September 2009

On August 19, 2009 the California Supreme Court granted review of the Fourth Appellate District's opinion in State Building & Construction Trades Council v. City of Chula Vista. In this case, the Court of Appeal determined on April 28, 2009 that on public works projects wholly financed by local funds, charter cities need not comply with California's Prevailing Wage Law. Specifically, Court concluded that the prevailing wage law does not address matters of statewide concern and therefore charter cities are not required to comply with the prevailing wage law on public works contracts that are financed solely from City revenues because such contracts are municipal affairs over which the City has paramount power under the California Constitution. Read more about the Appellate Court's opinion here.

The effect of the Supreme Court's grant of review is that the Appellate Court's published opinion can no longer be cited as precedential authority in California courts under California Rule of Court 8.1105(e)(1) . Additionally, the Supreme Court's action places charter cities in California in limbo with respect to whether they are required to comply with the Prevailing Wage Law on locally unded projects. Check back to the Public Blawg later for further information.

California Energy Commission Releases Guidelines on Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants for Small Cities and Counties

On September 16, the California Energy Commission (CEC) released long-awaited guidance on grant allocations for small cities and counties. Under federal law, the CEC is required to allocate 60% of its federal funding directly to small cities and counties. For California, this results in approximately $30 million for the 265 small cities and 44 small counties that are eligible under the program.

Court of Appeal Holds Developer Cannot Sue City for Violations of CEQA and Constitutional Law Where City Rejects Project Before Completing EIR

In a significant published CEQA and land use decision, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, rejected a developer’s challenge to the City of Los Angeles’ decision to reject the annexation and approval of a large development project without completing CEQA review.

The City had spent several years preparing an EIR under CEQA before the City made a policy decision to reject the project. The developer sued the City, alleging that the City was prohibited from making this policy determination and rejecting the project until it completed the EIR. The developer also alleged claims for violation of procedural and substantive due process and equal protection under the State and Federal Constitutions and sought $100 million in damages. The trial court sustained the City’s demurrer.

Read more