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Public Records Request

The California State Legislature adopted the Public Records Act in 1975. It is designed to give the public access to information in possession of public agencies. The Act also provides that public records shall be open for inspection during regular office hours of the agency. The public can inspect any record unless the record is exempted from disclosure under the act.

How do I make a Public Records request?

All requests for public records should be directed to the appropriate department or agency. If you are not sure which department to contact about your request, you may direct it to the City Clerks Office. Requests for public records should be in writing and should be as specific as possible. It is important to include the following information in your request, so that we may respond in a timely manner:

  • A statement that you are requesting information under the Public Records Act.
  • A clear and specific description of the information you are requesting. If possible, identify dates, subjects, titles, or authors of the documents requested.
  • An explanation of what the information will be used for (i.e. scholarly purpose, commercial use, personal use). This will help us determine what fees, if any, to charge you for the information.
  • If you are requesting a waiver of fees, please state why you believe you are entitled to the waiver.
  • Your contact information, including name, address, phone, fax, and email.

Who can initiate a Public Records request?

Anyone may initiate a request for public records.

What type of information can I request?

Public Records requests may be used to obtain "agency records," which include a wide variety of documents and other materials (including print, photographic, and electronic formats) that were created or obtained by a city agency and are, at the time the request is filed, in the department's possession and control. The Public Records Act excludes certain categories of records from disclosure, including materials related to internal agency rules, proprietary business information, inter- and intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges, and personal privacy.

How soon must a city agency respond to my request?

A city agency receiving a request for documents under the Public Records Act has ten days in which to respond to the request.

How much will I be charged for my request?

Fees for copies are twenty-five-cents per page, unless the requested document has an established statutory fee. The cost of CDs and audio tapes will vary depending on the specific request.

When may public records be inspected?

Public records are open to inspection during regular office hours, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for city holidays. The office of the City Clerk is located at 202 "C" Street San Diego, CA 92101