Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 09/24/2010 06:24:24 PM PDT

A leaner Sunshine Ordinance with more bite will go before the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors for consideration Tuesday.

The proposed ordinance by Supervisor Neil Derry was set to go before the board Sept. 14, but concerns about certain language in the draft pertaining to the deliberative process exemption for public records requests prompted Derry to pull the item from the agenda and fine tune it.

The ordinance aims to facilitate public records act requests by speeding up the process in which records are produced and creating processes that will ensure more public records, including electronic media, are retained in perpetuity.

Now, 50 pages have been cut from the draft, mainly, language from established public records and open meeting laws that will prevent the board from amending the ordinance whenever those laws change.

“It’s a much stronger ordinance than what we originally proposed,” Derry said. “Our first and foremost purpose is to release the information as quickly as possible.”

The other reason Derry pulled the ordinance off the last board meeting agenda was so he and his staff could revise a section of it dealing with “deliberative process,” an exemption the county has cited repeatedly to block public records requests.

The deliberative process exemption stems from a 1991 state Supreme Court decision which found that the wholesale release of the governor’s calendars, detailing everyone with whom he met, “would inhibit the governor’s deliberative in some instances by discouraging persons from attending meetings, in others by leading to unwarranted inferences about the subject under discussion.”

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