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San Diego Planning Groups Seek Legal Protection



San Diego city council will vote today on whether  the city should defend citizens who volunteer for local planning groups, if they get sued. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.


San Diego city council members know the city will pay their legal bills if they get sued, in other words, they are indemnified. Volunteer members of city planning groups want the same protection.


A suit against the La Jolla Planning group in 2006 left citizen volunteers feeling vulnerable to potentially devastating legal bills to defend themselves.  


Leo Wilson, chair of the city’s Communities Planning Committee, says citizens who volunteer for planning duties do much of the work of land use planning for the council.


Wilson: Plus, they give the voice of the local community on projects, and if you’re asking them to do this type of work, give this many hours, you want to do something for them, to assure them that they’re not going to get sued.


The proposed policy would pay  to defend planning group members sued for decisions or actions that are part of their official duties.


If they ARE found guilty of fraud, corruption or a conflict of interest, they would be required to reimburse the city.


Alison St John, KPBS news.


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