For the first time, the California Supreme Court is deliberating on whether cell phone dialogues including texts qualify as public records under theCalifornia Public Records Act – a vital tool for journalists and citizens aiming to see government communications. San Jose environmental activist Ted Smith sued the city of San Jose when officials declined to turn over texts in response to a PRA request, and a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled in his favor. The city appealed and won, and Smith appealed to the Supreme Court. Attorneys made arguments at the Supreme Court Dec. 7, including Karl Olson, representing the California Newspaper Publishers Association, to which the Weekly belongs. “There’s no question that if you send an email on cityofsanjose.org that it’s subject to disclosure,” Olson says. “The city’s trying to draw this bright line. We just think that’s wrong.” A decision comes by March 7.
WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?
A reader asks about a recent speed limit change from 35 to 45mph on a section of General Jim Moore Boulevard between Coe Avenue and Hilby Avenue in Seaside. Phone calls to the Transportation Authority for Monterey County and the City of Seaside Public Works reveal speed limit changes in the area typically arise from surveys. The average speed of cars that pass through the area is calculated, then the speed limit is adjusted to reflect that.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’m not trying to be ‘avant garde.’ I’m just trying to make the music which I like. ”
See story, “Brave New World”