National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

CA: Judge jails judicial reform advocate who discussed divorce online

In a decision First Amendment experts have dubbed “outrageous,” a Contra Costa Superior Court judge jailed a San Ramon man for writing about his divorce on the internet — even though his writings were based on material publicly available in court files.

The judge, Bruce C. Mills, insisted in his decision that “matters that are put into court pleadings and brought up in oral argument before the court do not become public thereby” — a position that lawyers say fundamentally misunderstands the nature of court records.

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Corona, California: City launches open data site

Diana Narahara, Corona’s finance manager, hovered her cursor over an online map of the city Thursday afternoon.

She paused at a blue arrow indicating the Foothill Parkway extension — one of many Capital Improvement Projects underway across Corona — and a terse description of the project, costs, and a breakdown of funding sources appeared. A couple of clicks later, Narahara was looking at individual payments made to vendors for the work.  Continue…

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Bay Area News Group asks court to order Mt. Diablo school district to release public documents on suspected molester

From San Jose Mercury News: WALNUT CREEK — The Bay Area News Group is asking a judge to force the Mt. Diablo Unified School District to release internal records about a former Concord elementary teacher charged with sexually molesting 13 young male students.

Citing personnel and investigatory exemptions in the state’s public records law, the district has refused to produce documents pertaining to former Woodside Elementary teacher Joseph Martin, 45, who pleaded not guilty in July to 125 felony molestation counts.

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City denies Fairview public records request

From Daily Pilot: Costa Mesa officials have denied a public records request for a 20-year-old archaeological study about the Fairview Indian Site.

The Daily Pilot, which filed the request Sept. 23, had sought a copy of the 1993 report, conducted by the Keith Cos.

Visit Daily Pilot for more.

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Voice of OC asking California Supreme Court to hear records case

From Voice of OC: Voice of OC and open-government advocate Californians Aware have petitioned the state Supreme Court to overturn an Orange County gag order, arguing the county is trying “an end run” to hide what executives may have known about alleged sexual abuse of female workers.

Earlier this year, county officials, including the Board of Supervisors, took the unusual step of seeking the order in criminal court so they wouldn’t have to make information public in the case of former county Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante.

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Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown back down on attempt to weaken open records law

From Contra Costa Times:  SACRAMENTO — In a resounding victory for open government advocates and the California media, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature on Thursday backed away from plans to make the state’s open-records law essentially optional for cities and other local agencies.

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Cities, counties could opt out of rules for Calif. open records law under bill sent to Brown

From The Republic:  SACRAMENTO, California — Cities and counties could dramatically restrict the information they release to the public without explanation under a bill approved by the state Legislature and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown as part of the state budget package.

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Budget bill threatens public records access in California

From KPBS:  Last-minute language introduced into a trailer bill to California’s state budget would seriously threaten government transparency.

Peter Scheer, executive director of California’s First Amendment Coalition, said the amendment is meant to cut costs, but it would actually eliminate the public’s ability to get information with public records requests.

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