PUBLIC INFORMATION -- The
Contra Costa Times, the Los Angeles Times and the California Newspaper
Publishers Association will fight a legal move by a retired Contra
Costa County sheriff's deputy to block the release of pension data, reports
Lisa Vorderbrueggen in the San Jose Mercury News.

The
newspapers seek to preserve gains the industry made in a successful
case brought by the Contra Costa Times in 2007 in which the California
Supreme Court ordered public agencies to disclose as public information
the names and salaries of employees.

In conjunction with its
intervention in the recent court action, the newspaper organizations
also filed a Public Records Act request with the Contra Costa County
Employees Retirement Association for the names of retirees whose gross
monthly pension benefits exceed $8,333 in any month in 2009, retirement
dates, records of pay and formulas used to calculate retirees' pensions.

The
legal battle over whether or not names and pension amounts of retirees
is public information began in May when retired Contra Costa sheriff's
Deputy Donna Irwin filed a petition for a restraining order in Contra
Costa Superior Court to block a request for the data by a taxpayer
group.

The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a
pension reform watchdog group, had requested the data as part of a
statewide effort to request the names and pension amounts of former
county employees who collect $100,000 or more per year.

The organization views the data as a key public education component of its campaign to alter the public employee retirement system.