Asked & Answered

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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A&A: Are public records requests public records?

Q: Are public records requests that are submitted in writing themselves public records and subject to disclosure upon request? A: Under the Public Records Act, public records — which include “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of […]

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A&A: Can businesses ban Google Glass?

Q: Can businesses ban customers from wearing Google Glass while on their premises? So, not simply banning video recording, but the actual wearing of the device. A: I cannot think of any reason why a business could not prohibit its customers from wearing Google Glass on their premises, except that it probably could not do […]

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A&A: School Superintendent Goals: Public or Private?

Q: School Superintendent Goals: Public or Private? Under the Brown Act, does a school board have the obligation to disclose the goals they set for the district superintendent of schools? Similarly, do they have the obligation to disclose the evaluation criteria for the superintendent of schools? The evaluation criteria for teachers is in the public […]

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A&A: Is gender of foster care staff public information?

Q: We are investigating sexual abuse in a foster care shelter. We requested the gender for two staff members because they have ambiguous names. The county asserted that Section 6254(c), the personnel records exceptions applies. Staffing decisions at the facility are made based on gender (male staff members are not supposed to oversee female resident’s baths), which […]

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A&A: Redaction of investigative report

Q:  An outside attorney is employed to investigate a city council member. The client is the city council. May the attorney redact information and not provide the client with the entire file? The outside attorney heavily redacted a report and will not permit members of the city council to review the entire file. The city […]

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A&A: Can TSA deny company public information under FOIA?

Q:  I’ve got something that just smells really fishy and I’m thinking there’s something more to it. My company forecasts when places are busy, then shares the results with the public. One vertical where we’ve had good adoption has been in airports, where we forecast TSA wait times at the top 100 US airports. In fact, […]

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