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Giving conditions to public records requests

Giving conditions to public records requests Q: I am a paid-call firefighter (Volunteer) at a Fire Protection District in the Bay Area. I am writing about and incident that happened to me. I telephoned the district’s secretary and asked if I could see the last six months of minutes from the Board of Directors meetings.  She told me that they were locked up at the station and she would get back to me. I was

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Response

Equal Justice Society Criticizes CFAC Suit against State Bar for records on affirmative action. Group Says Issue is Privacy, not Political Correctness. CFAC’s lawyer responds. CFAC’s executive director recently criticized the California State Bar for its refusal to cooperate with a UCLA professor who is seeking bar records for academic research on affirmative action in law school admissions. CFAC has filed suit, together with the UCLA Professor, Richard Sander, to force release of the data

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Associated Press uncovers failure of California lawmakers to report gifts

The Associated Press used the California Public Records Act to obtain documents that show that California legislators have received gifts that they failed to report, some from lobbyists and industries with much to gain from close ties to lawmakers. -DB The San Francisco Chronicle January 15, 2010 By Judy Lin SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California lawmaker and his wife were treated by the insurance industry to a two-night stay, with spa treatments, at an exclusive

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A&A: Does A Closed Session Employment Termination Decision Violate the Brown Act?

Q: After four years of service as the Library Director of the City’s Public Library, I found out yesterday that I am to be terminated from this position. The decision took place during a special meeting of the Library Board. I was at the meeting, but not invited to attend the closed session. The meeting was agendized as “Public Employee Evaluation—Library Director “ and made no mention of possible disciplinary action. I received no noice

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A&A: Decision Reached By County Supervisors Without A Public Meeting

Q:  A group of community members drafted a petition to place on Change.org, requesting an audit of a county department.  After receiving several thousand signatures, the results, broken out by supervisorial district, were sent to each county supervisor. One supervisor replied that these matters have been addressed. “Therefore, neither I nor my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors believe an independent audit is warranted.” This may be a stretch, but it appears that the matter was

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FAC news: Prop 42 victory, amicus briefs on the Wrap, NCAA, fee waivers & more

June has been a busy month for FAC, both legislatively and judicially. Most gratifying: California voters on June 4 approved, by a comfortable 61 percent margin, Prop 42, which amends the state constitution to fortify state open meetings and FOI laws. FAC supported and sponsored Prop 42 to end funding disputes between local governments and the state that have given local governments a legal excuse to opt out of open-government laws. Prop 42, by clarifying

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Redding: Interim manager vote questioned as open meeting violation

A Record Searchlight reporter says that the Mountain Gate Community Services District board of directors voted in closed session to hire a district manager without announcing the decision at that meeting, a clear violation of California’s Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. -db The Record Searchlight Opinion December 15, 2010 By Sean Longoria Less than a week after voting to hire the interim district manager permanently, the Mountain Gate Community Services District board of directors

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Complaints, and Public Record

Complaints, and Public Record Q: My city’s Code Enforcement department has many pages of complaints about the building in which I’m living. I am collecting documentation, and I would like a copy of the pages (I think there are 5) of complaints they’ve had about this building. I imagine that these are public record, as Code Enforcement is a public department, but I want to be sure. These complaints are public record, correct? Is there

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A&A: Can Employment Records & Dismissal Be Presented in City Council Open Session?

Q: Recently a local City Counsel meeting was to be held as an open session to hear non-adopt arguments with regard to a proposed Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) decision to fully reinstate employment of a firefighter. My husband never received notice of the open session (hearing). Also, on the agenda it listed his full name and that at this open session there would not be any public comment allowed regarding what was being heard. Is this

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Turlock school board finds way to defeat intent of state’s open government law

The editor of the Turlock Journal says the local school board did all the right things in listing the agenda in advance, making the meeting accessible to all and allowing ample time for public comment but still managed to trash the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, by deciding the crucial issues of building renovations and layoffs at the end of the session after most of the crowd left the meeting. -db Turlock Journal Opinion

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Free speech: Patriot Act prevents civil rights lawyer from helping Kurdish group abandon terrorism

A civil rights lawyer is challenging a provision in the Patriot Act over his First Amendment rights to engage a Kurdish group he wants to advise about ways to resolve issues peacefully. The provision forbids him from engaing the group including offering “expert advice or assistance.” -db The New York Times February 11, 2010 By Adam Liptak WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ralph D. Fertig, a 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, says he would like to help a

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A&A: On access to government officials’ appointment calendars

QUESTION: I requested calendar appointments of the Superintendent  for my district. He refused saying they were exempt from the Public Records Act pursuant to Govt. Code 6254(a) and (k) and 6255, as they relate to the “deliberative process.” However, I understand that the agency must clearly explain not merely state why the public interest does not favor disclosure. (Times Mirror v. Superior CT.) I responded with codes 6253(a) They’ve also postponed other records past the

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A&A:Board Conducting Public’s Business Via Private Emails

Q: It became apparent yesterday morning that the Board of Directors of our Community Services District is conducting a significant portion of its business via email.  The emails would have originated from at least six personal private computers. Such email has not been made part of the public record. Under CPRA I have requested copies of all emails between Board members for the past two years. I do not expect to receive them, for a

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A&A: State Public Health Department Withholding Public Inspection Records

Q: I called and reported a radiation exam concern last year to my state’s public health department. After months of trying to obtain the results of the inspection report, I was told I had to submit my request online which I then did. The report lacked specificity and appeared to be lacking all of the information. I then requested public records for a period of 5 years on the machine used. I received a statement stating

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Conservative talk show host banned from Great Britain

Civil libertarians have accused the British government of censorship for their travel restrictions on talk show host Michael Savage. Since 2005 the British have excluded numbers of people for unacceptable behavior including spreading hatred. Savage had called the Quran “a book of hate.” -DB San Francisco Chronicle May 6, 2009 By Joe Garofoli and Carla Marinucci SAN FRANCISCO – Conservative talk show host Michael Savage’s commentary has offended groups from parents of autistic kids to

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Los Angeles County supervisors seek doctor peer review records

L.A. County supervisors are seeking doctors’ peer review documents to monitor patient safety and improve their ability to settle malpractice claims. -db Los Angeles Times August 28, 2010 By Molly Hennessy-Fiske In a fight that could have wide-ranging implications, Los Angeles County supervisors are pushing to see confidential medical records used by county doctors to evaluate their peers to determine whether they have met accepted standards of care, saying they need the information to ensure patient

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A&A: Does short notice of public hearing invalidate contract?

Q: DMV code requires a Public Hearing before entering into a Red-Light Camera Contract. I contend the new contract our city council has approved is invalid because the requirement for a public hearing was not met. The city manager proposed a new contract when the current contract expires June 30. The Public Hearing was noticed on May 18 in a local newspaper for a June 1 meeting, at which time the city council  was to

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A&A: Dental Board of California & the CPRA

Q: I’m a reporter working on a project about complications linked to sedation dentistry. The Dental Board of California refused my CPRA request for reports of dental complications pursuant to the Business and Professions Code 1680(z)(1-3). The Board maintains that these records are exempt under Government Code Section 6254(f). The Board contends that these reports are exempt because they are complaints or investigations compiled for licensing purposes. I believe the Board is wrong for two reasons:

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Federal appeals court orders release of court documents in terrorism case

A federal appeals court upheld the public’s right to access court documents in a case in which the prosecutors allege that a charitable organization provided support to Hamas, listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. -db The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press October 22, 2010 By Daniel Skallman A federal appeals court Wednesday ordered the disclosure of a Texas district court ruling that had been filed under seal, highlighting in its

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