Late February 2015, I was contacted by Dave Maass, Investigative Researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who was busy preparing to celebrate Sunshine Week with a wonderful series of articles highlighting the struggles that both professionals and laypersons face week seeking to exercise their right to government transparency. If you didn't already know, Sunshine Week is, as described so vividly by Dave himself, the “time of year when journalists, citizen watchdogs, community activists, data wizards, political gadflies, public-records litigators, and open-gov fanatics come together to champion the cause of transparency and commiserate over the obstacles we face everyday while chasing sunlight.”
We hope all had an enjoyable holiday and new years. Here are a few updates to get your week going:
- As we wrote about previously, a Kohl's department store in the city of Irvine, California refused to redeem a "merchandise credit" gift card despite the relatively clear provision of Cal. Civ. Code § 1749.5(b)(2) that provides "any gift certificate with a cash value of less than ten dollars ($10) is redeemable in cash for its cash value." After probing the legally unsound nature of the store policy purported by the manager of this Kohl's department store, Kohl's director of corporate law provided clarification, indicating the store manager was improperly trained. After sending a follow-up letter to Kohl's, a full refund in form of a check was received. We appreciate the courtesy and cooperation afforded to us by Kohl's director of corporate law and anticipate they will continue to educate their staff regarding Cal. Civ. Code § 1749.5. (Source Documents)
- Some may have taken notice to our launch of a so-called "Communications Campaign" which enables "individuals to submit recommendations for future public records requests relating to information, the release of which would be conducive to the law abiding scanner enthusiast." In furtherance of this campaign, we have enable both a request/recommendation form and request log to allow individuals to submit and track requests for public records from various law enforcement or public safety agencies. As part of our campaign, we have already obtained and released the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department's Law Enforcement Communications Handbook which can be accessed directly here or through our original article here and follow-up article here. Currently being processed is a request for five distinct sets of information sent to the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department on December 29, 2014. Thus far, we have received correspondence from Phebe W. Chu, Deputy County Counsel for the County of San Bernardino, outlining the agencies "intention to comply with" our request and requesting an additional ten (10) days to respond pursuant to Cal. Gov. Code § 6253(c). With this in mind, our office expect a responsive determination by January 18th, 2015, at which point we will determine whether further processing, review, reconsideration, or litigation is necessary. (Source Documents)
- Our October 6, 2014 Update described the curious story of Rez Baluchi's Hydro Pod and purportedly self-propelled trip from Florida to Bermuda. While we planned a detailed article to accompany our release of records requested from the U.S. Coast Guard pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, we have been unable to do so. Unfortunately, the long holidays and related family emergencies have rendered this vision untenable. Accordingly, we are releasing all records obtained from our FOIA request regarding Rez Baluchi. This information may be accessed here or in the source documents folder. (Source Documents)
As always, check back often for updates! If you have any ideas or suggestions feel free to leave them below or contact us directly.
Most Californians are unaware that gift cards having "a cash value of less than ten dollars ($10) is redeemable in cash for its cash value." Cal. Civ. Code § 1749.5(b)(2)...
Due to significant public interest in certain public safety communication networks, this page has been established to let individuals monitor ongoing our ongoing and pending requests.
Today, on Christmas Eve, we received our holiday gift...
Madison & Associates supports, and encourages, the lawful exercise First Amendment rights in various mediums. One such medium, although invisible to the naked eye, provides for unparalleled accountability and transparency: radio frequency scanners.
Here's another content rich update for the week of October 6, 2014 featuring Rez Baluchi's Hydro Pod and updates from our CPRA Compliance Project.
Here's an update for the week of September 19, 2014.
After launching our website, there has been a definite learning curve for which we needed to compensate. Luckily our work has not been paused. In fact, we have several new updates and investigations to announce...