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Public Records Requests
The California State legislature adopted the Public Records Act in 1975. It is designed to give the public access to information in possession of public agencies. The Act also provides that public records shall be open for inspection during regular office hours of the agency. The public can inspect any record except those exempted from disclosure under the Act.
All requests for public records should be directed to the appropriate department. If you are not sure which department to contact about your request, you may direct it to the City Clerk’s office. Requests for public records should be in writing and should be as specific as possible. We request that you use the City’s Public Records Request Form.
Your request must include:
• a statement that you are requesting information under the Public Records Act
• a clear and specific description of the information you are requesting including types of documents, dates, subjects, titles, author
• your contact information, including name, address, phone and email
Public Records requests may be used to obtain “agency records” which include a wide variety of documents and other materials (including print, photographic, and electronic formats) that were created or obtained by a city department and are, at the time the request is filed, in the department’s possession and control. The Public Records Act excludes certain categories of records from disclosure, including materials related to internal agency rules, personnel information, and communications that are protected by legal privileges and personal privacy.
The City must respond to the requesting party within ten days after receipt of a request. That response usually consists of an explanation of when the records will be available and the estimated cost of the records retrieval.
The first ten copies are free, after that the fee is twenty-five cents per page, unless the requested document has an established statutory fee. The cost of CDs and audio tapes will vary depending on the specific request.
The California Attorney General's office has prepared a booklet entitled Public Records Act Summary 2004 which provides an explanation and summary of the California Public Records Act for access to governmental information.
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