Peter Scheer
On Access by Peter Scheer

Water district, in settlement with FAC, agrees to disclose water usage by corporations

A Southern California water district, as part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the First Amendment Coalition, has agreed to tell the public how much water each of its corporate customers is pumping from underground aquifers. The Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs had published this information in past years, but changed policy […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

If the federal FOIA shared the limitations of California’s public records law, large parts of American history would be blank.

Fortunately, the California Legislature didn’t have a hand in crafting the federal Freedom of Information Act. If it had, the American people would have been denied the primary source material for a large chunk of recent American history.Much of what we know about the major themes of US political history during the 35 years following […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

FAC’s letter to Gov Brown, urging veto of SB 1300

Here is FAC’s letter to the Governor, urging his veto of SB 1300:   Dear Governor Brown, On behalf of the First Amendment Coalition (FAC), I am writing to request your veto—or, alternatively, a qualified signing–of Senate Bill 1300, which requires oil companies to file reports on scheduled shutdowns, typically for maintenance, of their refinery […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Gov Brown, Veto SB 1300. Ostensibly about oil refineries, SB 1300 threatens public access rights.

If you were trying to sabotage California’s open records law, you couldn’t do much better than SB 1300, a bill that has been approved by the Legislature and is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, awaiting his signature. Tell him that if he cares at all about the Public Records Act and making government transparent […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Obama blasts Afghans for expelling reporter who refused to ID confidential sources. So why the continued pursuit, at home, of NYT reporter James Risen?

To its credit, the Obama administration was quick and forceful in its condemnation of the Afghan government’s expulsion of New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who had angered the Karzai government by reporting that high-level Afghan officials were considering bypassing electoral procedures to establish an interim government—in effect, to stage a coup. But the United […]

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FAC sues Palm Springs water agencies for data on water use by corporate customers

The First Amendment Coalition has filed a CPRA suit against two government water agencies in the Palm Springs area to compel them to make public water usage data, by customer name, for each of their biggest corporate customers. The agencies, Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency, have published this information in past […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

US releases to FAC new legal memo on 2010 killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. Here’s our analysis.

The Justice Department on Friday released to the First Amendment Coalition a newly declassified legal memo advising the CIA on the legality of a proposed “lethal operation” against Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who joined forces with Al-Qaida and was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2010. The memo is posted […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Feedback from recent column, “Snowden Go Home”

I recently wrote that Edward Snowden should return to the US and face trial for his revelations about NSA surveillance. (“Snowden Go Home”). The longer Snowden is a fugitive (particularly in Vladimir Putin’s Russia), the harder it is to characterize his conduct–obtaining and disclosing classified records by the gigabyte–as an act of conscience. In the […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Time to shed light on CalPERS’ private equity investments

The public has grown accustomed to “pay to play” scandals and other misconduct at CalPERS, the nation’s largest public employee pension plan with over $300 million in investments. Still, the former CEO’s guilty plea entered in federal court last week was shocking even by CalPERS’ standards. Frederico Buenrostro, CalPERS’ top official from 2002 to 2008, […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Snowden, go home

Edward Snowden, leaker extraordinaire of classified NSA documents, is said to be seeking an extension of his political asylum in Russia, where he has resided, beyond the reach of US jurisdiction and under legal protection granted by Vladimir Putin personally, for a little over one year. Snowden seems to be settling in for the long […]

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