State law requires cities to hold on to public records for at least two years. But many cities and other local governments delete emails far sooner, relying on an argument that the law doesn’t clearly define the rules on emails.
Now, Assemblyman Todd Gloria is proposing a bill to change that, an attempt to ensure that taxpayer-funded records are not deleted, Sara Libby reports.
Last year, we found that many San Diego cities delete emails quicker than the two-year mark, and some – like Encinitas and Poway – retain them for as little as 30 days. That makes it hard if not impossible to find out why something happened the way it did. (San Diego is on the other end of the spectrum; the city hangs onto emails permanently.)
“Because public agencies conduct the people’s business, the people have a right-to-know and a right to access government information,” Gloria said in a statement. “Access to public records and communications is fundamental to upholding public trust and, in some cases, preserving public safety.”
Speaking of Sunshine Week …
On Wednesday, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists held their annual “Sunshine Week” awards ceremony. One good award, the Window Award, went to Andrea Tevlin, the city’s independent budget analyst, and her staff.
Tevlin jokingly thanked former Mayor Jerry Sanders whose administration barred city departments from talking to reporters, even to answer basic questions. So, reporters began turning to Tevlin’s office to get facts about the city, like how many street lights there are. She said it raised her office’s profile in its early years.
The group honored Voice for our yearlong effort to obtain teacher misconduct records.
There’s also a bad award, the Wall Award, that went to the city’s Public Utilities Department, which misled the public and withheld records when Voice and NBC San Diego began investigating why customers received high water bills. Francis Barraza, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s deputy chief of staff, sportingly showed up to the accept the dishonor. She noted recent shakeups have put new people in charge of the department and said the mayor promised to tear down the wall between the public and the department.
Thrive Can’t Survive
The state Board of Education declined to renew the charter for Thrive Public Schools. Charter schools must renew their charters every five years. The San Diego Unified School District declined to renew the charter and Thrive appealed to the state, just as it did five years ago when it was first launched.
Thrive had been growing rapidly and just this year opened a new facility in Linda Vista. The groundbreaking of that construction was celebrated by state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Councilman Scott Sherman (along with Buzz Woolley, Voice of San Diego’s chairman and a supporter of the project). But the school’s rapid growth and struggling test scores made it a target for advocates frustrated with charter schools. Atkins later decided to stay neutral on whether it should be renewed.
San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten and trustee Richard Barrera flew to Sacramento to make their case against renewal. On the other side, several parents, students and Nicole Tempel-Assisi, the founder of the school, attended.
In Other News
- Our latest San Diego Explained video tackles how much the city is spending on homelessness.
- In an op-ed, Sejal Parekh, a pediatrician who has volunteered at the border, urges government officials to provide basic medical care to migrant children both because this care can prevent further illness, a humanitarian reason, and because it can save money.
- The San Diego Foundation picked a new leader, Mark Stuart, the former chief development officer for San Diego Zoo Global. The San Diego Foundation is a community foundation — think of it as a kind of bank for charitable giving. The foundation was searching for a new leader after it dismissed its former CEO last summer. (Times of San Diego)
- Encinitas adopted a state-mandated plan to build more homes. Much of coastal California is opposed to taller, denser development, but opposition in Encinitas has reached unprecedented heights, testing the limits of local control while a statewide housing crisis unfolds. The plan still needs to be approved by the state and the city is in the middle of related litigation. (Union-Tribune)
- It’s rained more, so there are more potholes, so the city is promising to repair more potholes. (NBC San Diego)
- A college student from Escondido sued University of San Diego and other colleges for having unfair admissions practices following revelations of a nationwide admissions cheating scandal. The student, Kalea Woods, is now attending Stanford University. Another plaintiff who also attends Stanford has already dropped out of the lawsuit. (CBS 8 San Diego, CBS 5 San Francisco)
- The state is now “drought free” for the first time since 2011. Reminder: The term “drought” means different things, though. (Associated Press)
The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.