All over the State of California local agencies are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to deny the public access to records. I don’t, therefore, have nearly as much material to write about so in response I’m writing about the lack of records instead, and the various ways agencies deny access. Here are the first and also the second posts in this series, and you’re reading the third!
For more than six months now I’ve been looking into the question of why Uber and Lyft premium services, the ones that approximate limousines, I guess, continued to be allowed to pick up passengers at curbside in LAX even after October 2019 when the airport banned taxis and regular Uber/Lyft drivers, relegating them to a special off-site pickup lot. The matter first came to my attention via this October 29, 2019 Spike Friedman tweet and I sent them this request that same day. And as is typically the case the process is taking forever, although a little bit of information has dribbled out.
In February of this year e.g. LAX, in the person of Supreme Operations Commander Angela Jamison, produced a few emails, only one of which related to the question. This email, from Landside1 Management staffer Shirlene Sue, seems to be an answer to Jamison’s request for records responsive to my request. It basically says that Uber/Lyft premium services operate under different rules from regular Uber/Lyft and taxis and that’s why. It’s also worth noting that I made the request in October 2019 and Jamison sent me these three emails four months later. That’s more than a month per email.
And even as judges across the state ruled against various attempts to block the law, police departments have developed a vast range of techniques to frustrate requesters by imposing countless obstacles, time-sinks, outrageous charges, and the like. There’s been a lot of discussion of this in the press, of course, the press being immediately affected by such tactics. And open discussion of these tactics is essential for any number of reasons. Just for instance it allows requesters to be able to respond effectively and legislators to be able to identify fixes. And, maybe, just maybe it might shame some of these obstructionist police departments to stop fooling around and follow the damn law.
This is just a short note to announce three new sets of documents for your entertainment, your edification, and, if you’re interested, a little puzzle for you to solve.
First we have a couple of monthly sets of emails between BIDs and the City of Los Angeles. This turns out to be a useful request for keeping finger on pulse, often leading to unexpected discoveries, so I make it every month of all my favorite BIDs.1 Perhaps there are some lurking here: