Peter Scheer & Santa Rosa PD's Paul Gullixson

FAC joins with Santa Rosa Press Democrat to host Open Government candidates’ forum

FAC headed north this week to co-host an Open Government Candidates’ Forum with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The event provided a unique opportunity for members of the community, which a year earlier was rocked by the tragic shooting death of Andy Lopez, 13, by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy, to hear candidates for city council answer tough questions on government openness […]

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A&A: Taping of public charter school meetings curtailed by corporate owners

Q: I am  the parent of a child attending a public charter school. About a year ago when transparency appeared to be an issue, parents started to videotape school board meetings.  Currently two parents videotape the  board meetings using handheld cameras. No disturbance is made. Tapes are not edited and are posted on a Facebook page that is open […]

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A&A: Is there an open meeting law that covers the CA legislature?

Q: It seems like neither the Brown Act nor Bagley-Keene applies to the California legislature. What law governs the process through which the state legislature, including committees, considers laws and informs the public of opportunity to comment at hearings. And are there laws that prevent a committee for adding a last-minute amendment (without notice) to a bill that has […]

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A&A: Did Prop. 42 eliminate fees for public records?

Q: I’m trying to find out whether Prop 42 now requires local agencies to provide free access to public records or whether they are still allowed to charge for copies. Thank you, A: I do not read Prop. 42 as prohibiting public agencies from charging a reasonable fee to cover the direct cost of duplication […]

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A&A: Help! Being sued For Yelp! Review

Q: I used a company here in Illinois on two occasions and was left with a far less than satisfactory experience both times. As such, I took to yelp! to leave my feedback. After posting the honest review, my attorney was contacted and informed that I am being sued for defamation. My simple review sticks the […]

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Send in your nominations!

FAC Seeks Nominations for 2014 Free Speech & Open Government 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 could be a journalist, […]

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A&A: Can CA Alcoholic Beverage Control withhold documents?

Q: I have tried for over a year to get certain documents from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to no avail. I have a lot of backstory and email exchanges. I also have a lot of experience through activism and advocacy regarding their policies and am asking relatively clear questions and requesting data I […]

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A&A: Can I access a deceased relative’s employment records?

Q: I have read your FAQ section, but still cannot find an answer for my specific question, which is ”Why cant I have access to my deceased grandfather’s application data/birth information?” He is dead. Who is the information going to hurt? It is very frustrating trying to research historical genealogy information to pursue my roots […]

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A&A: Can someone be arrested for speaking too long at a public meeting?

Q: An activist was arrested at a city council meeting for exceeding the time limit. It’s very loosely enforced by the mayor who allows some people to speak longer and others not to. The decision to target the activist was made earlier by the city attorney who told the police officer the next time this particular […]

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A&A: Under CPRA, do I have a right to know who issued a citation?

Q: I recently received a copy of vehicular citations from a local police department. The names of the officers issuing the citations are not listed. Do I have a right under the CPRA to find out the name of the officer? A: Under California’s Public Records Act, “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of […]

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