Highlighting this week’s city council meetings in Orange County are an Anaheim public workshop on implementing council districts, Costa Mesa’s proposed city charter, slashing Stanton’s police budget and the response to a scathing grand jury report in Laguna Hills.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Anaheim, arguing that the city’s at-large council member elections violate the California Voting Rights Act by underrepresenting Latino residents. Four of the five council members reside in Anaheim Hills, the city’s affluent eastern quarter.

Anaheim council members said they want to receive comment from a wide cross section of the city’s residents at the scheduled workshop before making a decision on creating council districts. Regardless of what might be said at the forum, the ACLU contends, representative government is a right that cannot be denied.

Costa Mesa is holding its second public hearing on changing the city’s governing status to a charter city, which would allow city leaders greater authority over local affairs. Costa Mesa’s City Council, in its drive to privatize much of city government, has pushed for a charter that would, among other things, remove limitations on outsourcing and prohibit using union dues for political activities.

The Stanton City Council is set to consider cutting $1.4 million from its Orange County Sheriff’s Department services budget. While major cuts to public safety are considered unthinkable in most cities, Stanton is on the brink of insolvency, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A grand jury report  found that two city councilmen misused their influence at a nonprofit organization to intimidate officials at Brandman University in an attempt to suppress academic freedom. The controversy stems from a report commissioned by Laguna Hills Councilwoman Barbara Kogerman that cited her city’s top executive as being the highest paid city manager in Orange County.

Laguna Hills City Councilman Allan Songstad Jr. and Tustin City Councilman Jerry Amante, the officials named in the grand jury report, allegedly met with Brandman officials and said that by scrutinizing city managers, the interns who worked on the city manager compensation report harmed their ability to find employment at city halls.

The councilmen said that Kogerman is the real unethical culprit because she stamped the names of a university professor and the interns on a report that she authored. They also say that the accusations are based on a massive exaggeration that the two councilmen have the influence block the interns’ employment all over the county.

Anaheim City Council, Tuesday, July 10, at 5 p.m. (Brookhurst Community Center)

Closed Session

  • Discussion of two lawsuits against the city, including A White and Yellow Cab v. Anaheim and Moreno et. al. v. Anaheim.

Anaheim Special City Council Meeting, Wednesday, July 11, at 5 p.m.

  • Public workshop on the California Voting Rights Act and City Council districts.

Irvine City Council, Tuesday, July 10, at 5 p.m.

  • Approving a general plan amendment and zone change for The Irvine Co. bid to construct 1,206 new residential units.
  • Converting a vacant building at the Irvine Business Complex into a Montessori preschool.
  • Councilman Jeffrey Lalloway’s proposal to continue supporting Irvine schools.

Newport Beach City Council, Tuesday, July 10, at 7 p.m.

Closed Session

  • Existing litigation involving two cases: Sandy Wedgeworth, et al v. Newport Beach, et al; and Paul Matheis, et al v. Newport Beach, et al.
  • Labor negotiations.

Costa Mesa City Council Special Meeting, Tuesday, July 10, at 7 p.m.

Laguna Hills City Council, Tuesday, July 10, at 7 p.m.

  • Forming a subcommittee to respond to a grand jury report’s conclusion that city officials abused their influence.
  • Managing the city’s coyote population.
  • Pay increases for contract city attorney firm Woodruff, Spradlin & Smart.
  • Fiscal year 2012-13 civic center budget.

Stanton City Council, Tuesday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m.

  • Slashing $1.4 million from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department services budget.

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