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Mayor’s Race, NFL Settlement, Getting Public Records

KPBS Roundtable

The Next Mayor's Race

Above: So far, there are 13 declared candidates for mayor of San Diego but only one recognizable name. The NFL proposes a settlement with retired players & their families. And why is it so hard to get public records, which, by definition, are public?

Aired 8/30/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Liam Dillon, Voice Of San Diego

Jay Paris, San Diego Sports Writer

Joel Hoffmann, Voice Of San Diego

Transcript

Who's Running For Mayor?

If you're not running for mayor of San Diego, not to worry. There are a lot of others who want the job.

As soon as Mayor Filner resigned, former Assemblyman and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher declared his intentions and took out papers. He did this almost simultaneously with Tobiah Pettus, whose name, like those of the 11 others in the race so far, is probably new to you.

Other individuals said to be about to fling their hats into a rapidly filling ring are former San Diego City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio; current Councilman Kevin Faulconer, former Assemblywoman Lori Sandana; current San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts and City Council President and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria.

There are, of course, issues. Many are saying, as if it were a mantra, that the city has to heal, an over-used metaphor which implies a medical issue.

There are issues of flip-floppiness dogging Carl DeMaio, who very recently was quite firm about his desire to run for congress, and Nathan Fletcher, who went from Republican to Independent to Democrat in the course of several months. The election is set for November 19.

NFL Proposes Settlement with Players, Families

On Thursday, the NFL announced it had agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by 4,500 former players who say they have advanced dementia caused by repeated brain injuries and families of players who have died from alleged long-term effects of brain trauma.

The NFL will pay $765 million to settle the suit, which, had it gone to trial, might have cost them billions and resulted in embarrassing disclosures.

Some therefore see the proposed settlement as a positive outcome for the league. The proposal includes $675 million for players or the families of players; as much as $75 million set aside for baseline medical exams; and the establishment of a $10 million research fund into cognitive brain injury.

The proposed settlement has not yet been approved by U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody.

Public Information Not So Public

The California Public Records Act (CPRA) was created in 1968 to make sure that citizens of our fair state had access to public documents and records. If you need the minutes of an April, 2001 meeting of the Poway School Board, or a cost-analysis by the North County Transit District, you are supposed to get them within 10 days of your request. And city and county agencies are to be reimbursed by the state for the costs of finding, copying and sending the records.

The process can get expensive.

So during the most recent budget negotiations, Governor Jerry Brown and the state legislature tried to eviscerate the CPRA by severely cutting funds to offset the cost of fulfillment. The attempt failed. The CPRA survived, but was still a measure with loopholes and without sanctions for non-compliance.

When San Diego Mayor Bob Filner hired former Councilwoman Donna Frye to be his director of open government, she wanted to make it easier for the public to get documents and even to post information on-line. During Filner's brief term, the city succeeded instead in posting a dismal record of delay.

According to newly released documents, the city may have responded to public-records requests by the mandated 10 days only 50% of the time, as compared to 83% of the time under mayor Jerry Sanders. When there are delays, the city notifies petitioners, many of them journalists, that it needs a 14-day extension, without explanation.

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