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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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UncategorizedPolitics on Tuesday: Private phones, public business

Politics on Tuesday: Private phones, public business

By Tim Redmond
There’s been a lot of fallout from the Chris Christie scandal, but one of the most interesting elements to me was the way so many of the documents involved were hidden from the public.

When Willie Brown was mayor of San Francisco, he made sure that nothing was ever in writing; his aides, I am told, didn’t even bring pens and notepads to meetings, lest something be subject to the Public Records Act. Now there’s a new twist; Christie’s aides did all of their dirty work through their private email accounts, so when journalists asked for public records, they were told none existed.

It’s an interesting challenge these days. A lot of city officials communicate (including with me) through text messages on what I assume are private cell phones. Are those subject to the Sunshine Ordinance and the California Public Records Act? Should they be? (more after the jump)


Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.
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  1. yea, they’re public records. I’ve been involved with at least two instances – up in the foothills and down on the central coast – where public officials were using private accounts for public business. In fact there was a lawsuit brought by the 1st amendment coalition against the city of auburn for this very fact. it was settled out but the outcome was disclosure of information and an agreement to issue all city council members an official city account for any and all city business.

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