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We gave the city of San Diego until 4 p.m. today to produce the 692 e-mails being kept secret from us. After that, we threatened to file suit to compel their disclosure.
At 4:01 p.m., Andrew Jones, assistant city attorney, faxed a letter to Cory Briggs, the attorney representing us on this case.
Jones said we “may be entitled to more documents” and asked for a week to check.
Jones’ letter says:
I believe that a lawsuit will be unnecessary and wasteful. Your demand for all 692 e-mails is overbroad in that there are apparently e-mails that are clearly exempt under the Public Records Act (e.g. attorney client privileged communications). However, the Voice may be entitled to more documents.
Our office is willing to take action to ensure that all the documents that should be produced under the law are produced. If there are remaining disputes after we have done our work, we can attempt to narrow the issues.
If your goal is to receive the documents, I would urge that you delay this matter for a week. Conversely, if you choose to file an unnecessary lawsuit, I can’t stop you.
Our only goal has been to receive the documents that we’re entitled to under the law. We’ve resorted to legal channels solely because every other avenue we tried proved fruitless. And that includes protesting the secrecy in e-mails to Mayor Jerry Sanders; his spokesman, Darren Pudgil; Jones’ boss, Jan Goldsmith; and another of Goldsmith’s staff attorneys, Ray Palmucci.
We have never doubted that some of the e-mails could be exempt, but have challenged the assertion that the entire batch is protected.
In a letter just sent, Briggs responded to Jones by saying:
I find it very hard to believe that your office has not already reviewed the 692 e-mail records in question—especially since, as Mr. Davis reported yesterday, attorneys in your office have been analyzing the records (notably, against what Mr. Goldsmith himself acknowledges to be “dubious [legal] authority”). Nevertheless, my client has instructed me to give the City of San Diego one more week to produce the records.
He stated that if we are not provided the records by 4 p.m. on July 8, we will file a lawsuit to compel the records’ production.