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LCCN to File Court Order Compelling Wendy Greuel to Turn Over Public Records

By Brian Hews

LCCN has retained La Verne Attorney Kelly Aviles to file a Petition for Writ of Mandate, which seeks a court order compelling Wendy Greuel to comply with her obligations under the California Public Records Act.

Los Cerritos Community Newspaper sent two requests January 22 and 23, 2013 seeking all emails and written correspondence between Greuel and Brian D’Arcy, head of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers #17, political consultant John Shallman, owner of Shallman Communications and chief political operative to Greuel’s Mayoral campaign, and Greuel for Mayor Campaign Manager Rose Kapolczynski. An additional request asked for all emails pertaining to Investigative Reporter Randy Economy.

The delay has now reached 58 days.

The case will be filed downtown, where it will be assigned to one of three superior court judges that is dedicated to hearing these types of cases. Attorney Aviles said, “Under the CPRA, these cases are entitled to priority, and states that the times for responsive pleadings and for hearing in these proceedings shall be set by the judge of the court with the object of securing a decision as to these matters at the earliest possible time.”

Aviles went on to say, “Based on what Mr. Hews has told me, Ms. Greuel’s withholding of these documents is not permitted  under the CPRA. This type of delay is absolutely impermissible.  Our public employee and officials are the holders of the public’s information.  Yet so often, as in this instance, they forget that retrieval of public records is their responsibility and not just some favor. Given the numerous scandals relating to public corruption that have occurred throughout our state, we feel strongly that secrecy has no place in our government.”

Under the CPRA, Greuel had 10 days to comply with the January requests or ask for an extension. On Feb 14th, 24 days later, her office sent an email to LCCN asking for more time, but did not provide an ample explanation as required by law, and that the request would not be done until March 14, nine days after the city primary election for mayor.

If Greuel did not adhere to the March 14 deadline, her office was required to send another request for extension via email and USPS to LCCN. Nothing has been submitted to LCCN as of Friday March 22.

“The public records act is very clear about its deadlines,” said Peter Scheer, Executive Director of the First Amendment Coalition. “This is particularly true when the request for records potentially relates to a candidates fitness for office or to the issues in a political campaign. It is extremely important that the deadlines in the law be strictly observed.”

“This is very strange behavior from someone who claims to run a tight ship and, as Mayor, claims she can “straighten out Los Angeles,” Hews said. “It is a very simple request, if you have a Google gmail account you can find any email within seconds by typing the recipients name in the search bar, why is she taking so long?”




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