support any lobbying efforts to restrict public access to records,
information, or meetings ..."
Richard Knee, the chairman of the city's Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, said that San Francisco's lobbying for Eng's bill -- AB 1336 -- "violates both the spirit and the letter of the Sunshine Ordinance."
Knee said that his task force could block any local attempts to restrict public access to street-sweeper cameras -- or, for that matter, Muni bus cameras.
"If, for any reason, the city wanted to withhold a portion of that footage from public view, they'd have to say clearly why they were doing it," he says. "If someone were to request access to some footage shot from one of those cameras, was denied, and then filed a Sunshine complaint, we could find a violation. Unless there's a specific reason for withholding the footage, access should be given."
For those wondering what's the big deal over the government refusing to release footage from its bus- or sweeper-mounted cameras meant to bust discourteous drivers, here's a term that may resonate: "secret evidence."
"This is evidence which the public would never get to see. You can see
any other kind of evidence introduced in a court proceeding," said
Terry Francke, general counsel of the open government group CalAware. "This treats parking violations as some esoteric exception to the rule."
City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said he is unsure whether the city attorney's office was ever consulted on whether lobbying for such bills is permissible under city law.