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City records publicity prop on June ballot

Open public information publicity proposition added to June ballot.
Open public information publicity proposition added to June ballot.
Adam Benjamin

San Diegans will have the opportunity to learn the information the city keeps on record, without the city keeping information out of public reach, if voters, at the June election, pass a publicity of records proposition that amends the City Charter.

All types of information, incluing information in e-mails and faxes, will be available for disclosure to the public, unless, in an information request case, the city proves, using factual evidence, the information must be protected to prevent a disclosure that is useless for making the citizen able and fit to participate in the democratic process.

Not only does the city have to prove it must keep information secret, its restrictions written in city laws and policies will go under city review each year. Restrictions that limit open access will be repealed. The restrictions not proven limiting will be reaffirmed.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, in early February, before the council approved the ballot measure Tuesday, told the council he is concerned about excessive litigation over restrictions. Propositon proponent Californians Aware replied, the risk of litigation is not greater than the current risk San Diego experiences using the "balance of interests" exemption in the California Public Records Act.

The people's right of access to public information the amended charter will protect will give San Diegans, and other citizens, access to city employee records and city contractor records.

This is a Center Line Policy Alert.