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A&A: What rules must public meetings follow regarding agendas and notice?

Q:  I chair the Citizens’ Advisory Committee to the Water District Board. A member of the public attends and harasses the Board accusing them of not following precisely Robert’s Rules of Order at District noticed and agendized Board meetings. Is he correct? A:  As you probably know, in California the Brown Act governs meetings of “legislative […]

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A&A: Can the Deliberative Process Privilege be used to avoid answering a deposition?

Q:  Is there any new case law on deliberative process privilege? I read on the website that in 2008 the CA court of appeals ruled Prop. 59 didn’t eliminate the deliberative process privilege. So, is the fact that the right to know is a constitutional right a dead argument? Can the privilege be claimed to […]

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A&A: What portion of personnel files are exempt from CPRA disclosure?

Q: Exactly what portion of personnel files are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act? Specifically, I am trying to find out whether our child’s public school teacher — who was a probationary employee  resigned;  was terminated for cause, or  was “non-reelected” (no reason required per union contract). Our School District maintains that […]

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A&A: Denied info on police officer’s status after arrest on animal cruelty charge

Q: I asked the Police Department if a police officer was on administrative leave after being arrested for felony animal cruelty. They said he was still an employee, but wouldn’t say if he was on leave or not. Are they allowed to do that? A: It is unfortunate that the police department will not answer your […]

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A&A: Does the CPRA consider an email database public and disclosable?

Q:  As a Business Improvement District, we are an agency of our local gov’t and subject to PRAs. I have submitted countless reports, minutes/agendas, financials and even a record of one full year of emails. Now I have been asked to submit the email database I have developed for communicating with my business members. I am […]

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A&A: My job has been threatened if I divulge details of closed-door meetings

Q: The state university where I worked has held confidential meetings of a management committee for a program operated under an agreement with the county. There was never an agenda, minutes, notices of meetings or officers. For the past four years. They threatened to fire me if anything at these meetings was divulged, and now they have […]

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A&A: CPR request denied because it wasn’t submitted on letterhead

Q: My request request for mugshot demographics data was denied by the California Department of Corrections. I sent specific data parameters for this information along with my name address and telephone number and received a telephone call from someone in the state archives denying my request. I was told the request was denied because it was not submitted […]

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A&A: How do I protect rape victims in my reporting?

Q: I’ve recently been confronted with how terrible journalistic protocol is around telling the stories of rape and assault survivors. The nature of the crimes committed against them mean that they’re often uncorroborated or unwitnessed and the hostile environment of the internet means that victims who come forward at all are hounded. Is there a way […]

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A&A: How do I challenge the results of a public records act request?

Q:  I am working with a community organization that has filed public records requests with the School District asking for certain data pertaining to enrollment statistics for a subset of their total population. We have reason so believe that the information they have provided is inaccurate. One indicator, for example, is that they have provided […]

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A&A: Can ballot arguments be selected based on political content?

Q:  This case concerns two opposing ballot arguments filed regarding a county measure, both from bona fide organizations. The elections official decided to evaluate the “quality” of the two arguments, as a means of selecting one for publication. He did not consider flipping a coin or random drawing. He had no decision matrix or identified factors […]

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