Transparency: California nonprofits fight ‘reverse Public Rcords Act’

Private government contractors and others are evading public scrutiny by adopting a gambit known as a “reverse Public Records Act.” New Flyer, a Canadian bus manufacturer, contracted with L.A. for 900 natural gas vehicles agreeing to create 250 jobs in the U.S.  When the nonprofit Jobs to Move America suspected that New Flyer was not creating the promised jobs and sought to obtain records about the deal, New Flyer sued L.A. Metro to block the release of the records. A judge ruled for the nonprofit arguing that the records in question had nothing to do with trade secrets and that even if they did, public interest in disclosure would outweigh any damage that might ensue. (Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2017, by David Dayen)

Thomas Peete, East Bay Times, June 30, 2017, writes that the First Amendment Coalition sued for prompt disclosure of documents that he and others sought concerning the salary expenses and job performance of a suspended Milipitas, California city manager. A judge blocked the release of the documents to allow Williams time to make a case that they should not be released.