The settlement was reached this month in
The act governs what information local governments must release to the public. It's important because it's how the public can learn how much a a city has spent on overtime, construction projects and other matters.
Smith filed the court papers against the city after he said he was not able to get the city emails he needed to represent Nickles and Kuppens, who were fighting an eminent domain case the city filed against Kuppens.
A city uses eminent domain to acquire private property for a public good from an unwilling seller. In this case, the city wanted land to widen a stretch of
That drew criticism from California Public Records Act advocates who said the act considers emails public records that are just as tangible as any other document. They also said while making copies of emails complies with the act, the practice is problematic because it lets city officials decide what is a public record.
City officials also have said they do not have the computer storage to keep emails for two years.
The stipulated judgment states:
-- During the budget hearings for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which starts
The stipulated judgment says nothing in it "shall in any way diminish the
"We wanted certainty that it will be implemented, but they (the city) weren't able to do that because of their budget realities," Smith said. "So what we got is this. What we got from them is a road map for them to implement what they should do."
Wood praised the professionalism of all of the attorneys in reaching an amicable conclusion. She said she appreciated that Smith and Olson came to understand the city's willingness to upgrade its computer storage but inability to do so because of a lack of funding.
"This resolution is a good one for the city," she wrote in an email, "because in addition to an end to the litigation, it allows the city to continue to move forward in the direction that staff would like to take it ? namely into the electronic 21st century, including the day where having the capacity to store city email indefinitely is the standard."
Bee staff writer
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