Dear City Clerk,
THIS IS AN IMMEDIATE DISCLOSURE REQUEST.
I am requesting access to records in possession or control of the City of Vallejo and its agents for the purposes of inspection and copying pursuant to the California Public Records Act, California Government Code § 6250 et seq. (“CPRA”), and Article I, § 3(b) of the California Constitution, the Vallejo Sunshine Ordinance, and all other applicable laws. The specific records I seek to inspect are listed below. As used herein, “Record” includes “Public Records” and “Writings” as those terms are defined at Government Code § 6252(e) & (g).
- Any correspondence by, with or between Mayor Bob Sampayan, City Councilmembers, City Manager Greg Nyhoff, Michelle Straub, Mike Malone or Angelic Bennett, with Otis Taylor between the dates July 1, 2020 and August 20, 2020.
- Any communication between the above individuals referencing Otis Taylor between the dates of July 1, 2020 and August 20, 2020. Include mentions in the body / content of emails or attachments as well as mentions using first names only, last names only, or indirect references such as, but not limited to, nicknames.
- Please include correspondence on any personal devices used to discuss City business.
The fundamental rule of the CPRA is a presumption of public access. “In other words, [A]ll public records are subject to disclosure unless the Legislature has expressly provided to the contrary.” Williams v. Superior Court, 5 Cal. 4th 337 (1993). This presumption finds further support in the California Constitution, as amended by Proposition 59 in 2004. “A statute, court rule, or other authority, including those in effect on the effective date of this subdivision, shall be broadly construed if it furthers the people's right of access, and narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.” Cal. Const. Art. 1 § 3(b)(2).
Pursuant to the Vallejo Sunshine Ordinance, please provide a response by close of business Monday, August 24th, 2020.
If you contend that any portion of the records requested is exempt from disclosure by express provisions of law, Government Code § 6253(a) requires segregation and redaction of that material in order that the remainder of the records may be released. If you contend that any express provision of law exists to exempt from disclosure all or a portion of the records I have requested, Government Code § 6253(c) requires that you notify me of the reasons for the determination not later than 10 days from your receipt of this request. Government Code §§ 6253(d) & 6255(b) require that any response to this request that includes a determination that the request is denied, in whole or in part, must be in writing and include the name and title of the person(s) responsible for the City’s response. In any event, please provide a signed notification citing the legal authorities on which you rely if you determine that any or all of the information is exempt and will not be disclosed.
Government Code § 6253(d) prohibits the use of the 10-day period, or any provisions of the CPRA or any other law, “to delay access for purposes of inspecting public records.”
Additionally, the Public Records Act requires only that the request “reasonably describes an identifiable record or records.” Govt. Code section 6153(b). That such a request may apply to “voluminous” records has only one consequence: it is one of the justifications an agency might use to enlarge its statutory time limit for responding to a request an extra 14 days, but it is no excuse to not process the request in the first instance. In such "unusual circumstances," the head of the agency, or his or her designee, must provide written notice to the person making the request "setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched," which shall not be later than 14 days beyond the original 10 day period. When the determination is dispatched and if the agency determines that the records are disclosable, it must notify the requester of when the records will be made available. Cal. Gov't Code § 6253(c).
Please note: Proposition 59, known as the Sunshine Amendment, states: “The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.” (Cal. Constitution, art. I, section 3(b)(1) and Savaglio v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 149 Cal. App. 4th 588, 597 (2007)).
If I can provide any clarification that will help expedite your attention to my request, please contact me, pursuant to Government Code § 6253.1. I ask that you notify me of any duplication costs exceeding $1 before you duplicate the records so that I may decide which records I want copied.
Thank you for your timely attention to this matter.