California Public Records Act Records (CPRA)
California (CA) Government Code §§6250-6270
City of Los Angeles Administrative Code
What is the California Public Records Act?
The California Public Records Act (CPRA) is a vital component of California’s commitment to open government. In 1968, the California Legislature enacted the California Public Records Act (CPRA) under California (CA) Government Code §§ 6250-6270. The purpose of the Act is to give the public access to information that enables them to monitor the functioning of their government. The CPRA’s fundamental principle is that governmental records shall be disclosed to the public, upon request, unless there is a legal basis not to do so.
What is a Public Record?
CA Government Code § 6252(e) defines a public record as “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics." A record includes all forms of recorded information that currently exist or that may exist in the future. The CPRA specifies a record as any, “handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.” CA Government Code § 6252(f). Essentially, a record includes any and all information produced for the purposes of conducting government business regardless of the format the record might take.
Who Can Request Records?
All “persons” have the right to inspect and copy disclosable public records. A “person” need not be a resident of California or a citizen of the United States to make use of the CPRA. “Persons” include corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, ﬁrms or associations.
What Types of records are available?
The law requires LADWP to provide information the public has the right to know and at the same time, to withhold information if the release would jeopardize any individual’s right to privacy. All agency records not privileged or exempted by the CPRA or federal, state, or local laws are available.
Records Exempt from Public Requests
A number of exemptions are based on the government’s need to perform its assigned functions in a reasonably efficient and effective manner. Items that are exempt, subject to CA Government Code § 6254, and will likely be redacted or withheld include:
- Maintaining confidentiality of investigative records.
- Official information and preliminary drafts, notes, or memorandums which are not retained in the ordinary course of business.
- Records pertaining to pending litigation to which the city is a party until the litigation is adjudicated or settled.
- Personnel, medical or similar files.
- Personal customer information.
- Records pertaining to cybersecurity, trade secrets, or sensitive critical infrastructure information.
The above list is not exhaustive of all exemptions to the CPRA, but represent the most common.
How Long Does It Take?
Prompt access to public records is required by the CA Government Code § 6253. The goal of the LADWP is to strive to respond to all requests within ten calendar days. Please allow up to ten calendar days to receive a response to your request. If the records are not readily available, the CPRA Clearinghouse will notify you with an estimate of the date the records will be made available. If unusual circumstances exist, the LADWP will send a letter indicating that it will need up to fourteen more calendar days to determine whether there are available records that are responsive to the request. Both the ten- and fourteen-day time periods allow the LADWP to carefully review the request and to determine whether there are available records that are responsive to the request. A typical response letter may state that records are available for review, that additional time is required to search for records, or that no responsive records were found.
The initial ten day response period starts with the first calendar day after the date of receipt. If the request is received after 5pm on a weekday, or on a weekend or holiday, the next business day will be considered the date of receipt.
The rights under the CPRA provide for the inspection of public records or to obtain copies of identifiable records. It does not compel the agency to create lists or reports in response to the request. Under CA Government Code § 6253(b), Agencies may charge for the “direct costs” for providing copies of an identifiable record.
Important Reminder: The ten and fourteen day time period mentioned in the CA Government Code § 6253(c) is not a deadline for producing records. Should the request be voluminous, require research, require searches in different locations, or require computer programming, LADWP may need additional amount of time to research, review, and inspect records prior to release. For that reason, it may take longer before the records can be made available. Upon receipt of your request, LADWP will provide an estimated date for providing the documents and notify you of any necessary extensions of time to process your request.
Responsive records may be viewed at LADWP’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters by scheduling a review session. Details regarding how to schedule a review session are included in the response letter.
How to make a Public Records Act Request
Public records requests for information from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power can be obtained from the CPRA Clearinghouse by submitting a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request below. Requests may be submitted by regular mail, email, or facsimile to:
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Attn: CPRA Clearinghouse Corporate Strategy and Communications
P. O. Box 51111, Room 1520
Los Angeles, CA 90051-5700
FAX: (213) 367-0532
Information to Include with your Request You will want to include the following information to ensure the scope of the request is understood and clear enough for LADWP personnel to determine if we have the records you are requesting. Pursuant to CA Government Code § 6253.1, to make a focused and effective request, please include the following applicable information to ensure the scope of the request is narrow and clear enough for personnel to determine if LADWP has the records you are requesting:
- The subject of the record.
- A clear, concise, and specific description of the record(s) being requested.
- The date(s) of the record(s), or a time period for your request (e.g.: calendar year 2020).
- Full names for the individuals and/or agencies included in your request, including proper spelling.
- Any additional information that helps staff identify the record(s) being requested.
- Your complete contact information for response to your request, preferably an email address.
Requestors are encouraged to check LADWP.com before submitting a CPRA request, as the records sought may be posted at the LADWP Internet site.
What are the Costs?
Fees and Payments:
- There is no fee for the records review session. However, there are fees associated with duplication of records.
- DWP will notify you of applicable costs to obtain copies when responsive records are available. Duplication fees are as follows:
- $0.10 per page for standard-sized documents (8 ½” x 11” or 8 ½“x 14” white paper with black ink)
- $0.25 per page for large-sized documents (11” x 17” inch white paper with black ink.)
- Additional costs may apply for postage (e.g., first class U.S. Mail or expedited delivery), photographs, color reproductions, over-sized drawings, or special programming associated with electronic records.
- All payments are due at the time copies of records are requested. Checks should be made payable in U.S. funds to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
- For in-person payments, either cash or check is accepted.
- For mail-in payments, requestors are encouraged to send checks (not cash) in order to ensure payment reaches the CPRA Clearinghouse.
City of Los Angeles Administrative Code
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