FAC Urges Mendocino County to Adhere to First Amendment Protections in Establishing Media Program for PRA Requests

Read FAC’s August 29 Letter to Mendocino County Officials

We are urging Mendocino County officials to adhere to First Amendment protections in establishing its media program to offset new fees the county has imposed for copies of records requested under the California Public Records Act. The letter follows Mendocino County’s passage of an ordinance imposing high fees on public records requesters, including up to $150 per hour for staff time. In response to criticism over the new fee ordinance, the county passed a resolution to establish a program to cover some fees associated with requests made by certain media representatives. “Reserving the right to address those issues separately and without conceding the Ordinance is lawful,” FAC writes in its Aug. 29, 2022, letter, “we submit this letter to explain that any definition of ‘media organization’ the County might adopt must comport with strict First Amendment standards.” The California News Publishers Association and the Freedom of Information Committee of the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists joined FAC in the letter.

Read the letter.

Read related news coverage: The Mendocino Voice | Redheaded Blackbelt.