corruption

IMPORTANT! CALL GOV. BROWN TODAY 916 445-2841

BY DONNA WESTFALL

ALSO CREDIT TO DONNA FRYE FROM CALIFORNIANS AWARE

For any of you that have ever presented our Crescent City, City Hall or Del Norte County with a records request and were ignored, please read the following article.  I remember reading a public records request from Jessie Salisbury about 5 years ago that was never answered.  He wanted to know what chemicals were in the fluoride that was added to our drinking water.  Never answered.  By law, the government is supposed to respond within 10 days.

As far as I’m concerned, we need more lenient laws regarding access to public records.  If you re-read previous articles I’ve already posted just this year on all my records requests, you’ll notice a common theme.  Our City and County are reluctant to share information they possess.  The sad part about this is that I wasn’t treated any better while sitting on the City Council for four years.  It’s like pulling teeth to get information out as you’ll see in the next article regarding the WILLDAN REPORTS concerning sewer rate increases and the 11.8% expansion component on the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade.

Therefore, please call Gov. Brown’s office at  (916) 445-2841 and tell them the following:

“I urge Governor Brown to veto section 4 of Senate Bill 71 and Assembly Bill 76 (specifically section 6252.8 to the Goverment Code) to restore effectiveness to the Public Records Act.”

When I called, the line was busy the first two times.  Then I got a recorded message.  Press 1 to continue the call in English.  Press 6 to speak to a representative.  I was put on hold for only one minute.  Denette, Gov. Brown’s rep, said she would fax my request on to the Governor.  In total, it took 2 minutes.

It’s really that simple.  Please do your part.  Read the June 13th article in www.crescentcitytimes.com from Fluoride Action Network titled, “WE DID IT!”  Calling  SenatorFeinstein’s office made the difference.  So, pick up your phone and call.

CalAware’s President Urges You to Citizen Up

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6a00e54efd607c88330147e3444ed5970bThe California Public Records Act (CPRA) is based on the fundamental principle that the public has a right to public documents. Passed into law in 1968, it has been a part of our lives for so long that it’s easy to take it for granted—believing that it will always remain as it is.

But as recent state budget-related votes have shown, that’s not always true. And today we are back fighting to defend portions of the CPRA that many assumed would never go away, such as requiring local governments to cite a legal reason before turning down requests for records, requiring a 10 day response time, and providing assistance to the public in making effective records requests.

For some background, read Terry Francke’s June 14th article, Legislature Moves to Neuter the Public Records Act.

So why does this even matter? Well, it matters because information is power and what you don’t know can hurt you.

Take, for example, the ongoing battle between two public agencies—he San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California. The SDCWA is a wholesale supplier of water and MWD is its main supplier. MWD sets the rates charged for your drinking water and passes those rates on to SDCWA. Setting those rates is a complicated process, so the more information about how those rates were set, the better. And that’s where this battle gets even more interesting.

According to SDCWA, there have been lots of secret meetings by certain MWD member agency managers where they discussed such things as eliminating funding for SDCWA’s long range projects and conservation measures and setting rates the public pays for drinking water. And this was being done outside of any public hearings. However, in order to prove it, SDCWA needed evidence, and that’s where the Public Records Act is key. Over 18 months ago, SDCWA made a Public Records Act request for documents. Finally, after lots of stonewalling by some of MWD’s member agencies, a judge finally ordered that the records be produced. This information will help determine whether MWD met in secret to overcharge San Diego ratepayers.

But imagine the outcome if the Public Records Act requirement to produce documents within 10 days had been eliminated. It’s possible this matter would never have seen the light of day, and this won’t be an isolated example if the current budget language is allowed to stand.

And this is where we are today, facing a Public Records Act wipe-out unless Governor Brown vetoes that portion of the budget trailer bills and restores all the provisions currently in place.

Today, please call the Governor at (916) 445-2841 and ask the following:

“I urge Governor Brown to veto section 4 of Senate Bill 71 and Assembly Bill 76 (specifically section 6252.8 to the Goverment Code) to restore effectiveness to the Public Records Act.”

Donna Frye

President

Californians Aware

 

 

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