The SF Weekly’s Joe Eskenazi reports that lobbyists funded by the city of San Francisco pushed for a state law that carves out an exception in the California Public Records Act.
Assembly Bill 101 of 2007, sponsored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (right) and the city of SF, allows the city to keep confidential the pictures taken by forward-facing cameras on Muni vehicles that photographed those who parked in bus zones and such.
Normally such pictures would be public record. But they’re not because of the efforts of Ma and SF lobbyists.
“Government employees double-park or block bus stops all the time — but if outside parties can’t see the footage, who’s to know?” Eskenazi writes.
As Eskenazi put it, “California Public Records Act be damned.”
Among those alarmed is Terry Francke, general counsel for the open-government group CalAware.
“I think this is a very big deal,” Francke told the SF Weekly.
But there is hope. The law that Fiona Ma and SF officials pushed through the Legislature contradicts the city’s Sunshine Ordinance, which states:
- “Funds of the City and County of San Francisco … shall not be used to support any lobbying efforts to restrict public access to records, information, or meetings.”
BTW, Eskenazi reports that the ACLU said the Muni videos should be confidential.