KPBS, San Diego’s public media outlet announced that they are joining the Voice of San Diego on their lawsuit against the county of San Diego.
Voice filed two lawsuits against San Diego County in July for the county’s failure to release more detailed information about COVID-19 outbreaks in the county.
The two lawsuits challenge the county’s failure to comply with California’s Public Records Act (CPRA) on “record retention and disclosure laws.”
KPBS decided to join Voice after listening to its audience who wanted to know more information about the COVID-19 outbreaks in San Diego, the media outlet said in a report.
“We understand the county is working really hard to keep the public safe,” Suzanne Marmion, KPBS director of news and editorial strategy said, as per KPBS.
However, the records from the county showing information about specific outbreak areas are also crucial to public safety, Marmion said.
Having more information on COVID-19 outbreaks will strengthen public safety by demanding accountabilities from public officials and businesses, Marmion added, as per KPBS.
According to Voice’s CEO, Scott Lewis, it will be more difficult for San Diegans to make informed decisions on their activities due to the lack of detailed information from the county.
Lewis added that having KPBS as a partner will add pressure to the officials, knowing that the public is interested in getting more information, KPBS said.
What Is The Issue?
According to Voice, in April, San Diego officials deny a reporter’s request for epidemiological reports.
One month later, the county communications office head, Mike Workman told Voice that documents needed to go through a review first before their release.
The county’s denial to release the documents “runs contrary to two basic mandates of the CPRA,” as per Voice’s lawsuit.
In the same month, a Jared Whitlock, a Voice contributor requested death certificates from the county.
However, Whitlock did not get them due to the communications office’s requirements which were impossible to do unless he saw the documents first.
The office failed to comply with Whitlock’s request for around four months, Voice said.