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Asked & Answered

A&A is a searchable database of questions posed by users like you about their rights under open government laws and First Amendment safeguards that have been answered by FAC’s attorneys—all First Amendment and government access specialists at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP, an international law firm with offices in San Francisco.

A&A: Council Meetings On Zoom Have Increased Brown Act Violations During The Public Comment Period

Q: Our city council meetings have recently moved to Zoom sessions due to COVID. I’m curious about possible Brown Act violations due to the way the council has been conducting the meetings. The hot topic has been the current proposed city budget which they’ve had for the past three months and finally released to the community three weeks before the supposed deadline. Now that they’ve been using Zoom for the meetings, the public comments that were initially two minutes, have been cut to 45 seconds, and they regularly change the cut-off time for accepting the last comment. In addition to

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A&A: Notices of City’s Closed Session Real Estate Negotiations Provide Only Generic Information

Q: First Question: for Real Estate transactions going to my City Council in a closed session for “price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease” all have the same catch-all description “Conference with Real Property Negotiators:1. Property: APN 000-000-000 (the addresses vary)2. Agency Negotiators: xxx, yyy, zzz (the names vary)3. Under Negotiation: Price and terms of payments Is the generic expression “Conference with Real Property Negotiators” too general to be sufficient? Should it give some indication about why the Real Property negotiation is happening? For example “Conference with Real Property Negotiators – Solar Lease Option.” Second

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A&A: School District Stalling Over My Request For Gender Breakdowns On Student Performance

Q: I made a PRA request to the School District for gender breakdowns on student performance. After nine business days, I receive an email reply from a law firm seeking “clarification” on about fifty percent of the items. The clarifications requested are not necessary; they are stalling. And they do claim to have approximately half of the items but they did not provide such. The lawyer also claims that due to “reduced staff” they cannot provide me with a time estimate when the documents will be ready. A: When an agency receives a request for public records, it has ten days (and

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A&A: How Can LA County Superior Court’s Website Charge a Non-Refundable Fee to Search the Database?

Q:, the website for the LA County Superior Court, charges a fee of $4.75 to conduct a name search of criminal case on its website. It is a non-refundable fee charged even if no results are found. This doesn’t seem to be reasonably accessible as required under Cal. Gov. Code. 68150. Has this ever been challenged to your knowledge? I see California Court Rule 2.506 which allows this fee also requires them to justify the cost if asked. I can’t see any justification for how a single search to simply link a name to a case number can cost

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A&A: Is It Legal to Publish Personal Information Found in Court Documents?

Q: This is a question about publishing information found in documents from the Family Division of Superior Court regarding a divorce. Is it legal for us to mention the divorce in our article? Also, is it legal for us to publish the home address of a person in connection with our investigative reporting? We found that address in the court documents of a criminal trial. There is some other information published on the website of the Secretary of State containing the principal location of the corporation run by the subject of our investigation, as well as the home addresses of

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A&A: Can A School District Bar The Public From School Closure Meetings?

Q: I am a parent of an elementary school student who is attending a public school being fast-tracked to close in 25 days. An important piece of this decison-making process is a report that is being written by a superintendent’s advisory committee. This committee has closed meetings and the school board allows this. I have asked for the public to be able to view the meetings, to observe, but this has been denied. The superintendent’s advisory committee is not under the Brown Act. However, the public is not allowed to observe the meetings live or recorded. This is setting a

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