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Author Archive | 1stamendmnt
FAC's FOI Award

Call for nominations 2015 FAC FOI Award

The First Amendment Coalition is soliciting nominees for the FAC Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year for performance of exemplary work in the arena of open government. Qualifications for the award are outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to “the people’s right to know” about government. The winner, or winners, could be a journalist, […]

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A&A: Does the Brown Act apply to city council appointed committees?

Q:  Does the Brown Act apply to city council appointed committees?  If it does, how is a city supposed to conduct the necessary extended deliberations critical to producing good decisions regarding (among other things) public services and expenditures of public funds? A: Whether the Brown Act’s meeting requirements apply to committees created by the city council […]

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A&A: Can a newspaper be sued for the content of a letter to the editor?

Q: I am a owner and publisher of a local community newspaper. We printed a letter to the editor that named a person in the community and mentioned their family in regards to legal matters and other issues they were dealing with. Now the person the letter referenced is suing my newspaper, claiming defamation of character. Not sure […]

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A&A Can the city legally refuse to fulfill my request unless I use their form?

Q: My city will not fulfill a request for documents made via email.  They insist that I first fill out their request form. I have made email requests to other government entities for years and other than delays I have received my documents. Can the city legally refuse to fulfill my email request? Is there state […]

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Play Video

A&A: City Council editing public meeting videos

Q:  I went to a Police Commission hearing to file a complaint with the police department.  I spoke from a prepared speech. No one did a thing. At the end of the meeting no one addressed my request for a proper complaint. I then asked the chief of police three times for a complaint. He had an officer escort me […]

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Watch Pulling Back the Blue Curtain

Watch Now! FAC & KPCC’s Pulling Back the Blue Curtain: When should we have access to police records?

You might want to put on welding goggles and spf 50 sunscreen because more than a few sparks fly when FAC’s Peter Scheer and KPCC’s Frank Stoltze ask the panel of law-enforcement-access experts: “How much access to police records is warranted; how much is too much?  KPCC’s crime and public safety correspondent Frank Stoltze moderated the lively, sometimes heated, discussion among […]

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Join the Twitter Chat with Peter Scheer & KPCC

When should we have access to police records? Recap Peter Scheer and KPCC’s Frank Stoltze TwitterChat recap

When should we have access to police records? FAC’ Exec. Dir. Peter Scheer and KPCC’s Frank Stoltze participated in an hour long #muckedup Twitter chat that raised eight questions regarding the public’s right to access law enforcement documents. Catch up with MuckRack’s Storify recap.

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A&A: How can I access records on decisions regarding promotions and tenure at UC?

Q: I'm working on a book that requires me to access  records regarding the denial of support for a prominent University of California professor by his department's promotion and tenure committee. I wish to obtain all documents related to this decision. Two questions: 1. Can I obtain them using FOIA? 2. Do I address the FOIA to [...]
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Accessig legal retainer documents

A&A: Can I access attorney’s retainer agreement and invoices via the Public Records Act?

Q: Our local fire district and its former chief, a "retired CalPERS annuitant," are involved in a judicial process contesting a pension amount owed due to "double dipping" The elected officials have held numerous closed sessions to discuss these legal matters. In an attempt to discover if the fire district is using taxpayer dollars to defend the [...]
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A&A: Can they stop me from gathering signatures in a city-owned building?

Q: Are signature gatherers allowed to solicit signatures for an initiative petition in a City-owned building that is used for public meetings? Do you have a question for our free the Legal Hotline? Ask it now! jQuery(function () { jQuery(".tooltip-55e809ae0be0d").bsf_tooltip(); }) A: You raise a very interesting question about the constitutional right to petition.  The [...]
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