WHAT IS THE CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT?
The California Public Records Act (CPRA) requires state and local government agencies to give the public access to information found in public records.
The California Public Records Act, Government Code §6250 requires the City of Santa Clara (“City”) to make public records available upon request. The City is pleased to assist you in your request for public records/information. Public records maintained by the City are available for inspection by members of the public pursuant to the following guidelines and procedures:
WHEN MAY THE PUBLIC INSPECT PUBLIC RECORDS?
Disclosable public records in the City’s custody will be available for inspection during normal business hours (8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday). If the request seeks inspection of numerous records, we will agree on a mutually agreeable time for the inspection.
HOW MAY THE PUBLIC OBTAIN ACCESS TO A PUBLIC RECORD?
A Public Records Request can be made over the phone, via email or through the City’s Online Public Record Request portal. Requests should be sufficiently specific and focused to enable identification, location, and retrieval of the public records sought. If a request is not specific and focused, City staff will:
- Assist the requestor in identifying public records responsive to the request or to the purpose of the request.
- Describe the electronic or physical location in which the public records exist.
- Provide suggestions for overcoming any practical challenges to disclosure of the public records sought.
The City does not supplement responses to previous requests when new records are created or received. A separate request must be submitted each time records are sought. Modification to a previous request will be treated as a new request. The requestor is expected to submit the Request for Public Records to the Public Records Manager or designee.
Persons inspecting the City’s public records shall not destroy, mutilate, deface, alter, or remove any such records from the City’s office. The City reserves the right to have a staff member present during the inspection of public records, or to take other precautions in order to prevent the loss or destruction of records.
HOW SOON CAN THE PUBLIC EXPECT A RESPONSE TO THEIR REQUEST?
Government Code §6253(c) entitles you to be notified within ten (10) days whether the City possesses any disclosable public records that respond to your request. If the City has custody of such records, we will notify you in writing when to expect them to be made available.
In unusual circumstances the ten day response letter may tell you that the City requires a fourteen (14) day extension to do the following:
- Search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request.
- Search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request.
- Consult with another agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject matter interest therein, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed.
- Compile data, to write programming language or a computer program, or to construct a computer report to extract data.
IS THERE A CHARGE FOR THIS SERVICE?
There are only fees for copies, as designated in the City’s Master Fee Schedule, which may be charged for duplicating records. Copying fees shall be collected prior to the release of records. There is no fee for viewing the records, research or any other fee that does not relate to the direct duplication cost of the record.
ARE THERE RECORDS THAT MAY NOT BE DISCLOSED?
The City may refuse to disclose certain categories of records which are confidential and generally not subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act (Gov. Code §6254-6255). These include, but are not limited to:
- Preliminary drafts of certain documents that are not retained by the City in the ordinary course of business
- Records related to pending litigation
- Attorney-client communications
- Personnel records, medical information, or other similar records the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
- Corporate financial and proprietary information, including trade secrets
- Confidential personal information on an application, i.e. home address and telephone number, financial information
- Information relative to a juvenile on a Police Report
- Architectural site plans that contain a copy-righted architectural seal
- Names and addresses on customer service and code complaints
- Initiative, referendum or recall petitions are unless by court order
- Candidate statements prior to the close of a nomination period
- Identities of those requesting bilingual ballots or ballot pamphlets
- Materials relating to ongoing complaints and investigations
- Records protected by State or Federal law.
HOW DO I OBTAIN A COPY OF: BIRTH, DEATH, MARRIAGE OR DIVORCE RECORDS?
These records are available by contacting the Santa Clara County Clerk's Office.
HOW DO I OBTAIN PROPERTY OWNERSHIP INFORMATION?
Property records are managed by the Santa Clara County Assessor's Office.