The California Public Records Act turns 50 this year, and is a landmark law requiring inspection or disclosure of governmental records to the public upon request, unless legal exemptions can be claimed by the city’s attorneys.
Concerned citizens, organizations and other entities frequently make requests of the city, as is common in public agencies across the state.
How is Carson responding to these requests? By law the city must respond within 10 days to any request for disclosable public records. Carson officials often ask for additional time to research or review materials requested. Carson Accountability and Transparency has made numerous requests of the city in recent months with mixed results.
As reported in The Observer last month, CAT was able to obtain materials regarding violations of the protocols surrounding the city’s fraud hotline. These documents were obtained only after a similar request made by a Carson resident was denied and CAT utilized its legal counsel to follow up.
CAT also pursued results of the city’s polling surrounding the development of the city charter this year. The City of Carson disclosed numerous communications, but not the full results of the poll as requested. The city claimed these results were protected as part of “attorney client privilege” and remained in draft form, though segments of the poll were presented in a council meeting in August.
The city has also denied resident requests for the results of a demographic report of the city associated with the city’s potential move to by-district elections. CAT has also followed up with a request for this report. That request is still pending with the city.