A group that advocates for open records, Californians Aware, and its former president have been ordered to pay the legal fees of a school board that they sued for a Brown Act violation. The Sacramento Bee calls the case “Orwellian.” (Links: LAObserved, SacBee, CalAware.) LA Observed summed it up this way:
- What happened is the (Orange County Unified School District) board edited the critical comments of a board member out of a DVD sent to cable TV stations. CalAware sued to get the comments included in the DVD, and the school board turned around and filed an anti-SLAPP motion, claiming that McKee and CalAware were trying to stifle the district’s right to free speech. Judges agreed, the state Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal, and now the good guys are faced with a life-changing financial burden.
The Orange County school board has garnished the wages of former CalAware president Richard McKee, a Pasadena City College professor, and slapped a lien on his home, according to First Amendment attorney Terry Francke. He’s also paid $59,000 through a second trust deed on his home.