Three of our five candidates for City Council this election cycle ran on platforms that featured transparency in local government as a clarion call, and all three were elected. At tonight’s first post-installation Council formal meeting, we can see the difference this new Council makes: after a fifteen-minute discussion, Council voted to increase email retention from only thirty days to two years. As if in time for Sunshine Week, this puts our city in the forefront of progressive (aka ‘good government’) cities with regard to public records access. What a difference a new Council makes!
How long should our city hold on to official emails? That was the question before City Council in early October when policymakers declined to revisit our city’s email retention policy. The discussion came at the request of councilmember John Mirisch. He supports transparency and expressed a concern that the Beverly Hills policy of deleting official emails after only 30 days works against the spirit of the California Public Records Act. Because city email communications are presumed not to be public documents and deleted after 30 days, the Beverly Hills policy stands out as among the region’s least transparency-friendly. Before City Council was this question: Need City Hall recognize email as an official form communication and thus worthy of retention as a public document? Continue reading
Government code section 6250-6270 (a.k.a. California Public Records Act) requires that public agencies make all records generated in the course of conducting public business available to request. We recently filed our own request to understand the bases for the Beverly Hills Traffic & Parking Commission’s recommendation of only three (of five) bike routes. We got to thinking more about how to make public records requests effective. Continue reading
Government code section 6250-6270 (a.k.a. California Public Records Act) requires that public agencies (broadly construed to include cities, counties, school districts, and boards, commissions and agencies) make available to the general public and other agencies all records generated in the course of conducting public business. But how well do public agencies implement the public records law? Continue reading