Dear Open Vallejo,
The City has located records responsive to this request, which it is releasing today. This release of records constitutes the City’s response to your PRA request.
Please be advised the City has redacted the personal email addresses and personal phone numbers for the panelists in the responsive documents. In general, the Public Records Act protects the confidentiality of personal information such as email addresses and personal phone numbers that are included in various public documents. Some examples include voter registration records (Gov. Code § 6254.4, subd. (a)); utility customer records (Gov. Code § 6254.16); firearms license applications (Gov. Code § 6254, subd. (u)); records of the Department of Housing and Community Development (Gov. Code § 6254.1, subd. (a)); DMV records (Gov. Code § 6254.1, subd. (b)); records of State employees, school City employees and County Office of Education employees. (Gov Code § 6254.3); and public library patron records (Gov. Code § 6267). We believe that the Legislature’s reasons for including such exemptions in the law is clearly to protect an individual's privacy. Therefore, disclosure of personal information would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
In addition to the statutory protections cited above, case law supports the right to privacy regarding personal information. (Planned Parenthood Golden Gate v. Superior Court (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 347, 366-367 [strong privacy interest in avoiding disclosure of residential addresses and phone numbers]; Dept. of Defense v. FLRA (1994) 510 U.S. 487, 489, 500-501 [an individual's interest in controlling the dissemination of information regarding personal matters does not dissolve simply because that information may be available to the public in some form]; City of San Jose v. Superior Court (1999) 74 Cal. App. 4th 1008, 1023-1024 [citizens who complain to their local government have a significant privacy interest in their names, home addresses and home telephone numbers].)
For all of the above reasons, we believe that the public interest in protecting the confidentiality of the personal information redacted from the documents responsive to your request clearly outweighs any public interest served by disclosure. (Gov. Code § 6255.)
Additionally, we have redacted any information that would reveal the identities of the candidates for the Police Chief position. The City’s recruitment for the Police Chief position is ongoing. At this time, all of the candidates’ identities are confidential. Government Code section 6254(c) protects information in “…personnel, medical, or similar files…” including job application materials, because disclosing the identities and job histories of persons not selected by the City would be an unwarranted invasion of their privacy. In addition, the public interest served by protecting the personal privacy of job applicants, thus assuring a broad selection of qualified candidates for City positions and avoiding any potential liability for the City in disclosing documents that violate an individual’s personal privacy, clearly outweighs any public interest served by disclosing confidential information of unsuccessful candidates. (Gov. Code § 6255; California First Amendment Coalition v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 159; Wilson v. Superior Court (1996) 51 Cal.App.4th 1136.)
Because the City is not disclosing the personal information described above, the Public Records Act requires the City to provide a written response when a records request is denied, either in whole or in part. (Gov. Code § 6255, subd. (b).) The Public Records Act also requires that notification of denial of any request for records must include the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial. (Gov. Code § 6253, subd. (d).) With the name and title of the undersigned, this letter fulfills both of the aforementioned legal requirements.
As all non-exempt, responsive records have been disclosed, the City deems this request complete. If any further questions or concerns arise, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your cooperation.
for BEST BEST & KRIEGER LLP