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New notification of public records required

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 10:00 pm

The public has greater access to public records now that the California Legislature has added requirements to the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state's open-meeting law.

Effective July 1, tax-supported agencies must specify on each meeting agenda the address where the public can review documents of the city, county, school district or special district.

That includes documents that comes to governing boards that receive them after the agenda was posted. The Brown Act requires that notices for regularly scheduled meetings be posted at least 72 hours in advance.

"My contention was that it was always required anyway," said Ann Cerney, a long-time Lodi activist.

Cerney noticed that the Lodi Public Library had more City Council documents than it's ever had before.

The cities of Lodi and Galt have designated the city clerk's office at City Hall to be the place for one-stop shopping when it comes to acquiring public documents.

However, San Joaquin County has not yet complied. Tuesday's Board of Supervisors agenda doesn't contain the location that houses public documents. County Counsel David Wooten said Tuesday that there was a miscommunication his office and the Clerk of the Board. The proper notation will be on next week's agenda, Wooten said.

Where public records can be found

City of Lodi: City clerk's office, 221 W. Pine St.

City of Galt: City clerk's office, 380 Civic Drive.

San Joaquin County: Clerk of the board's office, county courthouse, seventh floor, 222 E. Weber Ave., Stockton.

- News-Sentinel staff

The legislation mandating the extra notice comes from Senate Bill 343, authored by State Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, D-Montclair. The legislation is intended to address situations where local agencies receive correspondence from outside sources, often developers, after the agenda has been posted, said Jim Ewert, attorney for the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

The Brown Act requires that agendas be posted at least 72 hours before the meeting and that staff reports about each agenda item be available to the public at the same time as the governing board receives it. Exceptions include closed-session topics such as litigation and personnel.

Beginning July 1, correspondence received after the agenda has been posted but before the meeting, must be available to the public as well, according to the legislation. Any documents distributed to the governing board during the meeting must be available to the public at the same time.

The issue has been a bone of contention to residents within the North San Joaquin Conservation District, which doesn't have a Web site or office. Materials are at district Manager Ed Steffani's residence.

Steffani said Tuesday that the minutes of the last 10 years board meetings of the North San Joaquin district are now available at the Lodi Public Works Department.

Old materials are in cold storage, and more recent reports are at Steffani's house, he said.

But anyone who requests copies will be accommodated, Steffani said.

"We're not hiding anything," he said. "We don't have any money to have an office."

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.

9 comments:

  • posted at 1:12 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    Observer why do you even try? Papercut/T&C will not change.

     
  • posted at 9:29 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    How do I know.....I know Phil personally.

     
  • posted at 9:13 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    By the way, officer observer, just how would you know how taxpayer $ citizen got suspended? And just prove to me that I'm that same blogger. You sound like you're defending your own monster ego. Just what did the real taxpayer & citizen get suspended for? I don't think any of us will ever know since the blog apparently was too offensive for the editor to print so unless he told you or you are him how would you know officer observer?

     
  • posted at 8:42 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    So, observer, how did you know he was doing a lot of the city business before? And why wouldn't he be doing that same business now? I demand you tell me how you know! LMAO

     
  • posted at 8:39 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    observer, you're like a fart on a hot night, you never go away! Many are aware of the games that go on down town. Next you're going to tell us that Mr. Katzakian ddidn't know his own family was into real estate.

     
  • posted at 4:52 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    There's goes the papercutting taxpayer again. I can assure you that Katzakian's printing company does no business with the City any longer. Any business he was doing with the City prior to his election went away when he was elected. These are the type of statements that got you suspended the first time.

     
  • posted at 4:43 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    Printing all those extra copies and pamphlets keeps councilman Katzakian's printing business going overtime. Must be nice to get all those side jobs from city gob's referrals.

     
  • posted at 3:18 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    Based on Ann Cerney's comments it seems as though the City has been implementing this practice already. An believe me....Ann would know.

     
  • posted at 3:04 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2008.

    Posts:

    hey common etal, this is for the likes of you and your developer buddy and gob's that will no longer be able to sneak their own little addendas to council without being released to the public and not simply stored in Schwabauer and King's private vaults. No more peeking into those bids and allowing your local scab companies the awards after being allowed to lower theirs after seeing all the others and making that "adjustment".

     

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