PUBLIC INFORMATION — "Most criticism of the Freedom of Information Act centers on agency
refusals to disclose requested records in a timely manner, notes federal secrecy-watcher Steven Aftergood. "But a
federal appeals court said this week that a Defense Department agency
was 'arbitrary and capricious' in its decision to release documents to a
Freedom of Information Act requester." The embarrassed parties: defense contractors Sikorsky Aircraft and Pratt & Whitney.
OPEN GOVERNMENT — "After a couple of weeks of negotiating with the city bureaucracy the
Berkeley Sunshine Ordinance has cleared all of the hurdles for
circulating an initiative," reports ordinance organizer Dean Metzger in the Berkeley Daily Planet. "Due to the lack of support from our city
elected officials and city staff, the committee felt that the only way
to get real sunshine (open government) in Berkeley was to circulate the
ordinance as an initiative and place the ordinance on the November 2010
OPEN GOVERNMENT — The Senate Rules Committee has approved a request by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) to establish a Select Committee on Californias Public Records and Open Meeting Laws, of which Yee will chair. Select committees study complex issues rather than considering particular bills, but their work may lead to legislation.
FREE SPEECH — The California Supreme Court today upheld a Los Angeles International
Airport ordinance barring Hare Krishnas from soliciting donations within
airport terminals, reports Will Buchanan for the Christian Science Monitor. They can speak about their beliefs inside, but not seek money.
PUBLIC INFORMATION — Mike McKee, reporting in the San Francisco Recorder, notes that UCLA law professor Richard
Sander's long-proposed study of law school affirmative action policies'
effect, if any, on California State Bar examinations' pass rates met another obstacle recently. In a tentative opinion, San Francisco Superior
Court Judge Curtis Karnow concluded that the documents Sander seekshistorical data on past bar examsdon't fall within the
scope of documents traditionally subject to public disclosure.
FREE SPEECH – Patterson City Attorney George Logan has filed a libel lawsuit against an anonymous group of
locals behind the Patterson IrriTator website, who refer to themselves
collectively and individually as Fred Ross, reports Kendall Wright in the Patterson Irrigator.
OPEN GOVERNMENT — The San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance Task Force will hold special meetings on Tuesdays, March 30 and April 6, to try to put into final form and language a series of amendments aimed at improving the Sunshine Ordinance. Both meetings will take place in City Hall Room 406, starting at 5 p.m. The latest version of the amendments is available on the Task Force's web site, http://sfgov.org/sunshine ; click on "Proposed Sunshine Ordinance Amendments March 2010" under "Announcements". Written comments may be sent c/o Task Force Clerk Chris Rustom — by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal mail to City Hall Room 244, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco 94102.