An extensive investigation by the Contra Costa Times (subscription) reveals that most California Bay Area public agencies do not respond to requests for their records according to established state law.
During a six-week period beginning in April, the Times sent 20 reporters and editors to agencies across the region. They identified themselves only by name in order to gauge the response to an average person asking for records. State laws governing records access do not distinguish between journalists and the general public.
When asked for immediate access to the records as state law requires, government workers sometimes demanded the reporters’ identities and their reasons for wanting to see public documents. [Complete article and documents are here.]
About 50 percent of police agencies withhold the daily incident blotter.
All of the records requested are explicitly identified in the California Public Records Act as public documents, available on demand.