09192017Tue
Last updateMon, 18 Sep 2017 9pm

California Supreme Court Curbs Responses to Anti-SLAPP Motions

EDITORIAL - Individual elected officials are exercising their right to free speech when they cast their votes — even if those votes might be the result of corruption or based in a conflict of interest, the California Supreme Court has decided. The opinion, handed down Monday, includes an in-depth analysis of the State’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law. The law is designed to end lawsuits that chill the right to speak on issues of public concern.

The opinion in City of Montebello v Vasquez stems from an allegedly tainted waste disposal contract for the City of Montebello. Amid allegations of votes purchased with campaign contributions, recall elections and a referral to the District Attorney, a private citizen sued the City to invalidate the contract under Government Code section 1090, asserting it was the product of bribery — campaign contributions offered and then delivered.


Madera Supervisor's Secret $100,000 Salary Raise Made Public

EDITORIAL - Open government meetings is the most fundamental way for the public to stay informed as to what their representatives are doing on their behalf. When a government agency tries to hide their votes behind the curtain of an illegal closed session agenda item and the public finds out the item did not meet the criteria of a private meeting, trust in our public officials is lost.

Case in point the July 12th meeting of the Madera County Board of Supervisors where a closed session item was listed on the agenda for the reviewing of salaries for the elected department heads (Auditor, Tax Collector, Assessor, Sheriff and District Attorney) as well as the five members of the Madera County Board of Supervisors. They were going to hide behind a closed session meeting in a back room and discuss how much more money they wanted to pay themselves.

MADERA BOS SECRET MEETINGS: County Electeds Not Employees

EDITORIAL - An item appeared on the Madera County Board of Supervisor's agenda that made a few heads turn this week. Apparently there is a new group of unrepresented employees who need to negotiate their salaries and benefits in closed session this year, the Board of Supervisors.

Item "2-f" was a request for a closed session discussion which had something to do with labor negotiations pursuant to the California Government Code Section 54957.6. The county labor management was going to be represented by Chief Administrative Officer Eric Fleming and his deputy from Human Relations, Adrienne Calip. The unrepresented employees were each of the board of supervisors, Assessor Gary Svanda, Auditor Todd Miller, Recorder/Clerk Rebecca Martinez, District Attorney David Linn, Sheriff Jay Varney and Treasurer Tracy Kennedy. Here after known as "The Electeds".

Who is Planet Fitness and Do I Want to Give Them Access to My Checking Account?

MADERA - There are many in this community excited that Planet Fitness is coming to town but none more than the officials at the city of Madera. The fitness chains expansion into the over fifty year old Bethard Square Shopping Center marks the first of what the city is hoping is a complete remodel of this once dilapidated center with mass vacancies and asbestos filled, leaking, moldy ceilings.

The former owner of the center let the property go over the years, but the property was sold last summer following an online auction. The Madera Unified School District Board of Trustees held two closed session meetings to discuss purchasing the property for new district offices but after an inspection tour it was clear to the district that there was just too much damage from neglect to the building to make any remodel feasible let alone economically sound.

Big Valley News Endorses Foley and Poythress

EDITORIAL - Today is election day and there are two important local races that will effect the future of the city of Madera and Madera County. Big Valley News is recommending a vote for  Cece Foley Gallegos for Madera City Council District 1 and Robert Poythress for Madera County Board of Supervisors District 3.

Madera City Council District 1

The problem with knowing someone your whole life in a small town is sometimes little things grown into a life time of resentment.  I know there are people that dislike every single thing I do including this endorsement, but I also know there are people (not just my wife and kids) that love me and know I have always had the best of intentions in everything I do.


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