The Mar Vista Community Council board of directors notified stakeholders Wednesday, June 2nd, that its general distribution e-mail list and database are being deleted to protect the privacy of the stakeholders, after a public request for the records by the owner and editor of a Web site, The Westmar Sun, George Garrigues.
The decision to purge the database was made by the Mar Vista Community Council executive board Tuesday, May 18th, after contacting Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, and deciding to comply with his advice.
Delgadillo advised that the Mar Vista Community Council had to comply with the request for information because the Community Council is an official Neighborhood Council, an advisory entity for the City of Los Angeles.
Garrigues said he made the request for the e-mail addresses by letter on Thursday, May 6th, because he wanted to contact stakeholders to inform them about his Web site newspaper, but that he got no response from Mar Vista Community Council board members.
Garrigues said he is entitled to the information under the California Public Records Act.
“I understand that many of the addresses were obtained on a promise of confidentiality, and I am willing to extend this period (ten days) for another 21 days to allow you to survey the people on the e-mail list, and afterward purge your files of the e-mail addresses of people who do not want me to have their addresses maintained in your official records,” Garrigues stated in the letter to the Mar Vista Community Council board of directors.
“I have asked for some public records from the Mar Vista Community Council, and ten days have gone by without an answer,” Garrigues said in a Wednesday, May 19th, letter to Delgadillo.
“Before I take any legal action, I want to give you [Delgadillo] the opportunity to redress my grievance through action of your office,” Garrigues said.
“Deciding to delete the database was made by the Community Council executive board at an open, public meeting, details of which were posted at various publicized community locations,” said Mar Vista Community Council chair Tom Ponton.
Ponton’s comment about the meeting was made after Garrigues questioned when and where the decision to delete the data base was made, saying he had not received any notification.
A new public e-mail list will be started, but signing up will mean that e-mail addresses on the list will be available to anyone requesting the list, stated the notice to stakeholders.
Privately held e-mail sites is another option for receiving information, but the Mar Vista Community Council has no control over the announcements being forwarded, Ponton said.
“We are saddened by this legal decision which seems to disregard your [stakeholders’] privacy rights, since much of this information was obtained by us with the understanding that it would be kept confidential, but we feel we must comply with the advice of the City Attorney,” stated the notice to the stakeholders from the Mar Vista Community Council board of directors.