%20Training%20Requirement%3F"><span style="color: #0000ff">Events@BBKlaw.com</span></a> if you have any questions about this event and/or about BB&amp;K upcoming seminars/events.<br /> <br /> If you are not currently receiving our Legal Alerts and would like to be added to our email distribution list, please visit our <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2121"><span style="color: rgb(0,0,255)">subscription page</span></a>.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </div>Seminars and Webinars19 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38949&format=xmlCalifornia Water Law & Policyhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38936&format=xml<p>It's official. The drought continues.</p> <p>But 2015 is very different from 2014: Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered sweeping new requirements for urban and agricultural water conservation; the State Water Resources Control Board has reduced water diversions via water right curtailment orders and rulemakings; the Water Bond has passed and in this new era of intense, &quot;mega-drought,&quot; everyone is looking at water reuse, recycling, and desalination to help bridge the gap between frighteningly low water availability and ever-increasing water demand.</p> <p>With these and other topics in mind, Argent Communications is presenting a two-day conference California Water Law &amp; Policy, co-chaired by BB&amp;K Partner Steven Anderson. BB&amp;K attorneys Andre Monette, Kelly Salt and Roderick Walston are also speaking at the conference, which is co-sponsored by the firm.</p> <p>This informative, practice-oriented two-day event is a must-attend for anyone who needs to understand California's complex water issues. Whether you're an attorney, water district staff or board member, federal or state government practitioner, consulting engineer, city or county counsel or planner, environmental organization representative, developer or agricultural business owner, you'll get the latest detailed updates on these and other crucial and complex issues.<br /> <b><i><br /> Mention BB&amp;K when registering and receive $100 off the tuition price.</i></b></p> <p><u>BB&amp;K Speakers</u></p> <p><b>Steve Anderson</b>, Conference Overview<br /> Monday, June 15, 8:30 a.m.<br /> Tuesday, June 16, 8:30 a.m.</p> <p><b>Andre Monette</b>, &ldquo;Water Quality Control and Drought: The Legal Aspects of Stormwater Capture and Use&rdquo;<br /> Monday, June 15, 1:30 p.m.</p> <p><b>Kelly Salt</b>, &ldquo;Prop. 218: The Future of Tiered Conservation Rates (San Juan Capistrano Case):<br /> Monday, June 15, 3:45 p.m.</p> <p><b>Roderick Walston</b>, &ldquo;Developing Groundwater Disputes: A Closer Look &mdash; Does the Reserved Rights Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The Agua Caliente Case&rdquo;<br /> Tuesday, June 16, 10:15 a.m.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Monday, June 15 &ndash; Tuesday, June 16, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Hotel Nikko San Francisco<br /> <a target="_blank" href="http://images.magnetmail.net/images/clients/ARGENT/attach/2015CWLBrochure.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">Click here</span></a> for more information</p> <p>To register, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.registrationheadquarters.com/events/?da5124fee1c34386ad493ed9a7fad8c4a&amp;mmurlid=72082185"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements15 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38936&format=xmlAdapting Water Laws to Increasing Demand and a Challenging Climatehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38447&format=xml<p>BB&amp;K Managing Partner Eric Garner will be a speaker at the IRWA&rsquo;s World Water Congress XV, which will be held May 25-29, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Eric will present &ldquo;Adapting Water Laws to Increasing Demand and a Challenging Climate,&rdquo; where he will share how his water law work &mdash; both in the U.S. and abroad &mdash; have created solutions to increasing water demand. Based on more than 25 years of water law practice, Eric believes that aquifer governance institutions, &ldquo;physical solutions,&rdquo; that have developed in California are well-suited to managing groundwater, transboundary rivers and aquifers around the world in a time of shifting hydrology due to climate change. Eric will offer practical perspective on what works, what doesn&rsquo;t and why.</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://worldwatercongress.com/"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p> <p>Follow along on Twitter: <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/bbkericgarner"><span style="color: #0000ff">@BBKEricGarner</span></a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/WaterCongressXV"><span style="color: #0000ff">@WaterCongressXV</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements25 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38447&format=xmlWebinar: AB 52's New CEQA Requirementhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38776&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorneys Sarah Owsowitz and Christopher Diaz will present a webinar for the State Bar of California Public Law Section, titled: &ldquo;AB 52&rsquo;s New CEQA Requirement.&rdquo; Starting in July 2015, AB 52 will require all public agencies acting as lead agencies under CEQA to enter into consultation with requesting tribes prior to the release of a negative declaration or an EIR. Consultation may concern the level of environmental review necessary, the significance of a tribal cultural resource and of a project's impact on that resource, and project alternatives and/or mitigation, including those recommended by the tribe. A &quot;tribal cultural resource&quot; &ndash; a new term for CEQA &ndash; is any site, feature, place, cultural landscape, sacred place, or object with cultural value to a California Native American tribe. Significantly, AB 52 applies not just to federally recognized tribes (as is the case with Section 106 review under the National Historic Preservation Act), but to all tribes on the California Native American Heritage Commission's &quot;contact list.&quot;</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Thursday, May 21, 2015<br /> Noon &ndash; 1 p.m.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://publiclaw.calbar.ca.gov/"><span style="color: #0000ff">For more information or to register, click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38776&format=xmlCalifornia's Water: Drought, Finding Water, The Water Bond and Interpreting New Groundwater Regulationhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37949&format=xml<p>Water is our most essential resource and is at the center of California&rsquo;s economy. The current historic drought has highlighted this importance and made it very obvious how dependent California is on our &nbsp;aging infrastructure that, in many cases, moves water&nbsp;hundreds of miles. As California faces the prospect of a worsening drought, it is imperative that we understand the water challenges we face and work together to develop solutions. A continuing shortage &nbsp;of water will impact almost all aspects of our economy.</p> <p>Program Chair and BB&amp;K Managing Partner <b>Eric Garner</b>, and attorneys <b>Joseph Byrne</b>, <b>Kelly Salt</b> and <b>Glen Price</b>, will be joined by other leaders in the water field to discuss important new water-related legislation, what the public and private sectors are doing to deal with the &nbsp;drought, and what our water future holds. This is a critical time in water law. How we address &nbsp;the pressing issues that face us will impact the future of California in many ways, including &nbsp;the State&rsquo;s continued &nbsp;development and growth. The program is designed for those in both the business and public sectors who want the latest information on &nbsp;how water issues may affect them going forward. <br /> <br /> <strong>To recieve a $100 discount, register by telephone to 206-463-4400 or 800-574-4825 and use code &quot;FAC100&quot;</strong></p> <p><strong>BB&amp;K Speakers<br /> </strong><br /> Eric Garner<br /> 9 a.m. Introduction and Overview<br /> 3 p.m. &ldquo;Where Do You Stand? Complying with New Groundwater Regulations and Preparing for More Legislation&rdquo;</p> <p>Kelly Salt<br /> 11:15 a.m. &ldquo;Water Conservation: Best Practices and Dealing with the Financial Impacts of Successful Conservation&rdquo;</p> <p>Glen Price<br /> 1:45 p.m. &ldquo;Making Sure Your New Development Has Water and/or Rights&rdquo;</p> <p>Joseph Byrne <br /> 4 p.m. &ldquo;How to Find Money and Finance Water Projects as Regulatory Requirements Increase&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, May 15, 2015<br /> 9 a.m. &ndash; 4:30 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> DoubleTree by Hilton L.A. Downtown<br /> 120 S. Los Angeles Street<br /> Los Angeles, CA 90012<br /> The seminar will also be available via a live webinar and through pre-orders of video-on-demand or DVDs.</p> <p>For more information or to register, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theseminargroup.net/seminardetl.aspx?id=1467"><span style="color: #0000ff">The Seminar Group&rsquo;s website</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37949&format=xmlLCC City Attorneys' Spring Conferencehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=34820&format=xml<p>Join BB&amp;K&nbsp;at the League of California Cities&rsquo; City Attorneys&rsquo; Spring Conference in Monterey, Calif.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <strong><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'"><font face="Arial">BB&amp;K Speakers</font></span></strong><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'"><font face="Arial"><br /> <br /> Harriet Steiner</font>: &ldquo;FCC Wireless Facility Rules Implementing Section 6409(a)&rdquo;<b><o:p></o:p></b></span><br /> <span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'">Wednesday, May 6<br /> </span></span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'">1-3 p.m<br /> <br /> Alison Alpert (co-facilitator): &ldquo;Demystifying How The ADA Applies To Public Facilities And Services&rdquo; (Panel Presentation And Interactive Breakout Groups) session<br /> Thursday, May 7<br /> 2:15-4:15 p.m<br /> </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'"> <p>Jeff Dunn (moderator): &ldquo;Medical Marijuana&rdquo; Concurrent Group Discussion<br /> Thursday, May 7<br /> 4:30-5:30 p.m</p> </span> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> May 6-8, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Monterey, Calif.</p> <p>For more information, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cacities.org/Education-Events/City-Attorneys-Spring-Conference"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements06 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=34820&format=xmlMission: Possible - Taking Charge of Changehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38509&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorney Joseph Byrne, chair of the California Water Commission, and partners Paeter Garcia and Kelly Salt will be speaking at the Association of California Water Agencies 2015 Spring Conference and Exhibition &ldquo;Mission: Possible &ndash; Taking Charge of Change.&rdquo;</p> <p>Joe will be delivering the luncheon keynote address on Thursday, May 7 at 11:45 a.m. He will share first steps in developing the Commission&rsquo;s Water Storage Investment Program as part of the implementation of the water bond made possible with the passage of Proposition 1.</p> <p>Kelly will be speaking on Wednesday, May 6 at 10 a.m. on &ldquo;Overcoming Public Scrutiny and Challenges in the Rate Setting Process &ndash; Lessons Learned from San Juan Capistrano.&rdquo; In September 2013 the Orange County Superior Court invalidated a City&rsquo;s water rates (Capistrano Taxpayers Assoc., Inc. v. City of San Juan Capistrano) because the City did not prove that the price difference between its tiered-rates were proportional to the costs of providing water services to its customers. The City lacked an administrative record that justified their current rate structure and explained the rationale behind the tiered pricing. In addition, many rate-payers and even City Council members had strong opinions about how the utility should be run, generating a general lack of trust within the community. Panelists will discuss the lessons learned from this landmark case.<br /> <br /> Paeter will be presenting &ldquo;The Nuts and Bolts of SGMA&rdquo; on the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act on Wednesday, May 6 at 10 a.m.</p> <p><strong>When<br /> </strong>Tuesday, May 5 &ndash; Friday, May 8, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where<br /> </strong>Sacramento Convention Center</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.acwa.com/events/acwa-2015-spring-conference-exhibition"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements05 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38509&format=xmlLaw of the Colorado River: Meeting Demand During Unprecedented Droughthttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37999&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Of Counsel Roderick Walston will discuss <i>Agua Caliente vs. Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency</i> during the &ldquo;Addressing Tribal Concerns&rdquo; panel of the two-day conference &ldquo;Law of the Colorado River: Meeting Demand During Unprecedented Drought.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, May 1, 2015<br /> 8:45 a.m.</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Planet Hollywood Las Vegas</p> <p>For more information or to register, visit the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cle.com/product.php?proid=1518&amp;src=Featured&amp;page=Law_of_the_Colorado_River"><span style="color: #0000ff">event page at CLE</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37999&format=xmlCompliance Monitoring for Multi-Funded Affordable Housing Projectshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37973&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Elizabeth Hull is moderating &ldquo;Compliance Monitoring for Multi-Funded Affordable Housing Projects&rdquo; at Housing California&rsquo;s Annual Conference. The purpose of the workshop is to provide a comprehensive overview of</p> <p>the continuing compliance monitoring of affordable multifamily, which were funded from multiple public financing sources, including, but not limited to, tax credit equity, redevelopment low and moderate income set-aside funds, tax exempt financing, and local density bonus and/or inclusionary impact fees. The workshop will provide attendees with knowledge and skills necessary for performing or directing annual compliance monitoring activities, including tenant income certifications/re-certifications and affordable rent verifications, as well as residual receipts loan payment audit reviews.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> April 27-29, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Sacramento Convention Center<br /> 1400 J Street<br /> Sacramento, CA 95814</p> <p>For more information or to register, visit <a target="_blank" href="https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=1573153"><span style="color: #0000ff">Housing California&rsquo;s event page</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements27 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37973&format=xmlIMLA's 2015 Mid-Year Seminarhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37676&format=xml<p>Join BB&amp;K at IMLA&rsquo;s four-day mid-year seminar in Washington D.C.</p> <p><b>BB&amp;K Speakers</b></p> <p>Andre Monette: &ldquo;Land Use Sustainability Code and Stormwater&rdquo;<br /> Friday, April 24<br /> 2:50-3:50 p.m.</p> <p>Joseph Van Eaton and Gerard Lederer: Telecomm: An On Overview of FCC Regulations&rdquo;<br /> Sunday, April 26<br /> 9 &ndash; 10:30 a.m.</p> <p>Visit Gerard Lederer and John Freshman, BB&amp;K&rsquo;s senior director of Governmental Affairs, at the WONK Breakfast on Monday, April 27 from 7:30 to 9 a.m.<br /> <br /> <strong>When</strong>: <br /> April 24 &ndash; 27, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong>:<br /> Omni Shoreham, Washington, D.C.</p> <p>For more information or to register, visit the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.imla.org/events/seminars/490-2015-mid-year-seminar#news"><span style="color: #0000ff">IMLA website</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements24 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37676&format=xmlSexual Harassment Prevention Traininghttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38785&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger Partner Joseph Ortiz will present a Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce. Participants will receive:</p> <ul> <li>Certification for two hours of sexual harassment prevention training required by AB1825</li> <li>Knowledge to protect a business from future workplace lawsuits</li> <li>Knowledge to create a safe and comfortable work environment</li> <li>Opportunity to engage and ask questions from a skilled labor law attorney</li> </ul> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, April 24, 2015<br /> 10 a.m. &ndash; Noon</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Riverside Chamber of Commerce</p> <p>To learn more or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://riverside-chamber.com/chamcart/index.cfm?categoryid=3"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements24 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38785&format=xmlProposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Settinghttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38385&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kelly Salt will discuss &ldquo;Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting&rdquo; at a California Special Districts Association Workshop on April 22 in Sacramento. This workshop will provide an update on recent court cases and legislation interpreting and clarifying Proposition 218, an overview of the provisions of Proposition 26, and the impacts that they may have on local governments and their ability to raise revenues.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Wednesday, April 22, 2015<br /> 8:30 a.m. &ndash; 4 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> CSDA Training Center<br /> 1112 I St., Suite 250<br /> Sacramento, CA 95814</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://members.csda.net/imis15/EventDetail?EventKey=PROP042215"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements22 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38385&format=xmlCalifornia Court of Appeal Holds City's Tiered Water Rate Structure Violates Proposition 218http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38987&format=xml<p>In an opinion anxiously awaited by many water agencies throughout California, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, ruled on Monday that a city&rsquo;s inclining, tiered block rate structure violated Proposition 218&rsquo;s proportionality requirements (California Constitution, article XIII D, section 6). Although the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/G048969.PDF"><span style="color: #0000ff">opinion in <i>Capistrano Taxpayers Association v.</i> <i>City of San Juan Capistrano</i></span></a> held that tiered rates, or inclining block rates that go up progressively in relation to usage, are compatible with Proposition 218, in this instance, the court concluded that the City failed to demonstrate that the tiers correspond to the actual cost of providing service at a given level of usage. The court rejected reliance on article X, section 2 to promote water conservation as the sole basis for establishing tiers, holding the city had to show that the various usage tiers corresponded with its actual costs of delivering water in those increments.</p> <p>The City of San Juan Capistrano adopted an allocation-based rate structure in August 2012. The rate structure consisted of four tiers with the rates in each tier determined based on predetermined water usage budgets. The first two tiers were based on the amount of water the City concluded was required for reasonable indoor and outdoor water usage. The third and fourth tiers were based on what the City concluded to be excessive or overuse of water, respectively. The City was also in the process of constructing a recycled water treatment plant and related facilities, which were funded in part through its potable water service fees. The Capistrano Taxpayers Association sued challenging the validity of the City&rsquo;s rates under Proposition 218.</p> <p>First, the Court of Appeal held that the City&rsquo;s rates were not proportional to the cost of service because the City did not calculate the incremental cost of providing water at the level of use represented by each tier. Specifically, the court criticized the City for not correlating its rates within each tier to the prices of water used within each tier. In interpreting the provisions of Proposition 218, the court noted that &ldquo;[i]f the phrase &lsquo;proportional cost of service attributable to <i>the </i>parcel&rsquo; is to mean anything, it has to be that [Proposition 218] assumes that there really <i>is</i> an ascertainable cost of service that can be attributed to a specific - hence that little word &lsquo;the&rsquo; - parcel.&rdquo; The court concluded that the administrative record justifying the City&rsquo;s rates did not contain any breakdown as to the relative cost of each source of supply and therefore did not justify an ascertainable cost attributable to specific parcels.</p> <p>Second, the court rejected the City&rsquo;s argument that the rates in tiers three and four do not have to be cost justified. The City asserted the higher tiers are penalties structured consistent with the provisions of article X, section 2 of the California Constitution. Article X generally requires conservation of the water resources of the State and is often cited by public agencies in support of tiered rates as a means of promoting conservation. The court, however, took a narrow interpretation of article X, section 2, concluding that it does not trump the cost of service provisions of Proposition 218.</p> <p>Finally, the appellate court sided with the City that Proposition 218 does allow public water agencies to pass on to their customers the capital costs of improvements to provide additional water, including building a recycling plant, because &ldquo;each kind of water is providing the <i>same</i> service,&rdquo; even if not all customers (e.g., residential) are capable of utilizing the alternate water source. The court, however, went on to question whether residential rate payers with very low water consumption (&ldquo;super&ndash;conservers&rdquo;) &ldquo;should be required to pay for recycling facilities that would not be necessary but for above-average consumption.&rdquo; The court therefore sent this portion back to the trial court for further findings on the issue of whether the cost to develop the City&rsquo;s recycling operation were appropriately allocated to those who use water at the lowest levels.</p> <p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kelly Salt appeared <i>amicus curiae</i> for the Association of California Water Agencies, the League of California Cities and the California Association of Counties.</p> <p>If you have any questions about this case or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney author of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=497&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Finance</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts21 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38987&format=xmlSan Juan Capistrano Tiered Water-Use Rates Decisionhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38991&format=xml<p>The Fourth District Court of Appeal&rsquo;s decision finding that San Juan Capistrano&rsquo;s tiered water-use rates structure violated Proposition 218 generated a lot of news coverage, as these structures are likely to be&nbsp;a&nbsp;tool water agencies will use to address conservation regulations. Best Best &amp; Krieger Partner Kelly Salt, who appeared amicus curiae on behalf of the defendant, discussed the ruling with news reporters. Here are some of those reports:</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/apr/21/tp-state-court-balks-at-tiered-water-pricing/"><span style="color: #0000ff">State Court Balks at Tiered Water Pricing</span></a> (<i>San Diego Union-Tribune</i>)</p> <p>&ldquo;&rsquo;They said you have to prove costs, but they don&rsquo;t say how you&rsquo;ve got to do it,&rsquo; said Kelly Salt, an attorney with Best Best &amp; Krieger, LLP, a San Diego-based law firm that is defending the Sweetwater Authority&hellip;.</p> <p>&ldquo;&rsquo;It&rsquo;s so disheartening to me to find the whole idea of structuring rates to promote conservation being (challenged as) improper under the constitution,&rsquo; Salt said. &lsquo;Those who place greater demands on a water system should have to pay for it.&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Figuring out how to assign and justify costs could be time-consuming at an urgent juncture, she said.</p> <p>&ldquo;&rsquo;The timing couldn&rsquo;t be worse given the fact that we&rsquo;re in a major drought,&rsquo; Salt said. &lsquo;Generally, to conduct a cost of service study it takes about six months, and on top of that, you have a 45-day period for mail notice before holding a public hearing to adopt the rate. So if agencies have concerns about their rates in light of this decision and are now being asked to cut back 10 to 36 percent, it will be more difficult to meet those mandates without a pricing signal to conserve.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-83347231/"><span style="color: #0000ff">Appeals Court Throws Out San Juan Capistrano&rsquo;s Tiered Water-Use Rates</span></a> (<i>Los Angeles Times</i>)</p> <p>&ldquo;Kelly Salt, a Proposition 218 expert based in San Diego who wrote an amicus brief defending the city of San Juan Capistrano, called the decision a &lsquo;cause for concern.&rsquo;</p> <p>&quot;&rsquo;Tiered water rates provide an important price signal for conservation,&rsquo; Salt said. &lsquo;With this ruling in hand, public agencies are going to want to make certain that their rate structures conform.&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;That, she said, could require agencies to spend months studying rates while trying to comply with new state conservation demands.</p> <p>&quot;&rsquo;In this case, the court said [agencies] have to calculate the incremental cost of providing water at the level of use represented by each tier,&rsquo; she added. &lsquo;That's difficult to do. Not impossible, but difficult.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article19098585.html"><span style="color: #0000ff">Jerry Brown Calls Tiered-Water Ruling &ldquo;A Straitjacket&rdquo; for Conservation Efforts</span></a> (<i>The Sacramento Bee</i>)</p> <p>&ldquo;Attorney Kelly Salt, with Best Best &amp; Krieger in San Diego, said the ruling appears to be narrow enough that it could allow some agencies to maintain tiered pricing. Salt filed an amicus brief in the case for the California State Association of Counties, League of California Cities and Association of California Water Agencies.</p> <p>&ldquo;She said the court ruled that the city of San Juan Capistrano did not do enough to show that its pricing structure is based on the cost to the city to provide water, but some other water agencies may feel that they can show, if challenged, their pricing structure meets Proposition 218&rsquo;s &lsquo;nexus&rsquo; requirements.</p> <p>&ldquo;&rsquo;It&rsquo;s hard to say at this point,&rsquo; she said. &lsquo;The court didn&rsquo;t provide a great deal of guidance.&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;&rsquo;Many water agencies may feel they already meet the standard stated in the court&rsquo;s opinion. Others may want to take a second look&rsquo; at their pricing structure, she said. Salt added: &lsquo;It is unfortunate that this decision came down during the worst drought in California history.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article19103352.html"><span style="color: #0000ff">Water Pricing to Spur Conservation Ruled Unconstitutional</span></a> (<i>Associated Press</i> via <i>Miami Herald</i>)</p> <p>&ldquo;The ruling will make it difficult for agencies with tiered pricing who get water from a single source, said Kelly Salt, a lawyer who filed court papers supporting San Juan Capistrano on behalf of the Association of California Water Agencies.</p> <p>&ldquo;Salt said she hoped the decision wouldn't have an impact beyond the city because tiered pricing is important to promote water savings.&rdquo;</p>BB&K In The News21 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38991&format=xmlDraft Mandatory Regulations Restricting Water Use in California Released by State Water Resources Control Boardhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38961&format=xml<p>Moving at a swift pace, the State Water Resources Control Board released a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/draft_emergency_regs.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">draft emergency regulation</span></a> over the weekend that, for the first time, would require mandatory water restrictions by urban water suppliers throughout California. The proposed regulation reflects changes and refinements to the Water Board&rsquo;s conceptual regulatory <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/draft_regulatory_framework.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">framework</span></a>, which was released April 7 in response to an Executive Order issued by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 1 to address the serious drought in California. The state actions have drawn national attention, as well as widespread concern and criticism because of the magnitude of the proposed water cuts in many areas.</p> <p>The draft regulation was released Saturday morning. Agencies have just three business days to provide input, with comments due Wednesday. The Water Board plans to adopt a final regulation May 5 or 6. Specific prohibitions would become effective May 15, with reporting activities and compliance due to start in June. The emergency provisions would remain in effect through Feb. 28, 2016.</p> <p><b>Nine Tiers of Required Conservation Levels for Urban Water Suppliers</b></p> <p>Notably, the draft regulation expands the number of tiers of required conservation levels from four to nine, in response to comments about the arbitrary and unfair nature of the groupings proposed in the conceptual framework. The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/draft_usage_tiers.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">tiering structure</span></a> is designed to place the greatest conservation demands on those agencies with the highest residential water usage. In Tier 2, for example, 23 suppliers would be required to achieve an 8 percent potable water savings, while in the highest Tier 9 &mdash; 94 agencies would be required to reduce potable urban water usage by 36 percent. Collectively, the percentage-based conservation standards are designed to achieve an overall 25 percent reduction in urban potable water use across the state, as Brown&rsquo;s Executive Order requires.</p> <p>The tiering structure and affiliated conservation standards apply to urban water suppliers, defined as those serving more than 3,000 customers or delivering more than 3,000 acre feet of water per year. The state&rsquo;s 411 urban water suppliers are placed in the tiers based on three months of summer residential gallons-per-capita-per-day water usage data (July through September of 2014). According to the Water Board, this three-month period reflects the amount of water used for summer outdoor irrigation, which provides the greatest opportunity for conservation savings. Originally, the state had proposed a one-month &ldquo;snapshot&rdquo; of water usage in September 2014 for assignment into the tiers. The Water Board expanded the time frame because of concerns that the one-month window was too narrow and subject to possible anomalies that made it an unfair measure. Under the revised tiering structure, some agencies found their requirements for water savings reduced somewhat, while for others, the conservation standards increased.</p> <p>In response to comments, the draft regulation provides two scenarios where water suppliers could seek to modify their total water use or be assigned to a lower conservation tier. In one instance, urban water suppliers delivering more than 20 percent of their total water production to commercial agriculture may be allowed to modify the amount of water subject to their conservation standard. In the other, urban water suppliers with a reserve of surface water that could last multiple years may be eligible to be placed into a lower conservation tier if they meet certain criteria.</p> <p>The draft regulation contains no specific reduction standards for commercial, industrial and institutional customers of urban or other water suppliers. Instead, water suppliers would have discretion to decide how to achieve their conservation standards by applying restrictions, as they see fit, to residential and nonresidential users.</p> <p><b>Two Water Savings Options for Smaller Water Suppliers </b></p> <p>Under the draft regulation, smaller water suppliers (serving less than 3,000 connections) would be subject to one of two requirements: Either meeting a 25 percent conservation standard or restricting outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week. This is a departure from the conceptual framework, which did not provide the option of restricting outdoor irrigation and simply called for an across-the-board 25 percent water savings by all small water suppliers.</p> <p>Under the draft regulation, small water suppliers would be required to submit a single report on Dec. 15 detailing water production from June through November this year and between June through November 2013 for comparative purposes, or submit confirmation that outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water is limited to no more than two days a week.</p> <p><b>End User Requirements</b></p> <p>The proposed regulation contains new prohibitions called for in the Executive Order that would apply to all Californians: 1) Irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians would be prohibited and 2) irrigation with potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings not delivered by drip or microspray. The regulation does not define &ldquo;medians.&rdquo; Water Board staff explained last week that it will be left to the discretion and good judgment of communities to meet the median requirement.</p> <p>Under the Executive Order, Provision 5 called for the Water Board to impose restrictions to require that commercial, industrial and institutional properties, such as campuses, golf courses and cemeteries, to immediately implement water efficiency measures to reduce potable water usage. Under the draft emergency regulation, such properties that are not served by a water supplier must either limit outdoor irrigation to two days per week or achieve a 25 percent reduction in water use. The Water Board explained that the goal is to reduce water use for &ldquo;large landscapes&rdquo; that otherwise would not be addressed by the regulation.</p> <p>The Water Board noted in a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/fact_sheet_implementing_25.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">Fact Sheet</span></a> that care must be taken to ensure that existing trees remain healthy and do not create a public safety hazard due to water restrictions. The Water Board will be developing guidance on balancing the needs of trees in light of the forthcoming prohibitions on end users.</p> <p><b>Reporting and Compliance: Cumulative Tracking of Water Use, Informational Orders, and Proposed Conservation Orders</b><br /> <br /> For compliance purposes, the draft regulation provides that each urban supplier&rsquo;s water savings between June 2015 and February 2016 be compared to water usage in the corresponding prior timespan of June 2013 through February 2014. The Water Board will begin assessing compliance with the emergency regulation starting July 15, when urban water suppliers will be required to submit their June monthly reports on water usage.</p> <p>Numerous commenters on the regulatory framework expressed concern about the Board&rsquo;s plan to monitor monthly usage results as a means of alerting the state to areas that are falling behind in required reductions. Agencies pointed out that wide swings beyond the control of a water supplier can occur from month to month. The draft regulation therefore includes a provision under which the Water Board would track compliance on a cumulative basis. As monthly reports come in, the Water Board will add agencies&rsquo; conservation savings together from one month to the next, comparing the amount of water used during the same months in 2013. The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/fact_sheet_implementing_25.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">Fact Sheet</span></a> released Saturday provides graphic illustrations of how the cumulative tracking will work.</p> <p>In addition to residential water use, urban water suppliers will be required to report on monthly usage by commercial, industrial and institutional sectors.</p> <p>The draft regulation would allow the Water Board to impose informational orders and potential corrective actions on water suppliers not meeting their conservation standards. In particular, a new &ldquo;informational order&rdquo; is proposed in the emergency regulation that would require a response from water suppliers within 30 days or they would face enforcement. Violation of such an order would carry a penalty of up to $500 per day for each day the violation continues. In addition, the Water Board could use a &ldquo;conservation order&rdquo; to direct specific actions to correct non-compliance. According to the Water Board&rsquo;s Fact Sheet, this type of order also would carry a penalty of up to $500 a day.</p> <p>Additionally, the Water Board would work with water suppliers that are failing to meet their conservation standards to implement actions to achieve the required water savings. These actions could include making changes to rates and pricing, imposing irrigation restrictions, conducting public outreach, offering rebates and audit programs, implementing leak detection and repair, and other measures. These tools could be used at any point during the 270 days the emergency regulation is in effect.</p> <p><b>Comments and Feedback</b></p> <p>The Water Board seeks feedback on the emergency regulation. Cities, public agencies and other interested parties should submit comments on the updated approach to the regulation and on the specific regulatory language to Jessica Bean at <a href="mailto:Jessica.Bean@waterboards.ca.gov"><span style="color: #0000ff">Jessica.Bean@waterboards.ca.gov</span></a> by Wednesday. The draft regulation will be further refined based on comments received. The Notice of Proposed Emergency Rulemaking and accompanying revised regulatory language will be released April 28 for public comment and consideration by the Water Board at its May 5-6, 2015 regular business meeting. More information and comments thus far can be found <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/emergency_mandatory_regulations.shtml"><font color="#0000ff">here</font></a> on the Water Board&rsquo;s website.</p> <p>If you have any questions about the draft regulation or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><font color="#0000ff">Environmental Law and Natural Resources</font></a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><font color="#0000ff">Special Districts</font></a> practice groups , or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts20 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38961&format=xmlLaw360's Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys and Partner Lists Rank BB&Khttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38971&format=xml<p><b>For Immediate Release</b>: April 20, 2015<br /> <b>Media Contact:</b> Denise Nix &bull; 213-787-2552 &bull; <a href="mailto:denise.nix@bbklaw.com?subject=The%20100%20Best%20Law%20Firms%20for%20Female%20Attorneys"><span style="color: #0000ff">denise.nix@bbklaw.com</span></a><br /> <br /> <b>RIVERSIDE, Calif</b>. &ndash; Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP is pleased to announce that it was ranked No. 8 on Law360&rsquo;s list of the 100 Best U.S. Law Firms for Female Attorneys and No. 14 on The Best Law Firms for Female Partners list.</p> <p>This is the first time Law360 has published a list based on female representation at the partner and non-partner levels, and the total number of female attorneys.</p> <p>It is the second time it has published a list of &ldquo;Ceiling Smashers&rdquo; for the highest percentage of female partners. The list of 25 firms is from&nbsp;among more than 300 surveyed. In 2014, Law360 ranked BB&amp;K at No. 13 spot on its &ldquo;Ceiling Smashers&rdquo; list.</p> <p>To see the entire list of the 100 Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys on Law360, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.law360.com/articles/644625"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a> and to see the 2015 Ceiling Smashers list, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.law360.com/articles/644610/the-best-law-firms-for-female-partners"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a> (subscription required).</p>Press Releases20 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38971&format=xmlMello-Roos Act Can Lawfully Finance Eminent Domain Actionshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38946&format=xml<p>The Mello-Roos Act can be used to finance acquisitions by eminent domain, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed in a published decision. In <a target="_blank" href="http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B255408.PDF"><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>Golden State Water</i> <i>Company v. Casitas Municipal Water District</i></span></a>, handed down Tuesday, the court rejected Golden State Water Company&rsquo;s contentions and affirmed that the Act should be &ldquo;liberally construed&rdquo; to allow for the financing of the acquisition of facilities.</p> <p>Golden State Water Company, a for-profit regulated utility, has a monopoly in providing water service in Ojai. Concerned about what the opinion described as &ldquo;sky high water bills,&rdquo; Casitas Municipal Water District &ldquo;concluded that the Ojai community would benefit from having its water utility run by a locally controlled entity rather than an out-of-area-corporation seeking to maximize profits for its owners.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> In a Mello-Roos election held in Ojai, 87 percent of the voters approved using Mello-Roos property taxes to finance Casitas&rsquo; acquisition by eminent domain of Golden State&rsquo;s Ojai water system. Golden State, declaring its system was &ldquo;not for sale,&rdquo; brought a legal challenge to set aside the voter approved Mello-Roos measure.</p> <p>Golden State argued on appeal that only &ldquo;purchases&rdquo; of &ldquo;tangible&rdquo; property could be financed under Mello-Roos and that &ldquo;purchase&rdquo; did not include eminent domain, and that Golden State&rsquo;s water system consisted in part of intangible property.</p> <p>The appellate court rejected these contentions. It observed that the Act itself requires that it be &ldquo;liberally construed.&rdquo; It noted that the Act provides for the acquisition of &ldquo;rights of way,&rdquo; which are intangible and that &ldquo;purchase&rdquo; has been interpreted in prior case law to include eminent domain. It concluded that &ldquo;if the public agency otherwise has the power to acquire the facilities, the Mello-Roos Act should not be interpreted to preclude financing them.&rdquo; It further concluded that litigation expenses for eminent domain could be considered &ldquo;incidental expenses&rdquo; that could be financed under Mello-Roos.</p> <p>The decision observed that &ldquo;[m]onopolists have long been unpopular in this country&rdquo; and that &ldquo;[n]othing is more necessary to life than water.&rdquo; The decision ended on this note:</p> <p>&ldquo;[Golden State] advocates for a rule that would shift the bargaining power decisively in its favor, allowing it to hold out for a sale price far above the market rate while it continues to extract monopoly rents from the people of Ojai. This is neither sound policy nor supportable by the statutory text. &nbsp;Like the trial court, we will not set the will of the voters aside.&rdquo;</p> <p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP filed a brief on behalf of Casitas as amicus curiae counsel for the Association of California Water Agencies, League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties and California Special Districts, which collectively represent more than 2,000 public entities.</p> <p>If you have any questions about this decision or how it may affect your public agency, please contact the authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=493&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Eminent Domain</span></a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Special Districts</span></a> practice groups, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38946&format=xmlPolicing in the 21st Century and Cyber Securityhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38787&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorney Tamara Bogosian is a panelist on &ldquo;Policing in the 21st Century and Cyber Security&rdquo; at the USC Price School of Public Policy Executive Education Form for Local Leaders.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, April 17, 2015<br /> 12:20 &ndash; 2 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> USC Price School</p> <p>Space is limited. To apply or learn more, <a target="_blank" href="http://usc.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=4187083d9a7991088e354ff55&amp;id=c0a373619e&amp;e=e92457f1f1"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38787&format=xmlAdministrative Assistant - Sacramento Officehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38959&format=xml<p>Thank you for your interests in Best Best &amp; Krieger.&nbsp; We are no longer accepting resumes for this position.</p>Job Openings at BB&K17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38959&format=xmlWater District Case Clarifies California Public Records Act Exemption for Utility Customershttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38926&format=xml<p>The Public Records Act exempts from required disclosure the identities of commercial, as well as individual, utility customers, according to a recent Riverside County Superior Court decision.</p> <p>The case, <i>First Amendment Coalition v. Coachella Valley Water District</i>, arose out of CVWD&rsquo;s denial of a records request for the names, as well as amounts of water usage, for all groundwater customers during the current fiscal year. For several years, CVWD publicly released reports with tables showing, by name, the customers who extracted the most groundwater and diverted the most surface water. The tables consistently showed businesses, including golf courses, as the top water consumers. However, in 2014, CVWD published its report without the table showing the names and usage data of its groundwater customers.</p> <p>CVWD&rsquo;s denial of the records request was based on Government Code section 6254.16, which exempts utility customers&rsquo; names, addresses and utility usage data from required disclosure under the Act. The plaintiff argued that the purpose of the exemption is to protect the privacy interests of individuals, not commercial entities. However, the trial court agreed with CVWD, stating that the word &ldquo;customer&rdquo; in the statute applies to businesses and corporations, as well as individuals.</p> <p>The case is being closely watched because of the important issues it raises regarding transparency for public utilities during the state&rsquo;s fourth consecutive year of drought.</p> <p>The First Amendment Coalition is expected to appeal the decision. Best Best &amp; Krieger represents CVWD in this case.</p> <p>If you have any questions about this ruling or how it may affect your public agency, please contact the authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>. (A paralegal assisted in the writing, planning and research of this article.)</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38926&format=xmlPerformance Measures - Accountability and Transparency Certifications Through CSDA and Othershttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38432&format=xml<p>BB&amp;K Partner Kara Ueda will present &ldquo;Performance Measures &ndash; Accountability and Transparency Certifications Through CSDA and Others&rdquo; at the 2015 CALAFCO Annual Staff Workshop.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Thursday, April 16, 2015<br /> 1:45 &ndash; 3 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Holiday Inn Express<br /> Grass Valley, CA</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.calafco.org/index.php/education/conferences-workshops"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38432&format=xmlStimULI Breakfast: Urban Economic Development - Effectively Using What's Left in the Toolboxhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38479&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Seth Merewitz is a speaker on a panel titled, &ldquo;Urban Economic Development &ndash; Effectively Using What&rsquo;s Left in the Toolbox,&rdquo; a presentation of the Urban Land Institute. Since the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies in 2012, the ability to finance urban infill projects has been in question. However, examples are starting to emerge of urban redevelopment taking place even without the traditional tools, such as tax increment. This session will focus on one recent success, the azalea Regional Shopping Center located in the City of South Gate. This panel will offer a case study and hear the perspective of the developer and its legal counsel, as well as the city manager and his financial consultant. This presentation will be a &ldquo;deep dive&rdquo; into this successful post-RDA project.</p> <p>When<br /> Wednesday, April 15, 2015<br /> 7:30 &ndash; 9 a.m.</p> <p>Where<br /> Greenberg Glusker<br /> 1900 Avenue of the Stars, 22nd Floor<br /> Los Angeles, CA 90067</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://la.uli.org/event/stimuli-breakfast-urban-economic-development-effectively-using-whats-left-toolbox/?utm_source=Members%2C+Prospects%2C+and+Lapsed+-+Updated+3.3.15&amp;utm_campaign=3bb3984c5d-stimULI_Breakfast_Add_Art_Add_Value&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_6d3d752fb2-3bb3984c5d-87542525"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements15 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38479&format=xmlAttorney Billing Invoices Privileged From Disclosure Under PRAhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38878&format=xml<p>Billing invoices sent by an attorney to a client are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, a California appellate court ruled this week. The court held that, when a government entity declines to disclose records under the Act based on the attorney-client privilege, the inquiry turns on whether there was an attorney-client relationship between the parties to the communication &mdash; not on the content of the specific communication in question. The court ultimately determined that attorney-client privilege covers a communication, irrespective of its content.</p> <p>In <span style="color: #0000ff"><i><a target="_blank" href="http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B257230.PDF"><span style="color: #0000ff">County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. ACLU of Southern California</span></a></i></span>, the ACLU submitted a PRA request to the County for invoices specifying the amounts that the County had been billed by any law firm in connection with nine different lawsuits brought by inmates involving alleged jail violence. The ACLU sought the documents to determine what work was being done on the lawsuits, the scope of that work, the quality of the representation and the efficiency of the work. The County maintained that the detailed description, timing and amount of work its attorneys performed would communicate attorney strategy, tactics, thought processes and analysis and was therefore exempt from disclosure under the evidentiary privilege provision of the PRA. The court recognized the tension between the public policies advanced by the PRA and attorney-client privilege, but determined that, because the PRA expressly exempts attorney-client communications, the tension must be resolved in favor of the privilege.</p> <p>While a public entity opposing disclosure bears the burden of showing the requested information falls within an exemption, the court determined that the County met this burden here. The court examined the legislative history of the attorney-client privilege and found that the privilege was not limited to communicated legal opinions. This means that whether a communication is privileged cannot turn on whether it contains a specific legal opinion. Because the fundamental purpose of the privilege is to safeguard the confidential relationship between clients and their attorneys, it is the relationship that matters, not the specific communication in question. As long as that communication is made in the course of that relationship (and not, for example, legal advice outside the scope of the attorney&rsquo;s relationship with the client), it retains the privilege.</p> <p>Compliance with PRA requests must be carefully conducted and scrutinized, both to ensure complete disclosure and that material covered by legal privileges or otherwise exempt from disclosure under the Act is not inadvertently disclosed. This is especially true in the wake of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&amp;an=38317&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>Ardon v. City of Los Angeles</i></span></a>, where a California appellate court held that, if a privileged document is accidentally released during compliance with a PRA request, the privilege is waived and the document becomes a public record. Where attorney-client privilege applies, disclosure may be declined. Public agencies should be aware that information that is not otherwise privileged does not now become privileged merely because it is transmitted to or from an attorney. Only information communicated within the course of the attorney-client relationship is exempt from PRA requests.</p> <p>If you have questions about this opinion or how it will affect your municipality or agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed at right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=1139&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Policy and Ethics Compliance</span></a> practice group or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney.</span></a></p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts15 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38878&format=xmlCalifornia Legislators Seek to Mandate More Transparency and Accountability in Governmenthttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38907&format=xml<p>By Deborah J. Kollars</p> <p>In the wake of various investigative reports and public scandals, three California lawmakers have proposed reform legislation aimed at providing greater transparency and accountability in government. Three separate bills, now making their way through the Legislature, aim to strengthen the Government Code and Political Reform Act, and have implications for local government agencies.</p> <p><b>Financial Disclosures </b></p> <p>Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) introduced AB 10 in December 2014. According to Gatto, the bill &ldquo;Provides much needed reform of the reporting requirements of the state&rsquo;s elected officials.&rdquo;</p> <p>Under the bill, as introduced, elected officials would be required to more fully disclose information about business ventures and business partners, and disclose when they excuse themselves from voting based on a conflict of interest. The bill would increase thresholds for triggering a disqualifying financial interest and expand reporting requirements to provide more detail about officials&rsquo; income, property and investments.</p> <p>Specifically, AB 10 proposes changes in four main components of disclosure:</p> <p>1.Modernize the financial interest thresholds that necessitate a public official excusing him or herself from a governmental decision. These numbers have been updated only once since 1974. Under the bill the new threshold at which a public official has a disqualifying financial interest in sources of income changes from $500 to $1,000; in investments in business entities from $2,000 to $5,000; and in interests in real property from $2,000 to $10,000.</p> <p>2.Include additional middle tiers and upper tiers in the financial disclosures on the FPPC&rsquo;s Form 700.</p> <p>3.Require a more detailed disclosure of holdings, specifically a more thorough description of any businesses and the names of any business partners.</p> <p>4.Add an additional disclosure to the Form 700 that requires public officials to specify any instances in the previous year where a financial interest has been cause for a recusal from being involved with or making a governmental decision.</p> <p>5.On April 7, the bill was amended to amend Government Code section 82105, which defines political &ldquo;contributions,&rdquo; and excludes from the definition &ldquo;behested&rdquo; payments for legislative, governmental or charitable purposes. As amended, the bill would now require candidates and elected officials &mdash; for one year after they leave elective office &mdash; to report within 30 days following the receipt of a behested payment in excess of $5,000.</p> <p><b>Gifts of Travel </b></p> <p>SB 21 by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), also introduced in December, is a reintroduction of a portion of SB 831 from the 2014 legislative session, which was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation would provide for greater transparency about public officials&rsquo; travel by requiring both state and local elected officials to disclose to the Fair Political Practices Commission the destination of travel paid for by special interests. The legislation also would require nonprofits that pay for travel by public officials to disclose the name of the donors responsible for funding the travel. While the bill establishes a state-mandated local program, it does not provide reimbursement to local agencies.</p> <p>According to Hill, &ldquo;under current law, the public has no way of knowing who is paying for legislator travel or where they are going. Donors hide behind nonprofits, preventing the public from knowing who was behind the gift to the elected official.&rdquo;</p> <p><b>Conflicts of Interest </b></p> <p>SB 330 by Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) is aimed at preventing elected and government officials from voting on public contracts when a family member has a financial interest or may benefit in the outcome of the contracting decision. Mendoza seeks to align California&rsquo;s conflict of interest laws with those of other states, as well as private corporations.</p> <p>Specifically, SB 330 would amend the Government Code to define when a public official is deemed to have a financial interest in a public contract to include situations where the public officer&rsquo;s spouse, child, parent, sibling or the spouse of the child, parent or sibling has a financial interest in any contract under consideration in his or her official capacity. Under current law, any public official who has a direct or indirect financial conflict of interest must disqualify themselves from voting or participating in decisions related to that contract.</p> <p>As it is currently proposed, a violation of the law will result in disqualification from ever holding any office in California, prison time and/or a fine of not more than $1,000. A local district attorney or the California Attorney General would have the authority to investigate alleged violations of the law and the discretion to pursue criminal prosecution. If they decide not to pursue a criminal prosecution, officials can turn the case over to the FPPC for an administrative or civil action.</p> <p>Each of these bills is currently making its way through the legislative process and would not take effect until 2017. However, public officials should take note of the proposed changes afoot and be prepared to be more transparent and accountable in the years ahead.</p> <p><i>This article first appeared on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.publicceo.com/2015/04/california-legislators-seek-to-mandate-more-transparency-and-accountability-in-government-2/"><span style="color: #0000ff">PublicCEO.com</span></a> on April 15, 2015. Republished with permission.</i></p>BB&K In The News15 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38907&format=xmlLitigation Associate - Riverside Officehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38838&format=xml<p><span>We have an immediate opening for an associate with 2 to 3 years of complex litigation experience.&nbsp; Candidate must have excellent research, analytical and writing skills as well as experience formulating discovery plans and drafting dispositive motions.</span></p> <p><span>Qualified applicants are invited to apply online by clicking the link below. Applicants must attach a resume, transcript and cover letter to be considered for employment. This self-apply feature is compatible with Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 &amp; 9, Mozilla Firefox for Windows, or Safari for Macintosh.<br /> <br /> </span><a target="_blank" href="https://lawcruit.micronapps.com/sup/lc_supp_jobpost.aspx?%40Pl3%3cKWEX%40=2%3e4&amp;%3db8=8_CG"><span>lawcruit.micronapps.com/sup/lc_supp_jobpost.aspx</span></a></p> <p><span>Please address your cover letter to:<br /> <br /> <strong>Jill N. Willis<br /> </strong><em>Chief Talent Officer<br /> </em>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP<br /> 300 South Grand Avenue, 25th Floor<br /> Los Angeles, CA 90071<br /> <em><br /> <strong><em><strong>No phone calls or emails&nbsp;please</strong></em><br /> <br /> <b><i>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP is an Equal Opportunity Employer.</i></b></strong></em></span></p>Job Openings at BB&K13 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38838&format=xmlRetirement Plan Specialisthttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38778&format=xml<span style="font-size: medium"><span style="font-family: Arial"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA">Opening for pension consultant/administrator with significant experience in the administration of qualified retirement plans.&nbsp; Experience should include plan design and implementation, correction of operational failures, annual plan administration (including accounting) and &nbsp;ongoing compliance with federal pension law.<br /> <p><span>Qualified applicants are invited to apply online by clicking the link below. Applicants must attach a resume and cover letter to be considered for employment. This self-apply feature is compatible with Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 &amp; 9, Mozilla Firefox for Windows, or Safari for Macintosh.</span></p> <a target="_blank" href="https://lawcruit.micronapps.com/sup/lc_supp_jobpost.aspx?%40Pl3%3cKWEX%40=2%3e4&amp;%3db8=%3a%40%3bA"><span>lawcruit.micronapps.com/sup/lc_supp_jobpost.aspx</span></a><span><br /> <br /> Please address your cover letter to: </span> <p><span>Debbie Prior</span></p> <span> <p><em>No phone calls or emails please.</em><br /> <br /> <i>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP is an Equal Opportunity Employer.</i></p> </span></span></span></span>Job Openings at BB&K09 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38778&format=xmlCalifornia Tribe Seeks to Drop Claims Against Utility in Tax Fighthttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38958&format=xml<p>The Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians asked a California federal judge Wednesday to allow it to drop some of its claims against a water utility that intervened in the tribe's suit alleging Riverside County lacks authority to tax lessors on its tribal trust land.</p> <p>Specifically, the tribe is looking to nix its claims against intervenor-defendant the Desert Water Agency regarding the ad valorem tax, groundwater replenishment fee and water service charge, which are all imposed by the DWA. The tribe's claims relating to the county's 1 percent possessory interest tax, part of which is sent to the DWA, would remain, according to Wednesday's motion.</p> <p>The DWA, which says a victory by the tribe in its lawsuit would jeopardize the utility's ability to collect this revenue, plans to oppose the move.</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p>DWA attorney Roderick E. Walston of Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP said Thursday that the DWA is currently preparing its response to the tribe&rsquo;s motion, which he characterized as a rehash of arguments already made in the tribe&rsquo;s opposition to their motion to intervene.</p> <p>&ldquo;We think that the motion will prejudice us because we&rsquo;ve spent a lot of time in litigation already once we were allowed to intervene,&rdquo; he said, noting that the DWA has already filed four briefs and conducted discovery in the case.</p> <p><i>To read the full article in Law360, which ran April 9, 2015, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.law360.com/articles/641038/calif-tribe-seeks-to-drop-claims-against-utility-in-tax-fight"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>. (Subscription Required)</i></p>BB&K In The News09 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38958&format=xmlWebinar: Best Practices in Agenda Preparation and Minuteshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38480&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kara Ueda will present &ldquo;Best Practices in Agenda Preparation and Minutes,&rdquo; a California Special Districts webinar. Agendas and minutes drive the various meetings special district staff and elected officials participate in regularly. Understanding the essential and required components in agendas and how you can assist with agenda items is a key function for staff. Accurately recording minutes at meetings is also a critical function as they serve to reflect the general discussion and action taken at a meeting as well as being historical documents for the district. In this webinar, attendees will learn some best practices and legal requirements as they relate to agendas and minutes.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Thursday, April 9, 2015<br /> 10 &ndash; 11:30 a.m.</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://members.csda.net/imis15/EventDetail?EventKey=WEBI040915"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements09 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38480&format=xmlProposed Framework for Mandatory Water Use Reductions in California Releasedhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38751&format=xml<p>The State Water Resources Control Board late Tuesday issued the draft framework for forthcoming emergency regulations designed to help the state conserve water in the face of severe drought. Under an executive order issued by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, the Water Board was directed to develop, impose and enforce mandatory water reduction measures aimed at achieving a statewide 25 percent reduction in potable urban water use. The Water Board is moving quickly. Draft emergency regulations will be released April 17. Adoption is scheduled for May 5 or May 6.</p> <p>The Water Board&rsquo;s draft regulatory framework provides the concepts that will be used to develop the new emergency regulations. The framework can be found under the &ldquo;Documents&rdquo; tab <a target="_blank" href="http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/emergency_mandatory_regulations.shtml"><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></a>.</p> <p><b>Larger Urban Water Providers: Four Tiers of Required Conservation</b></p> <p>The framework places 411 urban water providers into four tiers of required conservation levels. The tier classifications range from 10 percent to 35 percent. Assignments to these &ldquo;conservation standards&rdquo; are based on each of the water suppliers&rsquo; per capita usage in September 2014. Areas with high per capita use must achieve proportionally greater reductions than those with low use. At the low end, 18 water suppliers must achieve 10 percent potable water savings, while 126 must achieve 20 percent, 132 must achieve 25 percent, and 135 must achieve 35 percent. The Water Board has posted a complete listing of these &ldquo;urban water suppliers,&rdquo; which serve more than 3,000 customers or deliver more than 3,000 acre-feet of water annually,&nbsp;which can be found&nbsp;with the draft framework under the &ldquo;Documents&rdquo; tab <a target="_blank" href="http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/emergency_mandatory_regulations.shtml"><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></a>.</p> <p>Under the proposal, compliance by the 411 urban water suppliers would be assessed for the period of June 2015 through February 2016. Enforcement tools may include warning letters, orders for information, cease and desist orders, and fines of up to $10,000 for each day out of compliance. In addition, the draft framework includes new reporting requirements to assess compliance by commercial, industrial and institutional sector customers and actions taken by urban water suppliers to reduce water usage in these sectors.</p> <p><b>Small Water Providers: Mandatory 25 Percent Water Savings</b></p> <p>The framework also addresses the 2,600 &ldquo;small water suppliers&rdquo; in the state that serve fewer than 3,000 customers or deliver less than 3,000 acre-feet of water annually. The framework proposes that they be uniformly required to achieve a 25 percent potable water savings compared to their 2013 usage. For the first time, these smaller suppliers would have to report their water use&nbsp;and conservation measures to the Water Board in the form of a one-time report due 180 days after the effective date of the new emergency regulations. The same enforcement tools as those used for larger urban suppliers could come into play.</p> <p>Per <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&amp;an=38634&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">last week&rsquo;s Executive Order</span></a>, the following measures also will be put into place through the forthcoming emergency regulation process:</p> <ul> <li>The use of potable water outside newly constructed homes and buildings that is not delivered by drip or micro-spray systems will be prohibited.</li> <li>The use of potable water to irrigate ornamental turf on public street medians will be prohibited.</li> </ul> <p>The Water Board also will consider adding requirements for large landscape users such as colleges, golf courses and cemeteries that are not served by the type of water suppliers discussed above to achieve the 25 percent statewide reduction in potable urban water use.</p> <p>The Water Board seeks feedback on the draft regulatory framework, as well as other ideas for structuring a 25 percent reduction in potable water use. Comments and ideas should be submitted to Jessica Bean at <a href="mailto:Jessica.Bean@waterboards.ca.gov"><font color="#0000ff">Jessica.Bean@waterboards.ca.gov</font></a> by April 13. More information about public input can be found in this <a target="_blank" href="http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/regulations_fact_sheet.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">fact sheet</span></a>.</p> <p>It is important that water agencies act quickly and be in-the-know about all the new drought-related measures. BB&amp;K attorneys stand ready to assist in navigating these fast-moving and complex regulations, and have already helped numerous clients take immediate steps to ensure compliance. <b>Kelly Salt</b> has assisted agencies in revising their water conservation and water shortage contingency plans to comply with the Executive Order and Water Board drought regulations. She has also helped public agencies develop new water rate structures, drought surcharges and penalties to encourage water conservation, as well as draft water efficient landscape ordinances.</p> <p><span style="background-color: #ffffff">In the face of prolonged drought conditions and increasingly constrained supplies, BB&amp;K attorneys&nbsp;<span style="color: #0000ff"><b><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=3&amp;A=1598&amp;format=xml&amp;/Eric L. Garner"><span style="color: #0000ff">Eric Garner</span></a></b></span><span style="color: #0000ff">,</span> <span style="color: #0000ff"><b><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=3&amp;A=1544&amp;format=xml&amp;/Steven M. Anderson"><span style="color: #0000ff">Steven Anderson</span></a></b></span><b>,&nbsp;</b><span style="color: #0000ff"><b><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=3&amp;A=1597&amp;format=xml&amp;/Paeter E. Garcia"><span style="color: #0000ff">Paeter Garcia</span></a></b></span><b> </b>and others&nbsp;are advising public agency and private clients throughout California on water rights issues involving surface supplies, groundwater and adjudicated basins. <span style="color: #0000ff"><b><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=3&amp;A=1644&amp;format=xml&amp;/Andre Monette"><span style="color: #0000ff">Andre Monette</span></a></b></span> is working with clients on initiatives to recycle waste water&nbsp;for direct use and&nbsp;groundwater recharge&nbsp;as part of their conservation measures.</span></p> <p>If you have any questions about the current emergency regulatory process or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Environmental Law &amp; Natural Resources</span></a>&nbsp;and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Special Districts</span></a> practice groups, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts08 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38751&format=xmlOne Way to Ration Water: Raise the Pricehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38760&format=xml<p>On the same day that the State Water Resources Control Board released their draft water conservation emergency regulations, Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kelly Salt discussed water rates and fees on National Public Radio&rsquo;s Marketplace. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/water-high-price-cheap/one-way-ration-water-raise-price"><span style="color: #0000ff">Listen to a podcast of the show by clicking here.</span></a></p>BB&K In The News08 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38760&format=xmlNew Federal Fracking Ruleshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38739&format=xml<p>The U.S. Department of the Interior&rsquo;s Bureau of Land Management recently released a final rule to provide new oversight over hydraulic fracturing (commonly referred to as &ldquo;fracking&rdquo;) on federal and tribal lands. Existing federal regulations, which include a permit requirement for fracking activities, will remain in place. The final rule (found at 43 CFR Part 3160) will supplement existing regulations by focusing on:</p> <ul> <li><u>Well Safety</u>: Requires the design and implementation of a casing and cementing program that meets performance standards for all wells, monitoring of cementing operations during well construction, remedial action in response to indications of inadequate cementing and performance of successful integrity test prior to fracking operation.</li> <li><u>Disclosure of Chemicals: </u>Requires public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids (with limited exceptions for trade secrets) to the BLM within 30 days of completing fracturing operations.</li> <li><u>Variance for State/Local Tribes</u>: Allows states and tribes to request variances from provisions for which they have an equal or more protective regulation in place.</li> <li><u>Wastewater Disposal: </u>Requires storage of recovered fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations in enclosed above-ground tanks with limited exception for lined pits.</li> </ul> <br type="_moz" /> Opposition to the final rule has already surfaced. Industry groups and the State of Wyoming filed separate lawsuits challenging the final rule arguing, among other claims, that the rulemaking is procedurally deficient and the rule exceeds the statutory jurisdiction of the DOI. Legislation was also introduced in the U.S. Senate seeking to remove federal oversight over hydraulic fracturing practices. <br /> <br /> <p>Cities and counties with land use authority over fracking sites may view the BLM regulations imposed on federal lands as a benchmark for activities within their own jurisdictions. Use of the BLM regulations as a benchmark may have implications for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other similar environmental statutes.</p> <p>For more information on the DOI Fracking Rule and how it may affect your agency or business, please contact one of the attorney authors listed at right in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Environmental Law &amp; Natural Resources</span></a> group, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>. &nbsp;</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts07 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38739&format=xmlGPS Monitoring of Sex Offenders Is a Fourth Amendment Searchhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38692&format=xml<p>Forcing someone to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor her or his location is a Fourth Amendment search, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a unanimous opinion. The short opinion, handed down by the entire Court and not attributed to one author, indicated that the use of a GPS tracker on an individual required the lower court to determine whether the search was unreasonable, and thus a violation of the Fourth Amendment. This case continues a nationwide trend of rethinking post-release restrictions on sex offenders, including the recent California Supreme Court decision <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&amp;an=38121&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>In Re Taylor</i></span></a> and the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&amp;an=38525&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">subsequent decision by California prison officials to loosen residency restrictions</span></a>.</p> <p>In <i>Grady v. North Carolina</i>, the defendant was twice convicted as a sex offender and ordered to wear a GPS monitor at all times so that his location could be monitored. The tracker was installed against his consent, and he was ordered to wear it for life. Grady challenged the Court, arguing that the tracking device qualified as an unreasonable search. The Court returned the case to the lower court, instructing it to consider whether attaching the GPS tracker to someone or something is a &ldquo;reasonable&rdquo; search. The Court did not discuss whether the search was constitutionally unreasonable &mdash; it only decided that a search had occurred.</p> <p>It is unclear whether the lower court will determine a GPS tracker violated the defendant&rsquo;s constitutional rights and whether that decision would eventually return to the Supreme Court to be fully resolved. Nonetheless, this decision is another indication that post-release restrictions on sex offenders are under the spotlight and may need to be reconsidered at the local level. The time is ripe for municipalities to rethink current restrictions on sex offenders and whether they may run afoul of one or more of these recent determinations. It is important for localities to balance public safety concerns against the constitutional rights of sex offenders, and the current trend is to question how far these rights can be constrained once an individual has been released from incarceration.</p> <p>For more information on the opinion and its implications, please contact the authors of this legal alert listed at right in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts06 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38692&format=xmlCalifornia Water Suppliers Facing Historic Mandatory Restrictions on Water Usagehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38634&format=xml<p>For the first time in California&rsquo;s history, urban water suppliers will soon be required to comply with new mandatory restrictions aimed at achieving a statewide 25 percent reduction in potable urban water use. Under an executive order issued by Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday, the State Water Resources Control Board will develop, impose and enforce the mandatory water reduction measures, which will apply to local agencies that supply water to cities and towns across California. The Executive Order comes as water supplies continue to decline due to the severe drought gripping the state. The Order will have far-reaching implications for urban water suppliers, which will be required to develop rate structures and other pricing mechanisms, including new surcharges, fees and penalties, designed to maximize water conservation.</p> <p>The Order, which can be viewed <a target="_blank" href="http://gov.ca.gov/docs/4.1.15_Executive_Order.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></a>, was issued amid news of a record-low snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. The Order includes a number of new provisions for conserving water, including:</p> <ul> <li>A statewide initiative, led by the Department of Water Resources, to replace 50 million square feet of lawns and ornamental turf with drought tolerant landscapes.</li> <li>Restrictions to be imposed by the Water Board requiring that all commercial, industrial and institutional properties, such as campuses, golf courses and cemeteries, immediately implement water efficiency measures to reduce potable water usage.</li> <li>A requirement that the Water Board direct urban water suppliers to develop rate structures and other pricing mechanisms to maximize water conservation consistent with the new statewide water restrictions. Potential mechanisms include, but are not limited to, surcharges, fees and penalties. The Water Board must adopt emergency regulations to implement this directive. The California Public Utilities Commission is also requested to take similar action with respect to investor-owned utilities that provide water services.</li> </ul> <p>The Order requires the Water Board to impose restrictions to achieve a collective 25 percent reduction statewide in potable urban water use through Feb. 28. The savings goal is designed to save 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months. The new restrictions will require water suppliers to cities and towns to reduce usage, as compared to the amount used in 2013. The Water Board will consider the relative per capita water usage of the service area of each water supplier, and require that areas with high per capita use achieve proportionately greater reductions than those with low use.</p> <p>Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, explained to the media that the Water Board would develop a &ldquo;sliding scale&rdquo; approach to future regulations. It will take into account current per capita use of water and the differing levels of effort that public agencies have already demonstrated to reduce consumption and conserve water to this point. Thus, public agencies that have a demonstrated record of successfully promoting and achieving water savings will have a head start under the new measures and regulations that lie ahead. Those that have conserved for shorter periods of time, or have not achieved demonstrable reductions to date, will need to step up their efforts considerably. Marcus said her agency would begin determining next month what tools the board will use to enforce the directive, and noted that fines are likely for agencies that fail to meet their targets.</p> <p>Marcus also acknowledged that the water pricing provisions in the Order would require agencies to navigate the limitations and requirements of Proposition 218 as new surcharges and fees come into play. She said the Water Board will work with local agencies &ldquo;to figure out the best way to be helpful to them in this effort.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Order has implications for municipalities and counties, as well as water providers. Additional prohibitions and requirements in the Order include, among others:</p> <ul> <li>A ban on irrigation with potable water of ornamental grass on public street medians, to be imposed by the Water Board.</li> <li><span><span>&nbsp;</span></span>A requirement that the Department of Water Resources update the State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance through expedited regulation. The updated Ordinance must increase water efficiency standards for new and existing landscapes through more efficient irrigation systems, greywater usage, onsite storm water capture, and by limiting the portion of landscapes that can be covered in turf. It also will require reporting on the implementation and enforcement of local ordinances, with required reports due by Dec. 31.</li> <li>A prohibition, to be imposed by the Water Board, on irrigation with potable water on new homes and developments unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used.</li> <li>A requirement that the Office of Emergency Services and the Department of Housing and Community Development work jointly with counties to provide temporary assistance, under certain conditions, for people moving from housing units due to a lack of potable water.</li> </ul> <p>The Executive Order contains several government streamlining provisions. Similar to the Executive Order issued by Brown in April 2014 to address the drought, this week&rsquo;s Order exempts a number of its specific directives from compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.</p> <p>Under the Order, agricultural water users will be required to report more water use information to state regulators to increase the state&rsquo;s ability to prevent illegal diversions, waste and unreasonable use of water. The Order also strengthens standards for Agriculture Water Management Plans submitted by large agricultural water districts and requires small agricultural water districts to develop similar plans.</p> <p>If you have any questions about the Executive Order or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Environmental Law &amp; Natural Resources</span></a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Special Districts</span></a> practice groups, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i>Legal Alerts02 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38634&format=xmlAB 1825 Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Webinar (April 2, 2015)http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37688&format=xml<div><br /> California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, pursuant to AB 1825, requires that employers with fifty or more employees in California provide at least two hours of Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training every two years to any employee that has a supervisory role in operations. This presentation is designed to satisfy those requirements.<br /> <br /> Joseph Ortiz will present the training via a live webinar. The&nbsp;webinar is interactive, allowing attendees to ask questions.<br /> <br /> <p><strong>The webinar will&nbsp;cover:</strong></p> <ul type="disc"> <li>What constitutes sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace</li> <li>How to recognize and avoid it</li> <li>What procedures to follow if you witness harassment or are harassed yourself</li> <li>The potential consequences - including personal liability - of sexual harassment</li> </ul> <p><strong><br /> Who should attend:</strong></p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Supervisors</li> <li>Human Resources Professionals</li> <li>Public Officials</li> <li>Managers &amp; Private Business Professionals with 50 or More Employees</li> </ul> <p><br /> <strong>When: <br /> <br /> </strong>April 2, 2015<br /> 10 a.m.&nbsp;-&nbsp;Noon PT</p> <p><br /> <strong>BB&amp;K Presenter:<br /> <br /> </strong>Joseph Ortiz, Partner, Labor &amp; Employment Practice Group in Riverside office<br /> <strong><br /> <br /> Cost:</strong><br /> <br /> $75 per person<br /> <br /> Please provide payment before the training. Otherwise, you will not be able to join the webinar or receive a certificate of completion. Colleagues must register separately.<br /> <br /> <strong><br /> Registration:<br /> <br /> </strong>To register for this webinar, please click <a target="_blank" href="https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2733125687017174273"><strong><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></strong></a>. <br /> <br /> <br type="_moz" /> <strong>Payment:<br /> </strong><br /> <form method="post" action="https://www.cart32.com/cgi-bin/cart32.exe/BBK-AddItem"> <font size="+1"><b>AB 1825 Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Webinar</b><br /> <input type="hidden" name="item" value="AB 1825 Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Webinar" /> Qty: <input size="3" name="Qty" value="1" type="text" /> <b>Price: $75</b> <input type="hidden" name="Price" value="75" /> <br /> <br /> <input type="submit" value="Add to Shopping Cart" /> </font> </form> <strong><br /> <br /> QUESTIONS:<br /> <br /> </strong>Contact&nbsp;<a href="mailto:amanda.fine@bbklaw.com?subject=Do%20You%20Need%20to%20Fulfill%20Your%20AB%201825%20Harassment%20Training%20Requirement%3F"><span style="color: #0000ff">Events@BBKlaw.com</span></a> if you have any questions about this event and/or about BB&amp;K upcoming seminars/events.<br /> <br /> If you are not currently receiving our Legal Alerts and would like to be added to our email distribution list, please visit our <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2121"><span style="color: rgb(0,0,255)">subscription page</span></a>.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </div>Seminars and Webinars02 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37688&format=xmlNinth Circuit to Rehear Second Amendment Casehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38534&format=xml<p>A federal appellate court&rsquo;s decision to re-hear a controversial Second Amendment case has left California without any federal judicial constraints on its concealed firearm permit process. In voting last week to grant a re-hearing in <i>Peruta v. San Diego County</i> before a larger panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges said a previous ruling must not be used as case law. This applies to California and all the other states in the Ninth Circuit.</p> <p>In February 2014, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a published opinion by a two-judge majority finding that the San Diego County Sheriff Department&rsquo;s policy of denying carry concealed firearm permits applications based solely on a stated need for self-defense violated the U.S. Constitution&rsquo;s Second Amendment guarantee to the right to bear arms.</p> <p>The Sheriff did not seek further review of the decision; however, the California Attorney General, the California Police Chief&rsquo;s Association and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence did. The effort was rebuffed by the original three judges in November. So the parties sought a rehearing <i>en banc &mdash; </i>that is, by a panel of 11 judges of the court.</p> <p>Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney Thomas, who, ironically, was the dissenting member of the three-judge panel, and 10 circuit judges, chosen by lot, will rehear Peruta&rsquo;s Second Amendment challenge to the Sheriff Department&rsquo;s carry concealed firearm permit process. The <i>en banc</i> panel decision is likely months away, and it is anticipated the losing party will take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.</p> <p>If you have questions about this case or how it will affect your municipality or agency, please contact the attorney author of this legal alert listed at right in the firm&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=2532&amp;format=xml" target="_blank"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Safety</span></a> practice group or your <a href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099" target="_blank"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney.</span></a></p> <i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i>Legal Alerts31 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38534&format=xmlTwo California Appellate Court Rulings Demonstrate that Groundwater Pumping Fees are in the Eye of the Beholderhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38550&format=xml<p style="text-align: left">Two California Appellate Court decisions handed down this month address whether or not a local water agency&rsquo;s groundwater pumping charges are property-related fees, and reach different conclusions. The distinction is important because of the restrictions imposed for property-related fees under Proposition 218 &mdash; as well as the exemptions for fees that are considered taxes under Proposition 26.</p> <p style="text-align: left">In <i>City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District</i>, issued March 17, the Second District Court of Appeal held that a water conservation district&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees, established at a rate for non-agricultural users that is three times higher than that for agricultural users, are not property-related fees subject to the restrictions imposed under Proposition 218 (California Constitution article XIII D, section 6). The court also rejected the argument that the challenged fees are taxes under Proposition 26 (California Constitution, article XIII C, section 1(e)). Rather, the court found that the fees are valid fees imposed under two exceptions to the definition of &ldquo;tax&rdquo; established under Proposition 26 .</p> <p style="text-align: left">In <i>Great Oaks Water Company v. Santa Clara Valley Water District</i>, issued March 26,the Sixth District Court of Appeal came to a contrary conclusion regarding the classification of the district&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees. Here, the court found that the District&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees are a property-related fees subject to Proposition 218.</p> <p style="text-align: left">Based on these cases, whether a local water agency&rsquo;s pumping charges are subject to the restrictions and exemptions of these laws may turn on the unique facts and circumstances of the agency&rsquo;s groundwater basin and alternative water supplies available to the agency.</p> <p style="text-align: left"><b><i>City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District</i></b></p> <p style="text-align: left">The United Water Conservation District manages water acquisition and distribution from groundwater resources in central Ventura County. To fund its operations, UCWD imposes groundwater pumping fees that are based on the volume of water that is pumped within its service area. As authorized by statute, the rates for the pumping fees must be &ldquo;fixed and uniform&rdquo; for two classes of use: agricultural purposes and all other purposes. The Water Code further requires that the fee for non-agricultural use be set at a rate that is no less than three times - and not more than five times - the fixed and uniform rate established for agricultural water use. UCWD always set it rates at the minimum 3:1 ratio.</p> <p style="text-align: left">The City of San Buenaventura pumps groundwater within the service area of UCWD and treats, delivers and sells the pumped water to properties within the City. The City was subject to the higher 3:1 pumping rates for non-agricultural groundwater extractors. The City challenged the fees, arguing that the statutorily-mandated ratio for non-agricultural and agricultural uses constituted an illegal subsidy for agricultural users at the expense of all other users in violation of the California Constitutional and statutory, and common law. In particular, the City asserted that the fees violated the provisions of Proposition 218 because they &ldquo;exceed the proportional cost of the service attributable to the parcel[s]&rdquo; of land from which the City pumped its water.</p> <p style="text-align: left">The Second Appellate District disagreed. The court explained that the groundwater pumping fees charged to the City were not property-related fees subject to Proposition 218. The Second Appellate District noted that the majority of residential customers received retail water from the City and did not pump water from wells on their property. Additionally, the court noted that other case authority properly characterized pumping fees as a charge on the activity of pumping, and not one imposed by reason of property ownership.</p> <p style="text-align: left">Finally, the Second Appellate District concluded that the pumping fees are not taxes pursuant to Proposition 26. Under Proposition 26, a fee is a tax requiring voter approval unless it qualifies as one of seven exceptions. The court concluded that the pumping charges fell within two of those exceptions. The first is a fee imposed for a specific benefit conferred that does not exceed the reasonable costs to the local government agency of conferring that benefit. The second exception is a fee imposed for various regulatory activities for which a local agency may recover its reasonable costs that don&rsquo;t exceed the cost of regulation. Here, the court held the pumping fees are fees imposed for a payor-specific benefit&mdash;the benefit being that the pumpers may extract groundwater. Without UCWD&rsquo;s resource management operations, the court reasoned, groundwater would be depleted far faster and overdraft in the district would be far more severe. In response to the City&rsquo;s argument that the pumping fees were taxes because the 3:1 ratio was unreasonable and disproportionate, the court explained that fees designed to recover a local agency&rsquo;s reasonable costs are not measured on an individual basis, but are measured collectively, considering all rate payors. Thus, permissible fees must be related to the overall cost of the governmental regulation. By imposing the pumping fees based on the volume of water extracted, the court concluded that the fees in aggregate did not exceed the reasonable costs of regulating the groundwater supplies.</p> <p style="text-align: left"><b><i>Great Oaks Water Company v. Santa Clara Valley Water District</i></b></p> <p style="text-align: left">In <i>Great Oaks Water Company</i>, the Sixth Appellate District reached a different conclusion. The water district&rsquo;s major responsibilities included preventing depletion of the aquifers from which the water company extracts the water it sells. The Water District funds those activities through the imposition of pumping fees. The rates for non-agricultural pumpers were much higher than for agricultural pumpers. The company asserted, among other things, that the pumping fees imposed by the District violate the procedural and substantive requirements of Proposition 218.</p> <p style="text-align: left">The court found that pumping groundwater involves the exercise of a right in real property. Since a charge on that activity burdens the exercise of that right, it must be deemed incidental to it, and thus to ownership of property. Because the fees imposed for pumping groundwater are incidental to property-ownership, the Sixth Appellate District concluded they are property-related fees. This conclusion is consistent with the Sixth Appellate District&rsquo;s earlier decision in <i>Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency v. Amrhein</i>.</p> <p style="text-align: left">The court&rsquo;s analysis of the petitioner&rsquo;s challenges to the pumping fees also provides some clarification on the obligation of a local agency in complying with the procedural provisions of Proposition 218 for property-related fees. Prior to holding a public hearing to adopt a new, or increase an existing property-related fee, a local agency must hold a public hearing and provide written notice of the public hearing at least 45 days in advance. The court made the following conclusions regarding the notice and other procedural requirements of Proposition 218:</p> <ol> <li style="text-align: left">The notice may identify a range of possible rates to be imposed. By doing so, the notice effectively establishes the maximum rate that may be approved, but a local agency may also adopt a rate that is lower than the maximum rate identified in the notice.</li> <li style="text-align: left">Proposition 218 does not require that the notice state the specific amount each property owner will pay, only the method by which the fee will be calculated. When a fee depends in part on an unknowable variable, such as consumption, all a local agency can reasonably be expected to provide in the notice are the known variables, such as the rate and unit of measure.</li> <li style="text-align: left">Local agencies are not required to include in such notices information regarding the majority protest procedures of Proposition 218&mdash;i.e., the right of property owners to submit a written protest or their power to nullify the proposed fee by a majority protest.</li> <li style="text-align: left">The pumping fees are fees for water service and thus are not subject to the voting requirements applicable to property-related fees that are not for sewer, water or refuse collection services.</li> </ol> <p style="text-align: left">Ultimately, the court did not determine if the Water District violated the substantive provisions of Proposition 218. The court instead found that the trial court failed to apply a properly deferential standard of review to the question of whether the Water District&rsquo;s setting of the fees and remanded the case for further proceedings.</p> <p style="text-align: left">If you have any questions about these cases or how they may impact your agency, please contact the attorney author of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s Public Finance practice group, or your BB&amp;K attorney.</p> <p style="text-align: left"><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts31 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38550&format=xmlDIVISIONS GO DEEP: Tribe fights to control flush aquifer that water agencies deny depleting and foulinghttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38559&format=xml<p>By Matt Stevens</p> <p>In drought-ravaged California, the vast freshwater aquifer beneath the Coachella Valley is a rare bright spot.</p> <p>The U.S. Geological Survey once tried to measure how much water it held but gave up because the supply was so plentiful.</p> <p>But there is growing concern by some that local water agencies are drawing too much out of the aquifer, which supplies water for more than 260,000 people. The two water providers that control the aquifer, the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency, acknowledge that they have drawn down the water supply but say they replace some of it with water from the Colorado River.</p> <p>That's not enough for some critics, including leaders of an Indian tribe that is now suing to wrestle water rights from the districts.</p> <p>It's one of several legal disputes over water being fought across California, fueled by a drought that is making groundwater a more precious resource than ever.</p> <p>&quot;No one cares about water rights except when there's a shortage &mdash; and then people care a whole lot in a hurry,&quot; said water law expert Eric L. Garner. &quot;If there's a shortage, you tend to get some finger-pointing. And, frankly, this drought is scary.&quot;</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p><i>To read the entire story, which ran in the March 31, 2015 edition of the Los Angeles Times, <a target="_blank" href="http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-83182697/"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</i></p>BB&K In The News31 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38559&format=xmlRulings Prompt California Sex Offender Residency Regulations Changehttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38525&format=xml<p>California prison officials have announced that they are loosening some restrictions on where sex offenders may live in response to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&amp;an=38121&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>In re Taylor</i></span></a>, a California Supreme Court ruling earlier this month. Under the new policy, state officials will review the cases of all 6,000 sex-offender parolees to determine whether residency restrictions are appropriate. Going forward, each parolee&rsquo;s case will be assessed on an individual basis.</p> <p>State officials will consider the criminal histories of parolees, particularly whether their crimes involved children or other sex crimes. Those whose offenses did involve children will most likely remain under the current restrictions created by Jessica&rsquo;s Law in 2006, which prevent them from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other places where children may be present. However, under the new policy, other offenders, such as those convicted of assaulting an adult or of statutory rape, or those who have shown no propensity for crimes against children, may be permitted to live without such restrictions.</p> <p>Officials intend this policy change to reduce the number of homeless sex offenders in California. When Jessica&rsquo;s Law passed, there were roughly 88 homeless sex offenders in the state, but since the law went into effect, that number has increased to around 1,400. Evidence indicates that homelessness increases the risk that these individuals will reoffend or commit other crimes, and the current residency restrictions have effectively mandated homelessness for many individuals. The increased rate of homelessness among sex offenders in San Diego County was a primary justification for the Supreme Court&rsquo;s recent decision finding that blanket restrictions in that County violate the constitutional rights of parolees.</p> <p>All current offenders will have their files reviewed by parole officers over the next few months, and offenders currently in prison will be reviewed when they are about to be released. Since the passage of Jessica&rsquo;s Law, municipalities across the state have passed ordinances which mirror or extend beyond the restrictions imposed. Restrictions on the movement of sex offenders, such as ordinances prohibiting them from being present near schools or playgrounds, were previously held unconstitutional in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&amp;an=29962&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>People v. Nguyen</i></span></a><i>.</i> In light of the recent decision, and the policy shift at the state level, municipalities currently imposing residency restrictions should consider the scope and breadth of their policies and consult with local counsel to make adjustments if necessary.</p> <p>For more information on these regulations, please contact the authors of this legal alert listed at right in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i>Legal Alerts30 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38525&format=xmlWhere to Store Water? Above Ground or Below Ground?http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38529&format=xml<p>By Joe Byrne</p> <p>Last year, with support from more than two-thirds of the voters, Californians passed Proposition 1, the state water bond. This far-reaching measure allocated $2.7 billion for water storage projects to improve California&rsquo;s water system and its natural environment to better prepare us for future devastating droughts, like the one we are experiencing now.</p> <p>The California Water Commission has been entrusted with this investment to help meet the state&rsquo;s water needs in the future and takes this charge from voters with utmost seriousness. We have already launched a public engagement process to help the commission as it develops the grant program, called the Water Storage Investment Program.</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p><i>To read the full article in the Sacramento Bee, which ran March 28, 2015, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/the-conversation/article16434566.html"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</i></p>BB&K In The News28 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38529&format=xmlBB&K Partner Charity Schiller Honored as a Woman of Distinctionhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38507&format=xml<p><b>RIVERSIDE, Calif.</b>&nbsp;- Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Charity Schiller was among the 20 women honored by Assemblymember Jose Medina with the annual <a target="_blank" href="http://asmdc.org/members/a61/news-room/press-releases/assemblymember-jose-medina-honors-the-61st-assembly-district-women-of-distinction"><span style="color: #0000ff">&ldquo;61st Assembly District Women of Distinction&rdquo; Award,</span></a> presented Saturday during a luncheon ceremony. Schiller was lauded for the leadership role she has taken in the legal community with regard to environmental and sustainability issues, as well as her work teaching environmental law at her alma mater, the University of California, Riverside.&nbsp;The Assemblymember also noted Schiller&rsquo;s involvement with several civic and philanthropic organizations in the City of Riverside, where she lives.</p> <p>Schiller, 37, assists private companies and public agencies to comply with all aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws. Schiller&rsquo;s practice includes not only advising clients regarding the analysis and approval of renewable energy projects, sustainably themed transportation improvements and regional land use plans, but also includes representing clients before trial and appellate courts across California.</p> <p>Environmental law is rapidly evolving on local, state and national levels, with California at the forefront. Schiller is an emerging leader in environmental law because she has built her practice on a deep understanding of the complex issues, laws and interplay of regulations in this area. With a graduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, Schiller puts her education to work by coaching public agencies and private developers on complex strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet state-wide transportation sustainability requirements, develop Climate Action Plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a jurisdiction-wide basis, and meet increasingly stringent requirements for site-specific and sustainable development in local communities.</p> <p>Schiller and the other honorees were recognized in conjunction with Women&rsquo;s History Month. &ldquo;I am proud to honor these leading women of the Inland Empire,&rdquo; Medina said. &ldquo;They serve as distinguished members of the community and role models and educators for youth in the region.&rdquo;</p> <p align="center">###</p> <p><b><i>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP</i></b><i> is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, education, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With nearly 200 attorneys, the law firm has nine offices nationwide, including Riverside, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit </i><i><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/"><font color="#0000ff">www.bbklaw.com</font></a> or follow @BBKlaw on Twitter.</i></p>Press Releases27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38507&format=xmlLitigation Paralegal - Municipal Law Practice Grouphttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37747&format=xml<p><span style="font-size: medium"><span style="font-family: Arial">Our Municipal Law practice group has an immediate full time opening for a paralegal with a minimum of 7 years of litigation and trial experience. A background supporting municipal and natural resources attorneys is ideal but not required.&nbsp; This paralegal will be based in the Irvine office; however, he/she must be willing to occasionally work from the firm&rsquo;s other regional offices and travel for trial when necessary. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium"><span style="font-family: Arial">Qualified applicants are invited to apply online by clicking the link below. Applicants must attach a resume and cover letter to be considered for employment. This self-apply feature is compatible with Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 &amp; 9, Mozilla Firefox for Windows, or Safari for Macintosh.</span></span></p> <a target="_blank" href="https://lawcruit.micronapps.com/sup/lc_supp_jobpost.aspx?%40Pl3%3cKWEX%40=2%3e4&amp;%3db8=%3a%40%3bA"><span style="font-size: medium"><span style="font-family: Arial">lawcruit.micronapps.com/sup/lc_supp_jobpost.aspx</span></span></a><span style="font-size: medium"><span style="font-family: Arial"><br /> <br /> Please address your cover letter to: </span></span> <p><span style="font-size: medium"><span style="font-family: Arial">Debbie Prior</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size: medium"><span style="font-family: Arial"> <p><em>No phone calls or emails please.</em><br /> <br /> <i>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP is an Equal Opportunity Employer.</i></p> </span></span>Job Openings at BB&K27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37747&format=xmlNinth Circuit Draws Clear Distinction Between California's Meeting Disruption Statuteshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38425&format=xml<p>A Los Angeles Skid Row advocacy group faced off against those participating in a &ldquo;walk&rdquo; through the Skid Row area sponsored by two business improvement districts. The walk was for public officials, law enforcement, members of the judiciary, students, academics, business owners, social service providers and the media and was designed to provide firsthand insight into the challenges posed by conditions in the area. The advocacy group&rsquo;s position was that such walks actually promote victimization of Skid Row&nbsp;residents. After police warned the advocacy group protestors that disrupting the walk could lead to their arrest pursuant to California Penal Code section 403 (disturbing a public meeting), one of the advocacy group leaders yelled loudly less than a foot away from one of the walk attendees and was arrested. Although the arrestee was never charged, the advocacy group sued in federal court, claiming that section 403 is unconstitutional on its face as applied under the First and Fourteenth amendments.</p> <p>After the district court dismissed the complaint, the advocacy group appealed to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and renewed its arguments. While the court rejected the group&rsquo;s constitutional challenges, it did find that the protester was improperly arrested for a violation of section 403 because, the court held, that section did not apply to the conduct here. The court&rsquo;s conclusion is important because California law enforcement commonly invoke the provisions of section 403 in instances of disruption of public meetings. According to the Ninth Circuit, section 403 does not apply to such meetings.</p> <p>Penal Code section 403 makes it a misdemeanor offense to willfully disturb or break up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character. However, the statute excepts from its coverage a meeting as defined in section 18340 of the California Elections Code. Section 18340 states that &ldquo;[e]very person who, by threats, intimidations, or unlawful violence, willfully hinders or prevents electors from assembling in public meetings for the consideration of public questions is guilty of a misdemeanor.&rdquo; (An &ldquo;elector&rdquo; is&nbsp;a resident citizen over the age of 18, i.e., an eligible voter.)</p> <p>Thus, the issue was, what kind of meeting or assembly was the &ldquo;walk&rdquo; here? The distinction is important because the Elections Code section sets a different and higher standard of (mis)conduct &mdash; a more egregious standard &mdash; than the Penal Code section by referring to &ldquo;threats, intimidations, or unlawful violence&rdquo; willfully hindering or preventing electors from assembling in public meetings. After tracing the legislative history of the statutes, and applying its plain language, the court concluded that section 403 does not cover &ldquo;political meetings,&rdquo; including the walk here because of the reference to a meeting, as defined in Elections Code Section 18340. The walk involved the consideration of &ldquo;public questions,&rdquo; namely the conditions on Skid Row, and the participants were &ldquo;electors.&rdquo; Thus, the protestor was improperly arrested for a violation of Penal Code&nbsp;section 403. The appellate court did not resolve the question whether the protestor&rsquo;s conduct violated the higher standard of the Elections Code section.</p> <p>The decision is important to public entities and law enforcement agencies in California, as responses to disruption of agency meetings &mdash; which are &ldquo;political meetings&rdquo; &mdash; involving arrest or prosecution must be considered under the more stringent standards of the Elections Code, and not the Penal Code.</p> <p>If you have questions about this ruling or how it will affect your municipality or agency, please contact the attorney author of this legal alert listed at right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=1139&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Policy and Ethics Compliance</span></a> practice group or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney.</span></a></p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts23 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38425&format=xmlBEST IN LAW: Employers need to heed Obamacare Reporting Ruleshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38435&format=xml<p>BY ISABEL SAFIE</p> <p>Compliance with reporting obligations is always important for any employer, but the employer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act pack a significant penalty that makes compliance particularly important.</p> <p>In fact, employers could be subject to penalties of up to $100 per return and $200 per employee for failing to timely file the required returns or furnish specified statements to employees.</p> <p>Thus employers, whether private or governmental, will need to ensure that they have systems in place to collect certain data pertaining to health coverage provided in 2015 and later that will need to be reported to the IRS beginning in 2016.</p> <p>The reports provide the IRS with information used to determine if employers are subject to penalties under the &ldquo;play-or-pay&rdquo; rule or whether individuals are subject to penalties under the individual mandate.</p> <p>The reporting procedures will be similar to those used in connection with the W-2 Form used to report annual wages. Consistent with the requirements, Form 1095-B or 1095-C will need to be prepared for each employee covered by the reporting obligations and filed with the IRS using a transmittal Form 1094-B or 1094-C.</p> <p>Certain small employers will need to use the &ldquo;B series&rdquo; forms to report minimum essential coverage, while the &ldquo;C series&rdquo; forms will be used by employers subject to the play-or-pay rule to provide the IRS with information to determine whether penalties are applicable.</p> <p><b>Minimum Essential Coverage (Forms 1094-B and 1095-B) </b></p> <p>Generally, &ldquo;minimum essential coverage&rdquo; includes an insured plan or coverage offered in the small or large group market or a self-insured group health plan. The good news for most small employers, generally those that are not subject to the play-or-pay rule, is that they will not be required to submit any of the returns discussed here. This is because the obligation to report data connected to minimum essential coverage falls on the insurance carrier rather than the employer, unless the coverage is provided on a self-insured basis.</p> <p>Small employers that provide minimum essential coverage on a self-insured basis will be required to use the B-series forms to report certain employee information, including names, addresses and other key information.</p> <p>In contrast, the insurance carrier is responsible for reporting insurance coverage provided by small employers on an insured basis. Thus, employers providing minimum essential coverage through an insurance carrier that assumes the risk of providing health coverage for insured events will have no filing obligation. Most small employers provide minimum essential coverage on an insured basis and, therefore, will not be subject to this filing requirement.</p> <p><b>Reporting by Applicable Large Employers (Forms 1094-C and 1095-C) </b></p> <p>All applicable large employers will be required to make an annual report to the IRS with respect to each full-time employee. The returns must contain various items of information including:</p> <ul> <li>Whether the employer offers coverage to the employee</li> <li>The employee&rsquo;s share of the cost for self-only coverage</li> <li>Number of full-time employees for each month</li> <li>Name, address and Social Security number of each full-time employee</li> </ul> <p>Applicable large employers with 50 to 99 full-time and full-time equivalent employees are required to file annual returns even if they are eligible for transition relief and exempt from the play-or-pay rule until 2016.</p> <p><b>Filing Deadlines </b></p> <p>Statements must be furnished to employees on or before Jan. 31 of the filing year. Copies of the information return filed with the IRS can be used for this purpose. The returns must be filed with the IRS on or before Feb. 28, or March 31 if filing electronically.</p> <p>The information reporting requirements are lengthy and complex. Although reporting will not occur until early 2016, it is important for employers that will be responsible for these reporting obligations to take proactive action in 2015 to facilitate the reporting obligation. Therefore, it is important for employers to do the following:</p> <ul> <li>Review and understand the reporting requirements.</li> <li>Obtain copies of the reporting forms and identify the information that will need to be gathered and reported.</li> <li>Identify the employees for whom reports will need to be submitted.</li> <li>Designate a responsible person to gather the necessary information.</li> <li>Calendar applicable deadlines to ensure that statements and returns are submitted timely.</li> </ul> <p><i>*This article first appeared in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pe.com/articles/employers-762381-coverage-reporting.html?page=2"><span style="color: #0000ff">The Press-Enterprise</span></a> on March 22, 2015. Republished with permission.</i></p>BB&K In The News22 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38435&format=xmlLand to Sea... Strategies to Solutionshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37367&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP attorneys Paeter Garcia, Charity Schiller, Michelle Ouellette and Sarah Owsowitz will be among the featured speakers at the Association of Environmental Professionals Conference March 22-25, 2015 in Santa Barbara.</p> <p><b>BB&amp;K Speakers</b></p> <p>Paeter Garcia and Charity Schiller, &ldquo;CEQA and the Big Drought&rdquo;</p> <p>California&rsquo;s ongoing drought poses numerous challenges, with consequences for both the state&rsquo;s physical and regulatory environments. This panel will address how CEQA is being applied, or in some cases waived, for projects intended to provide drought relief, and it will also discuss challenges related to completing legally defensible CEQA documents for projects that will be built under drought conditions. Paeter will discuss the complexities of water supply planning and preparing Water Supply Assessments when almost any water source may be subject to unknown levels of future curtailment as the drought drags on. Charity will provide an overview of the exemptions to CEQA contained in Gov. Jerry Brown&rsquo;s two emergency drought declarations and how these apply, or don&rsquo;t, to many of the water supply projects that are being developed by local governments and water districts.&nbsp; She will also discuss legal defensibility as it relates to water supply conclusions contained in CEQA documents.</p> <p>Michelle Ouellette, &ldquo;Whiskey is for Drinking; Water is for Fighting Over: The Saga of the Cadiz Litigation 2.0&rdquo;</p> <p>In August 2014, an Orange County Superior Court judge issued rulings in six related lawsuits concerning the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project. The Cadiz project has been contentious, with several lawsuits filed by labor unions, environmental groups and a private salt mining company.&nbsp; &nbsp;As described by proponents, the Cadiz project is a public-private partnership between the Santa Margarita Water District and Cadiz, Inc. designed to manage a groundwater basin in San Bernardino County, capturing groundwater that would ultimately flow to hyper-saline lakes and evaporate. As described by opponents, they argue the Project is a water mining and privatization scheme that will harm a fragile desert ecosystem and fuel unsustainable growth. &nbsp;Given the years of controversy, a wide variety of CEQA, water and other issues were considered by Judge Gail Andler, who ultimately upheld the agencies&rsquo; decisions in all of the lawsuits.</p> <p>Sarah Owsowitz, &ldquo;Tribal Cultural Resources in CEQA, AB 52 Explained&rdquo;</p> <p>This dynamic panel will detail features and requirements of the new CEQA law on avoidance, preservation or mitigation of Tribal Cultural Resources, AB 52, and discuss strategies&nbsp; for preparing, entering into, and concluding consultation with Tribal Governments. If you are an environmental consultant, public agency representative, developer, or legal counsel who may have tribal cultural resources in your CEQA documents, then this presentation is for you. This panel will answer the following questions: What is AB 52, and how does it work? When does the law go into effect? What is the impact on my current environmental document? How do I consult with Tribal Governments? What is the role of the Lead Agency, the Project Proponent, and the California Native American Tribe in the consultation process?</p> <p><b>When<br /> </b>March 22-25, 2015</p> <p><b>Where</b><br /> Fess Parker Resort, Santa Barbara</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.califaep.org/events/2015-conference"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements22 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37367&format=xmlCounty's Decision to Reject Controversial Ad Did Not Violate the First Amendmenthttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38402&format=xml<p>Rejecting a First Amendment challenge, a county can choose to not run an advertisement on its own bus system if it might cause vandalism and violence, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held this week. The court determined that the county created only a &ldquo;limited public forum&rdquo; with bus advertisements, and that its decision to reject a controversial ad was both reasonable and viewpoint neutral. The decision indicates that local agencies have some flexibility in controlling a limited &ldquo;public forum,&rdquo; and emphasizes that the First Amendment permits reasonable regulation when justified by a strong government interest in preserving public safety.</p> <p>In <i>Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign v. King County</i>, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign submitted an advertisement to run on King County Metro buses in the Seattle metropolitan area decrying America&rsquo;s support of Israel. After initially accepting the ad, the County revoked its approval amid threats of violence and vandalism it feared would disrupt the bus system. The County has a policy restricting advertising content, which prohibited things like ads for alcohol and tobacco or those promoting illegal activities or containing obscene, deceptive, misleading or defamatory material. The policy also contained two &ldquo;civility clauses,&rdquo; which together prohibited material that would foreseeably result in disruption of the transportation system or incite a response that threatened public safety. Though it initially approved of the ad, the County withdrew approval after a wave of protests, threats of violence and expressions of fear from its customers and transit employees. At the same time, the County rejected two pro-Israel ads submitted in response.</p> <p>The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court&rsquo;s summary judgment in favor of King County by determining that the County created only a &ldquo;limited public forum.&rdquo; The case hinged on a question of which type of &ldquo;public forum&rdquo; the County had created in its bus advertising program. The United States Supreme Court has classified forums into three categories:</p> <ul> <li>traditional public forums (such as streets, sidewalks or public parks);</li> <li>designated public forums (created when the government intends to make property that has not traditionally been open to assembly and debate &ldquo;generally available&rdquo; for &ldquo;expressive use by the general public or by a particular class of speakers, but which the government may close whenever it chooses) and</li> <li>limited public forums (where the government intends to grant only &ldquo;selective access&rdquo; by imposing either speaker-based or subject-matter restrictions).</li> </ul> <p>Because the restriction here was reasonable in light of the forum&rsquo;s purpose as a mode of public transportation and was viewpoint neutral (the County chose to reject ads that were both anti-Israel and anti-Palestine), the court held the County&rsquo;s decision did not violate the First Amendment. Local agencies with similar advertising programs in place should pay heed to the court&rsquo;s reasoning here, and ensure their policies create only a &ldquo;limited public forum&rdquo; if they intend to restrict certain forms of expression. Local agencies should also carefully document the existence of facts indicating a threat to public safety and order as a basis for rejecting expression of certain viewpoints.</p> <p>For more information on the opinion and its implications, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed at right in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2099"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts20 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38402&format=xmlACWA Legislative Symposium Looks at Groundwater, Prop. 218http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38528&format=xml<p>ACWA&rsquo;s 2015 Legislative Symposium held in Sacramento March 4 focused on key water issues being addressed this legislative session, including the streamlining of groundwater basin adjudications and possible changes to Proposition 218.</p> <p>The day-long conference, held at the Sacramento Convention Center, offered more than 140 attendees an opportunity to hear differing perspectives on water issues facing lawmakers this term. ACWA Vice President Kathy Tiegs opened the conference with welcoming remarks.</p> <p>The first panel &mdash; &ldquo;To Adjudicate or Not to Adjudicate? That is the Question&rdquo; &mdash; explored proposals to streamline the groundwater adjudication process. The streamlining was addressed in the context of how it might intersect with the newly passed Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Eric Garner, an attorney with Best Best and Krieger, moderated the panel.</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p><i>To read the full article in ACWA News, which ran March 20, 2015, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.acwa.com/sites/default/files/news/digital-acwa-news/2015/03/vol43-no3-mar-20.pdf"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a> (p. 17).</i></p>BB&K In The News20 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38528&format=xmlSustainable Groundwater Management: What the Hell Just Happened?http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37919&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Managing Partner Eric Garner is one of the panelists speaking on, &ldquo;Sustainable Groundwater Management: What the Hell Just Happened?&rdquo; at the California Water Policy Conference.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Thursday, March 19<br /> 10:45 a.m.</p> <p><strong>Where<br /> </strong>The Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cawaterpolicy.org/index.html"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements19 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37919&format=xmlSB 854 Presentationhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37502&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger Attorney Michael Maurer will give a presentation on SB 854, which significantly changes how the Department of Industrial Relations monitors compliance with the Prevailing Wage Law. It will impose new burdens on public agencies and many private business that contract with them. All contractors must now register with the DIR prior to bidding on or working on any public works projects.</p> <p><strong>When:</strong><br /> Thursday, March 19, 2015<br /> 11:30 a.m.</p> <p><strong>Where:</strong><br /> Dave &amp; Buster&rsquo;s<br /> 4821 Mills Circle Drive<br /> Ontario, CA 91764</p> <p>For more information, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.csmfo.org/"><span style="color: #0000ff">visit the CSMFO web page</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements19 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=37502&format=xmlWhere's the (Public) Money? Securing Public Incentives and Project Gap Funding in a Post-RDA Worldhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38038&format=xml<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Seth Merewitz will be speaking on &quot;Where&rsquo;s the (Public) Money? Securing Public Incentives and Project Gap Funding in a Post-RDA World&quot; for the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Property Section, Land Use Subsection in a presentation that will also be webcast live. The role of public agencies in facilitating projects has been in flux since the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies in 2012. However, examples are starting to emerge of redevelopment taking place even without the traditional tools. This session will focus on incentive programs and local government participation in filling a project's &quot;financing gap&quot; without tax increment. The panel will present case studies of approved projects that have been constructed.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Wednesday, March 18, 2015<br /> Noon - 1:30 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Los Angeles County Bar Association<br /> 1055 West 7th Street, 27th Floor<br /> Los Angeles, CA 90017</p> <p>For more information or to register, visit the <a target="_blank" href="http://onlinestore.lacba.org/calendar/#ViewCalendarEvent.cfm?1=1&amp;CalendarEventID=4842"><span style="color: #0000ff">LACBA event page here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements18 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=38038&format=xml