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Kristin A.

Nichols
Associate

Phone (303) 290-1613


Fax (303) 416-4497
KANichols@hollandhart.com

October 24, 2016


VIA EMAIL AND ONLINE SUBMISSION
Arlette Flores-Medina
Open Government Coordinator
The City of Oakland
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 6th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Re:

Compliance with the California Public Records Act

Dear Ms. Flores-Medina:


This past summer, I submitted the following three public records requests to the City of Oakland:
(1) Public Records Request #16353 (dated July 18, 2016); (2) Public Records Request #16354
(dated July 18, 2016); and (3) Public Records Request #16869 (dated August 17, 2016). As
detailed below, the City of Oakland has failed to comply with its statutory obligation to make
the records promptly available in accordance with the California Public Records Act (the
Act). Government Code 6253(b). As a result, the City of Oakland must immediately
provide all responsive documents related to the above public records requests. The following is
a brief summary of each public records request to which the City of Oakland has failed to
adequately respond:
Public Records Request #16353
On July 18, 2016, I submitted Public Records Request #16353 to the City of Oakland
Councilmembers, which sought the following: (1) communications or other documentation
related to the use of, or efforts to prevent the use of, the rail terminal or the marine terminal to be
developed at the former Oakland Army Base for coal or other exports, transportation of any bulk
commodity from any terminal to be developed at the former Oakland Army Base, the Oakland
Bulk and Oversized Terminal, the California Capital and Investment Group, and Senate Bill
1277 or 1279; (2) communications or other documentation related to the proposed Ordinance and
Resolution publicly announced by the City on June 24, 2016 and noticed for hearing and initially
approved through the first City Council vote on June 27, 2016; and (3) any and all writings
related to any analysis by Environmental Science Associates regarding the bulk commodity
terminal proposed for the West Gateway portion of the Oakland Global Trade and Logistics
Center and potential operations threats.
Despite submitting this request over three months ago, I have not received a single document in
response to my request. Instead, on August 2, 2016, I was informed by Councilmember Kalbs
Holland & Hart LLP Attorneys at Law
Phone (303) 290-1600 Fax (303) 290-1606 www.hollandhart.com
6380 S. Fiddlers Green Circle Suite 500 Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Aspen Billings Boise Boulder Carson City Cheyenne Colorado Springs Denver Denver Tech Center Jackson Hole Las Vegas Reno Salt Lake City Santa Fe Washington, D.C.

October 24, 2016


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staff that responsive documents would be provided to me by the end of September of 2016 and
that I would receive an update on the status of the request in late August. I never received an
update on the status of the request, nor did I receive any documents at the end of September. On
October 19, 2016, I sent a follow-up email to Councilmember Kalbs staff requesting an updated
estimate of the timeline for production of any responsive documents. As of the date of this letter,
I have not received any responsive documents or even an updated estimate of when the City
intends to produce any documents in response to Public Records Request #16353.
Public Records Request #16354
On July 18, 2016, I submitted Public Records Request #16354 to the City of Oakland
Administrator, which sought the following: (1) communications or other documentation related
to the use of, or efforts to prevent the use of, the rail terminal or the marine terminal to be
developed at the former Oakland Army Base for coal or other exports, transportation of any bulk
commodity from any terminal to be developed at the former Oakland Army Base, the Oakland
Bulk and Oversized Terminal, the California Capital and Investment Group, and Senate Bill
1277 or 1279; (2) communications or other documentation related to the proposed Ordinance and
Resolution publicly announced by the City on June 24, 2016 and noticed for hearing and initially
approved through the first City Council vote on June 27, 2016; and (3) any and all writings
related to any analysis by Environmental Science Associates regarding the bulk commodity
terminal proposed for the West Gateway portion of the Oakland Global Trade and Logistics
Center and potential operations threats.
On July 22, 2016, the City of Oakland began posting responsive documents to RecordTrac. As
part of its response, the City sent a spreadsheet that directed me to other public records requests
related to coal exports from the Oakland Army Base. On August 3, 2016, I posted a note in
RecordTrac to inform the City that I was unable to obtain all the responsive documents because
some of the documents were either sent directly to the requester or were inaccessible due to a
broken link. I also followed up with the point of contact listed on RecordTrac via email on
August 9, 2016. On October 4, 2016, after receiving no response to my several emails
requesting updates on the status of the Citys response to my request, I was informed that the
data searches would be completed within a week (i.e., by October 11, 2016). I have not yet
received any additional response or documents from the City of Oakland in response to my
follow up on Public Records Request #16354.
Public Records Request #16869
On August 17, 2016, I submitted Public Records Request #16869 to the City of Oakland
Councilmembers, which sought communications and other documentation related to
Environmental Science Associates review and evaluation of the health and safety impacts
associated with the use of, or efforts to prevent the use of, the rail terminal or the marine terminal
to be developed at the former Oakland Army Base for coal or other exports, including
documentation of all payments by the City of Oakland to Ms. Zoe Chafe. On September 8 and

October 24, 2016


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10, 2016, I received responses
r
fro
om City Cou
uncilmembeers Kaplan annd Washingtton, respectiively.
On Septeember 23, 20
016, I was in
nformed by staff
s
for Couuncilmemberr Kalb that reesponsive
records would
w
be possted to RecordTrac betw
ween early to mid-Octobeer. When I ddid not receiive
the prom
mised responsse from Coun
ncilmember Kalbs officce by mid-O
October, I sennt a follow-uup
email to Councilmem
mber Kalbs staff on October 19, 20116. I have nnot received a response too my
October 19, 2016 em
mail. As of th
he date of th
his letterm
more than twoo months aftter my initiall
request
I have not received
r
any
y additional response
r
or ddocuments ffrom the Cityy of Oaklandd.
The Act requires
r
prompt disclosu
ure of publicc records in rrecognition tthat access to informatiion
concernin
ng the condu
uct of the peoples busin
ness is a funddamental andd necessary right of everry
person in
n this state. Governmen
nt Code 62
250. Althouggh the Act pprovides a lim
mited extenssion
of time beyond
b
the 10-day statuto
ory deadlinee for respondding to a pubblic records rrequest in
unusual circumstance
c
es, the Act cannot be ussed as a tooll to delay orr obstruct thhe inspectionn or
copying of
o public reccords. Id. 6253(c), (d
d). Due to thhe Citys faiilure to makee its public
records promptly

available
a
for inspection, the City of O
Oakland is ccurrently in vviolation of tthe
Act. Id. 6253(b). Therefore,
T
I request the immediate rrelease of alll responsive documents
related to
o Public Reccords Requesst #16353, #16354, and ##16869. Seee id. 6259 (authorizingg
legal actiion for impro
oper withhollding of public records ffrom membeers of the pubblic, includinng an
award for court costss and attorneeys fees).

Sincerely,

Nichols
Kristin A. N
Associate