Published Articles

Every day local governments in California must manage numerous emerging legal issues, as well as carry on the business of operating their cities, counties, districts, and other agencies.  One of the ways our attorneys provide superior value is by authoring articles to provide context and insightful analysis on a wide range of critical issues impacting public agencies today.

Navigating CEQA guidelines and regulating greenhouse gas emissions, addressing ethics and transparency in government, discussing methods to reduce gang violence to make communities safer, and identifying how employers can ensure compliance with labor and employment laws to avoid penalties are a few examples of recently published articles written by our attorneys.
If you work for a newspaper or magazine and would like one of our attorneys to write an article for your periodical, please contact our marketing manager, Lindsey Staples, at 510.808.2000 or
Some of our most recent articles are presented below grouped by their practice area. Older articles are available in the Archives, which can be accessed via the links in the left column.

California Public Records Act

Impact of Public Records Initiative Uncertain

July 21, 2014, The Daily Journal, Nicholaus W. Norvell, Ruthann G. Ziegler

With 62 percent of voters supporting Proposition 42 last month, Californians added two new provisions to the state constitution. The purpose of Prop. 42, according to its proponents, was to ensure that all local public agencies comply with the California Public Records Act (Government Code Sections 6250 et seq.) and the Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code Sections 54960 et seq.) by enshrining these open government laws in the California Constitution. Although Californians had previously adopted a constitutional amendment for this purpose, the purpose of Prop.

Public Officials’ Private Emails not Public Records

April 7, 2014, The Daily Journal, Nicholaus W. Norvell, Ruthann G. Ziegler

The California Public Records Act declares that “access to information conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” Government Code Section 6250. Failure to comply with the CPRA carries a significant penalty: A successful plaintiff is entitled to mandatory award of its attorney fees against the public entity which withheld records which it should have released. Section 6259(d). Communication by electronic media raises multiple questions as to which emails, texts and tweets to and from public officials and employees are, or are not, public records subject to disclosure under the CPRA.

California Public Utilities Commission

Protecting our Power Grid

April 21, 2014, Daily Journal, Britt K. Strottman

On April 16, 2013, at 1 a.m., a stealth attack on a major Pacific Gas and Electric Company substation serving Silicon Valley began by breaking into an underground vault and cutting the AT&T fiber optic communication cables. Then, in what the former head of the Federal Energy Regulatory commission and the electric utility itself characterized as “a very well planned and highly executed (attack) by highly trained individuals,” 17 transformers and six circuit breakers were systematically hit by automatic weapons fire, damaged, and taken out of service.

Labor and Employment

Searching for Vested Rights, Case by Case

May 27, 2014, Daily Journal, Linda Ross

The anguish over unanticipated sky high costs of public employee pensions has given way to anguish over the sky high costs of retiree medical benefits. Since 2006, public employers have been required to report these liabilities, which now amount to billions in unfunded liabilities. Attempting to reduce these liabilities in order to preserve public services, employers have tried various legislative reforms.

Municipal and Special District Law

Drones And The Potential Redefinition Of Privacy

April 1, 2014, Law 360, Kristopher Kokotaylo

Law360, New York (April 01, 2014, 3:19 PM ET) -- The term “drones” — or UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles — may be most commonly associated with overseas military activity, but the use of such technology domestically, on a smaller physical scale, is set to explode. Unlike traditional model airplanes, UAVs are typically equipped with sophisticated cameras, and they can also be equipped with eavesdropping devices or even small arms.

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