Council Mulls Notification Question
What does it mean to post public notices of civic actions? And what news media qualify as outlets for publication of such notices?
The City Council discussed these issues at Monday night’s meeting and voted to begin the process of vetting local newspapers in order to pick an official adjudicated “newspaper of general circulation” to post notices of City meetings and other City matters.
Three locations were also suggested for the posting of notices. As per city staff suggestion, they were: the City Clerk’s office, the City Hall bulletin board, and the Veteran’s Auditorium. An optional posting site would be Culver West Park.
Section 621 of the City Charter states that the City Council shall appoint one newspaper, circulated in the city, for the posting of notices. Staff had reviewed the record to find out when the City Council last made a designation and discovered the last reference to an adjudicated newspaper was made in the 1970s.
The Assistant City Manager/City Clerk, Martin Cole, recommended the designation be updated to ensure the designation is current and the prices charged for the publishing of notices remains competitive and in compliance with the requirements.
In public comment Robert Zirgulis raised the question of whether, in this cyber age, online publications can be considered for designation.
“Unfortunately, government code does not yet allow cities to use online newspapers,” said Cole.
The law, Cole noted, was drafted in the 1940s, “when we had Superman and Lois Lane and newspapers were a big thing. Now we’re seeing newspapers fold. The world has changed but the law hasn’t.”
Council members suggested the addition of Culver West Park as a posting site because while the law requires three public sites for posting, additional sites are an option.
Mehaul O’ Leary also suggested that the city’s web site should feature information regarding the adjudicated newspaper.
As for the criteria by which the newspaper be selected, the Council asked for clarification on the meaning of “adjudicated.”
Usually an “adjudicated” newspaper refers to a paper with a large circulation and “high journalistic standards.” The definition has also embraced the requirement that a newspaper have “paid subscribers.”
In actuality, the main definition of an adjudicated newspaper is a newspaper that has been designated as such by a judge.
While one Council member opined that the only paper that seemed to qualify in regard to large circulation was the Los Angeles Times, Cole noted that the paper had to serve Culver City.
Publications serving Culver City for news include the Culver City Observer, the Culver City News, The Wave, and several online publications.
Currently the Culver City News is the City Council designated newspaper of general circulation.
Without mentioning any names, the Council delayed a vote on the choice of a designated adjudicated newspaper until the City has received competitive bids from the print weeklies, including a confirmation of their continued status as “newspapers of general circulation” in Culver City.
The quotations would be presented to the City Council for consideration and award of a contract for publication services. Consistent with Section 621 of the City Charter, staff would also confirm that the rates quoted do not exceed the rates charged to the general public for similar publications.
In other actions, the Council voted 5-0 for approval of an ordinance to amend the Municipal Code relating to exemptions to the classified service.
The amendment states that department heads, assistant and deputy department heads, and management staff who assist department heads will be exempt from classified status.
The Culver City Transportation Department also announced, in a presentation to the Council, that the Culver City Municipal Fleet has been designated Number One out of 100 Best Fleets in North America. It has also been designated the Number One Green Fleet.
The Council agreed there should be decals on all the Culver City buses announcing the designation of Culver City Bus Fleet as Number One.