October 6, 2014 Update

Image courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard's Facebook page.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard's Facebook page.

Over the past weeks there have been several updates you should know about:

 

  • "California Public Records Act: Compliance Audit" - We never received any response to our request for clarification regarding the City of Newport Beach's "unusual circumstances." Rather, we received notice that the City of Newport Beach does not "anticipate" a release of the requested CPRA log until "October 24, 2014" - approximately 46 days since our initial request. In addition to taking more than a month longer than competing agencies - the City of Irvine, Tustin, and Costa Mesa - the City of Newport Beach has even gone so far as to cite more than three distinct exemptions including, attorney-client privilege, attorney work-product privilege, personal information exemption, and even the deliberative process privilege. This is only to be added to the fact that City of Newport Beach has apparently misinterpreted our request as only seeking requests submitted to the City via the Internet, facsimile, or e-mail. Considering this delay, the City's lack of response to our request for clarification, and apparent misinterpretation of our request, we are in the process of drafting and sending a letter to clarify our request and remind the City of its obligations to ensure timely release of the requested records. (Source Documents)
  • What's worse than receiving a delayed response? No response. Unfortunately, that is exactly the response we received from the City of Santa Ana. Despite the passing of more than ten (10) days - the time limit prescribed by California Government Code Section 6253(c) - we have yet to receive any response whatsoever. Accordingly, we have sent a letter to let the City of Santa Ana know that we will not be ignored in our requests for public records. (Source Documents)
  • "Hyrdo Pod Trouble: The Cost of a Rescue" - Maybe you have heard the news, Reza Baluchi, a U.S. citizen and marathoner, was rescued approximately 70 miles east of St. Augustine, Florida in a "Hydro Pod" (seen above). According to his own account, Baluchi built the Hydro Pod and has been training for two years to literally run across water from Florida to Bermuda in attempt to raise funds for charity. After one day at sea, Baluchi was approached by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber subsequent to receiving reports from passing ships who advised Baluchi to abandon his trip and climb aboard. Despite the Coast Guard expressing concerns via radio (on board Baluchi had stocked a satellite phone, GPS, bottled water, and protein bars) and explaining the trouble Baluchi would experience in uneasy weather, gulf currents, and an emergency situation, Baluchi declined Coast Guard assistance. Several days later, on October 4th, 2014, however, Baluchi became disoriented and activated his Personal Locating Beacon (PLB). Subsequently one Coast Guard HC-130 airplane and MH-60 helicopter, along with the Coast Guard Cutter Webber and Maersk Montana, a vessel registered with the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER), initiated a rescue mission and extracted Baluchi from the Hyrdo-Bubble. Without making any conclusions regarding Baluchi's mindset, we must ponder how much such a rescue mission costs, and who will pay the bill? To this end, we are in the process of initiating a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information pertaining to the expenditures of such a mission. Meanwhile, enjoy the already public voice recording of the Coast Guard warning Baluchi to terminate his trip and video of the rescue. (Also, see the Source Article)