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March 27, 2005
Requests for public records irk mayor
Posted on Sun, Mar. 27, 2005
With the city council working last week to mop up yet one more part of the Cisco mess (making sure city officials actually do comply with state records law next time and don't hide or delete tattletale e-mails), Gonzales delivered a disdainful soliloquy Tuesday from the dais. It made clear as never before the mayor's contempt for forcing city workers to spend inordinate amounts of time looking through files, phone records and e-mail boxes to share documents with the public.
``I'm beginning to think the Public Records Act is a misnomer. It really needs to be changed to the media-plaintiff- attorney's-rejected-bidders-Record Act,'' Gonzales said, ``because when you look at the requests we're getting nowadays, and I'm not talking about someone walking into the City Clerk's Office and getting a copy of the agenda, that's common. I'm talking about stuff that requires huge amounts of work be done.''
Gonzales complained that with more records requests taking hours and hours to fill, the city in the near future may have to pay to create an entire new department just to deal with records requests.
Given such an expense, Gonzales said, ``I just wonder at what point does the Public Records Act get in the way of serving the public?''
The mayor's remarks left some with their mouths hanging open.
``I'd tell the mayor that the time spent complying with the Public Records Act is money well spent for his constituents,'' said Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition.
``I think taxpayers understand that sometimes there are things the government never wants us to know. Sometimes when they're discovered, bad deals get undone and taxpayers save a lot of money -- as they did with Cisco.''Posted by Coalition Webbies at March 27, 2005 07:07 AM