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BWD: Paranoid or Just Protectionist?

Digger - February 06, 2010

The worthies at Borrego Water Distirct have apparently decided that they need even more protection from the prying eyes of suspicious rate-payers, and now require what they refer to as a "Freedom Of Information Act Request" before they will give anyone so much as the time of day - never mind information about the mysterious machinations of the District.

It is difficult to fathom what sort of activities a water district could legitimately be engaged in that would require such a high level of security; but there had better be some good reason for this serious impediment to the public's right to know. In addition to the unnecessary delays and inconvenience, this requirement will drive up the District's already excessive legal costs because District Counsel must review and approve all such requests for information.

In any case, if you want information about the BWD, even that which is already publicly available, you will likely have to make a formal request for it. Fortunately, the people's right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is enshrined in Article 1 of the California Constitution and codified in the California Public Records Act (CPRA) that mandates disclosure of government records to the public upon request unless there is a specific reason not to do so. Such "government records" include those of the Borrego Water District which are discloseable under the act.

A California Public Records Act request for information from the District need not be in writing; but it is probably best to submit a written CPRA request anyway just to keep them honest. You might even want to carry a copy with you in case you are ever at the BWD and want to know what time it is.

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