Accessing City Annuities and Investments
Q: I need help getting all the City’s investments (ie. Annuities) that the City has and who the beneficiary is. Is there a legal way that I can do this?
Also, we did a referendum and the City Clerk would not give us any information on the City process on the referendum. The City Clerk would not assist use on the process and we gave her our form and the notice; the City Clerk and acting city attorney would not comment on the form. We did post in a public place the court house and post office the notice of referendum and we did a newspaper article talking about the referendum. The City Clerk would not accept the referendum when we took them to her so we had to file them with Public Works. The city has hired an attorney to see if the referendum forms are legal.
A: Under the California Public Records Act (“PRA”), records in the possession of public entities are presumed to be public unless one of the Act’s enumerated exemptions to disclosure applies. See Cal Govt Code Section 6252. Thus, records pertaining to the City’s investments that are in the possession of the City are public records unless one the PRA’s exemptions applies. The exemptions to the Act are found at Government Code sections 6254 and 6255. The following link is an article explaining a settlement that CFAC reached with in 2004 with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS), which CALPERS agreed to make public what it pays annually to venture capital firms after CFAC filed suit under the PRA:
The PRA requires agencies to provide you with the documents requested, or notify you that your request has been denied, within 10 days. Gov’t Code § 6253. If the written request is denied, the agency is obligated to back its denial by citing an exemption in the PRA or other state or federal law allowing it to withhold the records you seek. Gov’t Code § 6255. A sample PRA request letter can be found on the CFAC web site at the following link:
http://www.cfac.org/templates/cpraletter.html. The CALPERS’ settlement referenced above might also be worth incorporating into your PRA request.
With regard to your inquiry on December 5th, the law pertaining to the referundum process is beyond the scope of what we can address through this service. You might consider speaking to an attorney regarding this matter. Below is a link to the website for the State Bar of California, where you can find information about attorney referrals:
I would note that any of the City’s records with respect the referendum process would be public records, and accessible through the same process outlined above for the City’s investment information.