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Wednesday, Oct 16 2013 12:26 PM

'First Look': Lois Henry on tracking down public information

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    Californian columnist Lois Henry talks about the quest for public information on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Californian columnist Lois Henry was on fire and there was nothing stopping her Wednesday on "First Look with Scott Cox.

Henry discussed her most recent column about the hurdles she and Californian City Editor Christine Bedell went through to get the Kern Community College District to answer a question from a reader: How much is Bakersfield College spending on a lawsuit against the California Community College Athletic Association and Southern California Football Association?

"The absurdity of a public institution refusing to tell us how much they are spending and where the money is coming from, just has me furious," Henry said.

While attempting to find the answer, BC advised Bedell to file a public records request.

Usually a public records request means just that: You are requesting a specific record, Henry said. The act allows an agency up to 10 working days to respond to your request in order for the agency to retrieve the record and determine if it's releasable under the law.

"It took a full 10 days for KCCD to respond and on the last day they said they weren't going to give us any information because there were no records on the information we requested," Henry said.

Henry contacted John Corkins, president of the KCCD board of trustees, and got the answer: KCCD has authorized up to $50,000 out of the district's reserve funds to be used in the lawsuit. Henry said Corkins was very forthcoming.

On another topic, Henry also talked about the split between the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center and the Kern County Animal Control shelter.

"They have broken up, and I understand they have animosity toward each other but they have to move on," Henry said.

The dispute comes from county supervisors not liking the way the city is taking in animals, from city residents only and also wanting the city to agree to an animal exchange program, Henry said.

The solution is for the politicians and bureaucrats to step back and let the people in charge do their job, Henry said.

 

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