Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Public records include all City related electronic communications

San Jose court rulingAssociated Press, 3/20/13.  "San Jose ordered to disclose electronic messages."

"SAN JOSE, Calif.—San Jose officials' private text messages, emails and other electronic communications about city affairs must be made public, a judge has ruled in a potentially far-reaching decision with statewide implications.

And when you send, that document is public
Open-government advocates say Friday's ruling by Santa Clara County Judge James Kleinberg would close a loophole in the state's public records law. "It is, I believe, a correct interpretation and goes beyond certainly the practices of most cities and local governments," Peter Scheer, executive director of First Amendment Coalition, told the San Jose Mercury News. "It would bring a lot more of the most important communications within local governments within the jurisdiction of the Public Records."

... just between you and me
The League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties has said that compelling officials to disclose information from personal accounts would be impractical because the government does not control access and storage, the Mercury News reported. They also argue that such requests raise privacy concerns because messages regarding official business may be mixed with personal messages. City Attorney Rick Doyle said he has not discussed the case with the City Council, so he could not say whether the city would appeal it.

Friday's ruling was a victory for environmental activist Ted Smith, who sued San Jose four years ago over its refusal to disclose leaders' personal electronic communications in response to his request. Smith's suit accused the city of violating the California Public Records Act. His attorney, James McManis, said the city's refusal to turn over the information was ironic given San Jose's 2010 policy making such private electronic communications by council members and their staff subject to disclosure."

Related - Mercury News, John Woolfolk, 3/20/13, "Judge orders San Jose to disclose officials' messages on private devices."

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

hahahaha gee whiz can somebody ask Judge Kleinberg what he thinks about a city council that knowingly and with amazing forethought hides a public document behind attorney/client privilege. and then same council decides sorry folks there was no document. what's that about? "oops we forgot to hit print"? and now, safely after the election and the signing of another powderpuff contract, the re-write squad is spinning away on a work that is sure to be more fiction than fact.

our high-handed, sneaky public servants with their spin control, corruption of attorney/client privilege, and closed sessions are out of control. they need to be reminded who they work for.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that while Riptide is reporting a massive Brown Act violation by the council nary a peep from the Fix? Who can forget when the planning commission put their toe over the line all he huffing and puffing and threats of lawsuits by our town's self-appoint guardians of all things in the public interest - but now when their pet mayor holds an illegal closed session meeting not one word! Seems like hypocrisy and false indignation is alive and well and reeks.

Anonymous said...

So what has changed with this sneaky city council vs the old sneaky city councils.

Just switching chairs on the Titanic!

Kathy Meeh said...

"Isn't it interesting.." Anonymous 8:13 AM (and of course, you're Anonymous while calling others "hypocrites").

Well here's that link to that unofficial, opinion Riptide article by Lionel Emde. But guess you skipped over the Press Release link posted by Mark Stechbart just above this article. And of course there have been various comments along the way about police outsourcing (or not) and the delayed report.

My experience, usually those who call others "hypocrites" are the worst oblivious offender "hypocrites" themselves. And although these same "hypocrites" are willing to advance their personal judgmental opinion, they are often unwilling to contribute with a more accurate opinion or positive tone. So, FMV, IMHO, best to ditch the hollow "hypocrite" word, which reflects so badly on YOU.