The City of San Diego is committed to transparency and providing easy access to public records pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The California Public Records Act gives the public the right to access records created and maintained by public agencies in the course of their normal business.
Publicly Available Records
Many City records are available online or must be obtained following a specific process. Please visit Records Available Online or Through a Different Process to review these records.
How to file a Public Records Act Request
The City of San Diego has a Public Records Portal (NextRequest) that allows anyone to submit a request, correspond with City staff, and track requests online. The portal also allows users to search for published public records requests and documents.
Please visit the portal to search for available records or submit a new request.
Information About CPRA Request Submissions
The City is subject to California laws relating to public records. All information contained in a CPRA request, including a requester's information, is considered public record, and may be subject to public inspection, pursuant to Government Code Section 6252(e).
Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of this page.
CPRA requests may be made anonymously; however, the City will not be able to provide updates or seek clarification on anonymous CPRA requests. It will be the requester’s responsibility to check the portal for records that are posted publicly on the portal in response to their request.
Pursuant to Government Code Section 6252(e), a public record is defined 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.”
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 the agency and are, at the time the request is filed, in the agency's possession and control. The CPRA excludes certain categories of records from disclosure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What contact information should I include on my request?
Requesters are strongly encouraged to provide at least some contact information. Providing an email address will allow you to log into the portal to view your request and access records that are uploaded to your request. In addition, this will allow City staff to send you notifications regarding the status of your request.
Who can see my contact information?
Requesters contact information is not published on the portal. However, all information sent and received by any City employee is subject to the CPRA; therefore, any communications and data exchanged or provided to the City is a public record and may be released in response to a public records request.
How detailed should my request be?
The City strongly recommends including details that will facilitate a focused search:
- Describe the nature of the record being requested and/or provide the name or identification number of the records to the best of your knowledge.
- Provide the time frame or date range you are interested in, for example: Fiscal Year 2021 or from February 2020 to present.
- When possible, identify the departments and/or City employees that may be involved in the subject matter.
- Avoid abbreviations.
- When applicable, provide specific addresses, block numbers (for example, the 500 block of Plaza Blvd), or an intersection.
How does the City process Public Records Request?
The City responds to requests for public records through its public records portal (NextRequest) pursuant to the CPRA, Government Code sections 6250 et seq. Pursuant to Government Code section 6253, the City will determine whether it has disclosable records within 10 days from receipt of a request. In some instances, depending on the complexity of the request, the City may take a 14-day extension in which to conduct a search to determine whether responsive records exist.
If disclosable records exist, the City will make every effort to provide responsive non-exempt records within a reasonable timeframe; however, response times will vary depending on the types and volume of records requested and the scope or timeframe of the request.
Are there any fees or charges for public records requests?
The City may charge for the actual costs of duplicating paper records. Fees for copies are $.25 per page, unless the requested record has an established statutory fee. There is no charge for electronic records that are provided via the public records portal.
When may public records be inspected?
In general, electronic records identified as responsive to CPRA requests are made available through the public records portal.
Public records maintained by the City Clerk are open to inspection during regular office hours: 8 a.m. to 5 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.
Public records maintained by other City departments may not be readily available for inspection. It is strongly recommended that you contact the department in advance to ensure that the records are available. An appointment may need to be scheduled if the records must be located and reviewed or redacted for exempt information.