Advocate: Newark school board violated Brown Act after vote

NEWARK — The school board is negotiating a new superintendent’s contract this week as a question arose over whether the board violated the state’s open meeting law.

On Friday, board members rejected Superintendent Dave Marken’s attempt to rescind his resignation, then refused to reveal how each member voted. That refusal violated state law, an open meetings expert said this week.

But the district’s attorney, Lou Lozano,¿ said his view “at the time” was that trustees only need to report votes on motions that pass.

However, the board’s attempted secrecy violated state law, said Terry Francke, founder of Californians Aware, a nonprofit organization dedicated to open government. The Brown Act says local government boards must report how each member voted on any action taken, Francke said.

“What (the board is) saying is it’s all in how you formulate the motion, and I don’t believe the Brown Act puts up with such exercises in semantics,” he said. “The public has a right to know who did what on that issue, no matter how the motion was framed.”

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Chris DeBenedetti


  1. I do not
    have time unfortunately to rant in detail but alas Newark has once again
    “stolen defeat from the jaws of victory.” Five years ago, our family was forced
    to move out of Newark for the sake of our children. I am sure that there were many that were quite
    happy (both within Newark and Fremont) about this turnout. I was not.

    I love
    Newark and the area. Both my wife and I were active in the community. We volunteered.

    But the
    issues were schools – while the quality of the teachers my son had at Lincoln
    were incredible, we had to look ahead to Jr. High and High School. The feedback from other parents was
    horrible. Along comes Superintendent Dave Marken who turns things around. To quote Chris’ article: “Under his leadership our district’s
    API scores have soared, eclipsing all other districts in Alameda County in the
    last round of state testing. He was voted the region’s Superintendent of the
    Year. For the first time in 12 years, we have not just one, but two schools
    reaching Distinguished School status. Many of our schools have reached the 800
    API test score threshold signifying academic excellence.”

    …and, from what I understand, he could not STAND the
    interference from “the Board.” Newark
    parents want the “Board” to step down and re-seat Marken.

    Here is yet another example of Newark official NOT
    listening to a majority of what the Newark citizenry wants (The Newark
    Way). They close their doors and listen
    to their own BS and vote to appease the “inner circle.” Oh get ready: I know that the council will
    state: “we have nothing to do with this.”
    But you do: it is the EXACT way of doing business in that “inner circle”
    for decades. Just follow the debacle
    that is Area 4 –and try to understand the insanity that is being fed to the
    public by Terrance Grindall and accepted by the city’s leaders. These folks are not qualified and need to be
    removed so they pursue a career that fits their skill set- like food service.

    It’s the Newark Way – “yesterday’s thinking tomorrow” and
    it is killing this great city.

  2. Agree Dan, left Newark for similar reasons. Decisions like these cause flight, a compromised future for children of the parents who attend Newark schools, and a significant depression in property value. 1200 sq ft ranchers that go for about 630-650K in Fremont are lucky to fetch 500K in Newark.

  3. Regarding the removal of Rodriquez and all of them: Way to
    go Newark and Mr. Lola.

    Take out the trash. Silence
    is compliance and if Rodriquez was near it – he knew about the crap that was
    happening and should go. Take heed Mrs. Grindall and Becker and those on the City
    Council: the Brown Act is alive and well.
    It was put in place to prevent some of the incompetency that has defined
    these last twenty years. Area 4 is an example
    of that last of this incompetency: it does not now nor ever made sense. Unless you are driven by developers

    You have a jewel in that town. Put down your Cheetos; shut off the TV and
    get involved.

    As my esteemed AMAM (Angry Middle-Aged Man), Marty correctly
    stated – for nothing else: it’ll put an extra $150K in each of your pockets!

  4. Regarding the “Mrs.” quote below – that was meant to be a plural of Mr. : i.e.: Messrs. (I did not mean to insult any females)

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