Tag Archives: Records Retention

Business Improvement Districts And A Bunch Of Backwater Small Towns Oppose Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s AB1184 — Which Will Require Local Agencies To Retain Emails For Two Years — Read Their Letters Of Opposition And See What Shameless Liars They Are — Especially Suzanne Holley Of The Downtown Center BID — Who Argues With A Straight Face That Allowing Them To Delete Emails Will Increase Public Access To Information Because They Will Only Save The Important Stuff — By The Way Though I Have Proof That Holley’s BID Has Intentionally Deleted Very Important Emails In The Past — Icky Sticky BIDdie Boy Andrew Thomas Of Westwood Village BID Also Opposes — And He’s Also An Email Deleting Liar

Assemblymember Todd Gloria introduced AB 1184, which would clarify an ambiguity in state law by requiring public agencies to retain emails for a minimum of two years. You can read my earlier article on it here. Well, on Wednesday the bill was amended1 and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 10 to 1 tally in favor.2 It’s really worth reading the Judiciary Committee Counsel’s analysis of the bill, by the way.

And I also have copies of support and opposition letters. Powerful support comes from the California News Publishers Association and the First Amendment Coalition. Here are their letters:

California News Publishers Association support for AB1184
First Amendment Coalition support for AB1184

The opposition letters are predictably stupid, self-serving, and dishonest. They mostly take the position that it will cost too damn much to store two years worth of emails. Obviously, though, none of them provide any evidence because it’s just not true.3 Here are the links:

City of San Carlos opposition to AB1184
City of West Hollywood opposition to AB1184
Various BIDdie Associations opposition to AB1184
Downtown Center BID opposition to AB1184

And, probably unsurprisingly, this last one, penned by Downtown Center BID executive director Suzanne Holley, already known to be one of the most mendacious of an exceedingly mendacious crew of Los Angeles BIDdies, is perhaps the most twisted, the most dishonest, and the most ineffective, it turns out, out of all of them. There is a transcription after the break, but behold a few highlights with commentary and counterpoint.

Suzanne, why is your BID opposed to this? “Agencies would be forced to maintain an onerous amount of data.” And why is this not in the public interest, Suzanne? “the public would need to sort through thousands of emails to find the relevant needle in the haystack.” Suzanne! See that little box in your email client with a magnifying glass in it? If you put words in there and click on something the computer will sort through the emails for you! I use mine all the time!

Explain again, Suzanne! “Requiring the retention of tens of thousands of emails will bury relevant information…” And what is your answer to this imaginary problem, Suzanne? ” we believe the bill can be amended to ensure that the retention only apply to information relevant to the public business.” Of course, Suzanne, the problem is that on your scheme, YOU would be the one who decides what the public business is when obviously it’s the public that needs to decide.

And what kind of stuff would Suzanne delete if allowed? Here’s what she says doesn’t need to be retained: “Every email, regardless of how irrelevant would need to be retained. … Even an email asking a colleague out to lunch would fall under the purview of this bill.” See? Suzanne is asking the public to trust her to determine which emails it’s in the public interest to retain. She seems to be saying she’s just going to delete a lot of emails about lunch dates.

Leaving aside serious arguments that such emails may be very important indeed, let me tell you a little story about what kinds of emails Suzanne Holley actually does in fact delete. Remember all those emails I got in 2017 about BID involvement in the destruction of the Skid Row Neighborhood Council? That Jason McGahan, then of the LA Weekly, used in his blockbuster article? That are now evidence in the lawsuit against the City for illegally tampering with the subdivision election? Well, I got the first batch of those emails from Suzanne Holley at the Downtown Center BID.
Continue reading Business Improvement Districts And A Bunch Of Backwater Small Towns Oppose Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s AB1184 — Which Will Require Local Agencies To Retain Emails For Two Years — Read Their Letters Of Opposition And See What Shameless Liars They Are — Especially Suzanne Holley Of The Downtown Center BID — Who Argues With A Straight Face That Allowing Them To Delete Emails Will Increase Public Access To Information Because They Will Only Save The Important Stuff — By The Way Though I Have Proof That Holley’s BID Has Intentionally Deleted Very Important Emails In The Past — Icky Sticky BIDdie Boy Andrew Thomas Of Westwood Village BID Also Opposes — And He’s Also An Email Deleting Liar

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San Diego Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s Bill AB-1184 Would Require Public Agencies To Retain Email For No Less Than Two Years — Which Is Exceedingly Important — Many Of Them Use Absurdly Short Retention Periods Intentionally To Evade CPRA Obligations

The California Public Records Act explicitly includes emails in the class of records which are open to public inspection. For some reason, though, many agencies are resistant to this idea and think that somehow emails are less recordy than more old fashioned kinds of records. This weird theory, along with the fact that the CPRA doesn’t impose any kind of obligation to retain records on agencies, has inspired bunches of agencies to establish absurdly short retention schedules for emails.

There are plenty of BIDs in the City of Los Angeles, for instance, which claim that they delete emails after 30 days. They’re lying, of course, but the fact that they say this makes it harder to prove that they’re illegally withholding records. And they are consciously adopting these policies to avoid having to comply with the CPRA. For instance, at the famous BID anti-CPRA seminar held by Carol Humiston last summer, she told attendees that:

You do not need to save most emails. If you want to preserve important information that was sent by email, print it out, make a copy, and delete it from your computer.

And evidently this is a problem all over California, although I’m guessing that it doesn’t take such a consistently extreme form outside of Los Angeles. Which is I guess the inspiration for the timely and most excellent AB 1184. Written by San Diego Assemblymember Todd Gloria, this bill would require that agencies retain emails for a minimum of two years.

If you support government transparency, and why would you be visiting here if you did not,1 well, I hope you’ll write or call your legislators and tell them to pass this damn bill. If you don’t know who they are you can find them here. And turn the page for some text!
Continue reading San Diego Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s Bill AB-1184 Would Require Public Agencies To Retain Email For No Less Than Two Years — Which Is Exceedingly Important — Many Of Them Use Absurdly Short Retention Periods Intentionally To Evade CPRA Obligations

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The Year-Long Saga Of How It Is My Fault That Devin Strecker Was Forced By Kerry Morrison’s Scorched-Earth Anti-CPRA Policies To Tell Lisa Schechter That The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Did Not Use Dropbox Even Though Everyone Else In The Entire Freaking Universe Uses It

It is all my fault that Devin Strecker is no longer allowed to use Dropbox at work!
Oh dear friends, what a long story I have to tell you this afternoon! And I hope it will repay (or more than) your attention.1 It’s all about how Kerry Morrison is willing to make her job and the jobs of her minions progressively more impossible for absolutely no better reason than to thwart my research. I’ve written about various stages in this process before, and here’s a brief timeline:

  • March 2016 — Kerry Morrison amends HPOA document retention policy to require destruction of emails after 90 days unless intentionally kept, unilaterally, retroactively, and illegally redefines emails as not subject to CPRA.
  • June 2016 — Kerry Morrison rewrites contract with Andrews International so that A/I work product is no longer the property of the HPOA and therefore, she wrongly thinks, is no longer subject to CPRA.

And I just recently acquired an October 2016 email from Devin Strecker to Lisa Schechter of the Media District BID2 which shows yet another dimension of this phenomenon: Devin Strecker has to tell Lisa Schechter that he is not allowed to click on a link because the HPOA does not use freaking Dropbox.

A demonstration of the HPOA’s forthcoming records retention policy: everything that can’t be stored in human memory will be recorded in the form of knotted strings, presently unreadable by anyone on earth. Take *that*, CPRA users!
Of course, he is not allowed to use Dropbox because of yet another policy instituted by Kerry Morrison to thwart my inquiries, although it’s really not clear what effect this is supposed to have.3 If this trend continues, she will eventually have all HPOA communication carried out by trained mnemonists who will memorize her messages and recite them in person to the recipients to avoid creating disclosable records. If data must be recorded in tangible form she will only record it by quipu, using the original Inca encoding methods which, conveniently, no one alive today is able to understand. The history of this no-Dropbox policy commences in November 2015, and you can read all about it after the break in excruciating detail, amply documented.
Continue reading The Year-Long Saga Of How It Is My Fault That Devin Strecker Was Forced By Kerry Morrison’s Scorched-Earth Anti-CPRA Policies To Tell Lisa Schechter That The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Did Not Use Dropbox Even Though Everyone Else In The Entire Freaking Universe Uses It

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Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Formalizes Ongoing Document Destruction Policy Involving Thousands Upon Thousands of Public Records, Seemingly just to Thwart Our Investigations

Hollywood Property Owners Alliance staff members implementing their new document retention policy.  What have you got to hide, friends?!
Hollywood Property Owners Alliance staff members implementing their new document retention policy. What have you got to hide, friends?!
Longtime readers of this blog will recall that one of my very first successful CPRA requests of the HPOA yielded a bunch of emails between AI and the HPOA from October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014. In fact there were 69 of them during this 43 day period, or more than 1.5 per day. There’s no reason that this period wouldn’t be representative, so we might expect over 500 emails total for 2014. However, I didn’t get around to asking for the rest of the 2014 emails until November of last year and didn’t receive them until January of this year. They are available here, all (only) 90 pages of them. Incredibly, HPOA supplied more distinct emails from October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014 than they did for all the rest of 2014 when asked a year later. Statistically, therefore, it’s almost certain that they deleted a bunch of stuff. They handed over significantly more emails from 2015, almost 9 MB of them. In all cases there’s demonstrably material missing, e.g. only a small fraction of the weekly reports from AI are present. It wasn’t clear at all what was going on, although I certainly had my suspicions, until a few things happened:
Continue reading Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Formalizes Ongoing Document Destruction Policy Involving Thousands Upon Thousands of Public Records, Seemingly just to Thwart Our Investigations

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