Public Records Request

The California Public Records Act (California Government Code Section 6250 et. seq.) provides individuals with the right to inspect and obtain copies of public records maintained by government agencies.

Access to Public Records

The California Public Records Act broadly defines “public record” as “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency, regardless of the physical form and characteristics.” When a request for public records is made, the City must provide the requested record, or a written justification of why the record is not public.

To review or receive a copy of a public record, a request must first be made to the City Clerk’s Office or the City department that has the records of interest. The California Public Records Act provides that the City may charge a fee for copying documents; however the City may not charge any fees to cover the time and costs incurred in searching for, locating or collecting records to respond to your request. The current copying fee is $.35 per page.

Requesting Public Records

Both oral and written requests are accepted; however, it is recommended that a request be put in writing to ensure a clear record of the request. The City does not currently require a specific form that must be submitted to request records, not is there any specific language that must be used. A reasonable description of the desired records is best to expedite the processing of a request, along with being as specific as possible and providing timeline whenever possible to help narrow the search. A reason for reviewing the record is not required; however, City employees may ask questions related to your request if it helps to respond to the request.

Typically, the City must respond to a request to inspect or copy records within ten working days. In “unusual circumstances,” the City may extend its time to respond by an additional fourteen calendar days. The City must inform you in writing of the extension within the initial ten-day period.

    “Unusual circumstances” permitting the extension are limited to the need to:
  1. search for, and collect the requested records from facilities separate from the office processing the request;
  2. search for, collect and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records included in a single request;
  3. consult with another part of the department or with another department that has a substantial interest in the response to the request.