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Announcing our new Bike Plan Documents page! Communities for Transportation Choice is beginning to receive and post documents we’ve received from our public records request. To view bike plan documents, see this page. We’ve posted our records request letter here.

We wish to publicly thank the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (DCP) for providing us these documents. Thank you to DCP’s helpful staff including Jordann Turner, Beatrice Pacheco, and others, and to DCP General Manager Gail Goldberg.

We understand that many municipalities are facing budget crises and can’t always afford to get public documents out to the public. So CTChoice is doing our part to help the city to increase its transparency and to foster a healthy civic dialog, by publishing documents that will help the public learn about the city’s  bike plan process.

CTChoice is currently an all-volunteer group. We’re looking for additional volunteers to help out, and, of course for donations to defray our costs. Though we requested documents electronically, so far, all we’re getting is photocopies of paper documents. Every photocopied page costs us 10 cents, then paper pages need to be scanned and posted. If you’re willing and able to help scan documents (especially if you have access to your own scanner, espcially scanners convenient for multi-page documents), please contact us. Information to contact us and/or donate is at the bottom of our about page.

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On Monday August 31st 2009, Communities for Transportation Choice received the following email in response to our California Public Records Act request posted at an earlier weblog entry here. The email is from a civil servant who identifies herself as Principal Clerk, City Planning (DCP), and is copied to DCP’s Jordann Turner.

Here is the full succinct text of this Principal Clerk’s August 31st 2009 email:

Hello, Mr. Linton and Mr. Knutzen:

Attached please find the response from the City Planning Dept. regarding your public records act request.

[name]
Principal Clerk
[contact information]

The email included an attached letter. It’s a pdf which appears to be a scanned document, hence not text-searchable, so I have transcribed a portion of it here:

After thorough research, we have determined that the City Planning Department is in posession of various documents pertinent to the above subject [the city’s Bike Plan] request . These documents will be available for your review starting Friday, September 4, 2009. You are welcome to view these documents here in Automated Records and Files, Room 575, City Hall. Our office hours are 8:30 to 4:00 Monday thru Thursday and 8:30 to 3:00 on Fridays.

Again, the full pdf attachment  is viewable here: DCP_20090831162849188

Communities for Transportation Choice is planning to head down to City Hall on Friday September 4th 2009. We’re looking forward to seeing what documetns the DCP’s thorough research has turned up.

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On Thursday August 27th 2009, Communities for Transportation Choice received the following email in response to our California Public Records Act request posted at an earlier weblog entry here. The email is from Jordann Turner of the city of Los Angeles’ Department of City Planning (DCP) Citywide Planning Division. It was addressed to CTChoice’s co-chairs and copied to the both the staff person responsible for Department Operations in DCP’s Administrative Services Division and the city of Los Angeles’ Department of Transportation (LADOT) Bicycle Coordinator.

Here is the full text of Jordann Turner’s August 27th 2009 email:

Hi Erik and Joe,

We have been reviewing your request.  The request for documentation related to budgets and accounting is straightforward, but need additional help with the first part of the request.  Any additional specifics you can provide will help us expeditiously fulfill your request. We want to produce what is most beneficial to you both.  Any [sic] I will be in on Monday to answer any questions or comments you may have.

Jordann

On Sunday August 30th 2009, Communities for Transportation Choice’s co-chairs Erik Knutzen and Joe Linton responded to Jordan Turner’s email (copying all the recipients listed on his email) as follows:

Dear Jordan Turner:
 
Thank you for your email dated Thursday August 27th in response to our request which the city of Los Angeles’ Planning and Transportation departments should have received on Friday August 21st.
 
We look forward to the Planning Department and Department of Transportation, as you state, expeditiously fulfilling our request. As you are aware, the California Public Records Act entitles the public to immediate (within 10 days of request) access to all forms of agency communication related to public business.
 
As we stated in our letter of August 20th, our request is for all of the city’s documents regarding the bike plan update.
 
Per your request for additional specifics, the city could start with sharing all draft documents (including maps) as submitted to the city by Alta Planning & Design. Please do not construe these additional specifics as any kind of relinquishment of our entire request.
 
Thank you for your expeditious efforts.
 
Erik Knutzen
Joe Linton
Communities for Transportation Choice

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This afternoon, Communities for Transportation Choice sent this letter to the heads of the Los Angeles City Departments of Planning and Transportation:

Via Electronic Mail and Federal Express 

20 August 2009

Rita Robinson
General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Transportation
100 S. Main St., 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
E-mail: rita.robinson@lacity.org and ladot@lacity.org

S. Gail Goldberg, AICP
General Manager, Los Angeles Department of City Planning
200 N. Spring Street, Room 525 CH
Los Angeles, CA 90012
E-mail: gail.goldberg@lacity.org

Re: Records Request for Los Angeles City Bicycle Plan Update 2009

Dear General Managers Goldberg and Robinson:

On behalf of Communities for Transportation Choice, we write to request the disclosure of records pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Gov’t Code § 6250 et seq. We request all documents related to the proposed update of the city of Los Angeles’ Bicycle Plan in the possession, custody, or control of the city of Los Angeles, including but not limited to external and internal communications, internal file, memorandums, surveys, budget and accounting, workshop minutes, notes, reports, studies, emails, or portions thereof (hereinafter “documents”). Specifically, we request all documents and any drafts thereof, reflecting, including, identifying, mentioning, referring, discussing, describing, reporting, comprising, listing, or analyzing, the following:

1. decision-making process, meeting minutes, position papers, background information, studies, communications, documents, fact sheets, notices, drafts (including, but not limited to, all drafts submitted to the city by subcontractors including Alta Planning & Design,) et cetera, related to the proposed update of the Bicycle Plan;
2. documents related to budgets and accounting of the proposed update of the Bicycle Plan

Further, we request that the city of Los Angeles waive any fees that it would otherwise charge for production of the records described above because the documents will further the public interest in that they will serve to elucidate the inner workings of the city of Los Angeles and its bicycle planning processes and assist the public in understanding the history and decision-making of the proposed plan update and this request is not in the commercial interest of Communities for Transportation Choice.
Please provide the records described above irrespective of the status and outcome of your evaluation of our fee category assertion and fee waiver request. Please consult with us, however, if the fee is to exceed one-hundred fifty (150) dollars. To minimize costs we prefer documents in electronic format, if possible. Nothing in this request is to constitute any waiver of Communities for Transportation Choice’s right to seek administrative or judicial review of any denial of its fee waiver request and/or rejection of its fee category assertion.

If the city of Los Angeles is legally required to redact any of the documents identified above to protect the personal privacy interests identified in Govt. Code § 6254(c), please inform me of the required redactions and produce copies of the documents as redacted. If the city of Los Angeles decides to withhold any responsive records, please provide a log that describes such records and the basis for your determination that such records are exempt from disclosure within the ten-day time limit established by CPRA Govt. Code § 6253(c).

Please produce the records above by sending them to Communities for Transportation Choice at the addresses specified below and/or publishing them on a publicly available, text-searchable, internet site where all the documents remain publicly available for at least five years. Please produce them on a rolling basis; at no point should the city of Los Angeles’ search for – or deliberations concerning – certain records delay the production of others that the agency has already retrieved and elected to produce. In the event the city of Los Angeles believes that some of the records requested herein may already be publicly available, we will be happy to discuss these instances with city of Los Angeles officials in an effort to narrow the scope of this request.

Please promptly provide copies of the above mentioned documents as soon as possible as this request is extremely time-sensitive and intimately related to on-going planning processes and our ability to competently participate therein. Please do not hesitate to call us at the numbers listed below. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

[signature]
Erik Knutzen
Co-Chair
Direct: 213.483.3669
thoughtstyle@sbcglobal.net

[signature]
Joe Linton
Co-Chair
Direct: 213.220.1608
linton.joe@gmail.com

Communities for Transportation Choice
131 1/2 Bimini Place
Los Angeles, CA 90004-5902

ctchoice.wordpress.com

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