Quote of the Day - I don't worry about crime in the streets; it's the sidewalks I stay off of.
More and more houses have burglar alarms, and as a consequence, more and more false alarms result, and cause police to spend time answering those alarms. Te police are understandably frustrated when they respond to an alarm, only to find that the wind blew a door open that someone forgot to lock.
Police in the City of Fremont on the the Southeast side of San Francisco bay wanted to stop wasting time answering alarms, and spend more time catching real crooks (isn't that what we say when we get pulled over for a speeding ticket?). The Fremont police proposed to adopt a policy that required verification of the home invasion alarm from an independent third party before they would respond to an alarm.
Whether that's a good policy or not, the police allegedly got the City Manager to brief the Council Members on the policy and gain their support. Later, in a regular City Council meeting, the Council members voted to adopt this new policy.
Just one problem: the City Manager's meeting with the Council members was not public. Yes, the meeting where the policy was adopted was public, but one City resident, J. Dennis Wolfe, believed damage had already been done in the private meeting without public input. So he sued under California's Brown Act, which requires meetings with public officials to be open and public.
According to Wolfe's allegations, one Council member allegedly said that other Council members, after having been briefed on the new policy, had expressed their support for it in advance of the public meeting. The trial court initially granted the City's motion to dismiss Wolfe's Complaint. The appellate court in a case entitled Wolfe v. City of Fremont, however, disagreed, and reversed.
Wolfe now gets to try his case against the City and force a new meeting before the City Council to reconsider the police-proposed policy. The same vote may come again, but this time, the City will have to listen to Wolfe and other Fremont residents who think that it might be a good idea to respond to home invasion alarms, even without independent verification.
After all, if your house has been invaded, it's not too likely that the invaders are going to give you time to call the police and verify that your house has been invaded. I'm not a policeman, but it seems logical to me.