This is another case against a local Board of Supervisors who abdicated their statutory obligations during the declared and prolonged COVID-19 “emergencies.”
On February 21, 2023, our attorneys, on behalf of both CHD-CA/FNF and a local Alameda County citizens’ group, Alameda County Committee of Open Government (ACCOG), filed a Petition for Writ of Alternative and Traditional Mandate and an Application for Alternative Writ against the Alameda County Board of Supervisors (AC Board). The Petition alleges that, during the COVID emergency, the AC Board violated their statutory obligations under the emergency laws to review local conditions and to terminate the local emergencies as soon as conditions warranted and instead illegally delegated this statutory obligation to its health officer and other unnamed health officers outside of the County. The Petition further alleges that the AC Board also violated their obligations under the Ralph M. Brown Act to hold public and open meetings on the topic of the prolonged and ongoing local emergencies and to allow meaningful public participation on this topic of critical public concern.
Instead of conducting any local reviews as a Board and allowing public input on this issue, as is required by law, the Board delegated all of its authority to the County’s unelected health officer and unnamed officials in six neighboring jurisdictions.These unelected officials in turn agreed to act in lockstep regarding whether and when to terminate their declared local emergencies, without any input from the deeply affected public. Allowing unelected health officials to replace the Board’s own deliberative process or having unelected health officials privately deliberate with the Board without holding any public meetings are express violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act, also known as California’s Open Meeting Law (Government Code section 54950 et seq.) (the “Brown Act”). Under the Brown Act, “public commissions, boards, and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the people’s business” and “the people, in delegating authority, do not give the public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.” (Govt. Code section 54950).
Unsurprisingly, counsel for the Alameda Board is now attempting to dismiss this entire lawsuit by filing a demurrer. FNF attorneys will file their opposition to the demurrer on September 19, 2023, and the hearing on this will be held on October 3, 2023.
Aria Morgan is the Managing Editor of Free Now Foundation. Aria is a passionate and accomplished editor with a diverse background in writing for various industries, including music, film, health and yoga, and with published covers and feature credits in national magazines. Aria is dedicated to protecting civil rights and promoting health and medical freedom, and is thrilled to be a part of the Free Now Foundation team.