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(CalAware Weekly comprises this plus the three previous posts)

Free Press

Two Student ‘Barks’ Provoke Official Bites       The Reporter in Vacaville  reports that a decision by the principal at Vacaville High School to change the advisor of the student-run newspaper, The Bark, is leaving one teacher fighting for his job—a conflict expressly addressed by a bill now making its way through the California Legislature.  Meanwhile a columnist for the North Coast Journal in Arcata reports that the principal of Eureka High School recently ordered the removal from newsracks and recycling of about 1,000 copies of the student newspaper, the Redwood Bark, because an article about a student artist showed one of her paintings that included a female nude.  A law passed in 2006 makes it a misdemeanor to take more than 25 copies of the current issue of a free or complimentary newspaper if done to recycle or to deprive others of the opportunity to read the newspaper, punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 for a first violation.

Justice Department Wants No Shield for Bloggers      Blogger MiniMediaGuy reports that the U.S. Justice Department is lobbying the Senate to amend a proposed reporters’ shield law to exclude bloggers from the limited protections that it would give paid reporters against the forced disclosure of confidential sources. The House passed a shield law bill last fall that treated bloggers and paid media the same. The Senate version uses different words to accomplish the same goal.

Public Information

Newspaper Resists Secret Motion in Corruption Trial     The Los Angeles Times reports that its attorney is arguing against former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona's request to file a secret motion to move his corruption trial out of Southern California, contending that such secrecy violates the First Amendment.

City Denies Access to Retiree Health Care Cost Study     The North County Times reports that at an April 24 budget workshop, Kevin Cummins of the Encinitas Taxpayers Association told the city council he had requested a copy of the draft retiree health-care liability study that was presented but had been denied access to it.

U.S. Forest Service Need Not Name Faulted Employees      The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Forest Service need not reveal the names of employees involved in a bungled operation to a private watchdog group that doesn't trust official investigations of the incident.

Public Records Disclose . . .
    • that two architecture firms vying for the design contract for the new Midfield Satellite Concourse at Los Angeles International Airport had tied with a score of 229 points in their written proposals, according to the Daily Breeze.

Free Speech

Teacher Fired for Refusing to Sign Loyalty Oath      The Los Angeles Times reports that Cal State Fullerton has cancelled a lecturer’s appointment to teach American Studies because, as a Quaker and pacifist, she did not sign a loyalty oath swearing to "defend" the U.S. and California constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic." The loyalty oath was added to the state Constitution by voters in 1952 to root out communists in public jobs.

City’s Proposed Campaign Law Raises Questions
    The Press-Enterprise in Riverside reports that a proposed Temecula campaign finance law is raising concerns about freedom of speech in future city council races. It would require candidates and political fundraising committees to file with the city clerk copies of fliers, brochures and other documents mailed to 100 or more voters. The mailings must identify who sent them.

Abortion Protesters Raise Hackles on Campus      The Orange County Register reports that a group called Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust is suing Cypress College for having arrested its members twice for refusing to confine their bloody photo displays and information handouts to the campus’s official 20 by 50 foot “free speech zone.”  They also say police confiscated two cameras and a videorecorder that have not been returned.

Assembly Panel OKs Local Whistleblower Shield      The Oakland Tribune reports that a local government whistleblower protection bill authored by Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby and sponsored by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, cleared a key Assembly committee this week with unanimous support.

Protection for Anonymous Speech on the Internet
      The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that if AB 2433 becomes law, speakers who successfully oppose the use of bogus litigation to obtain their identities could also demand attorneys' fees. The bill has now passed the Assembly unanimously and is moving on to the Senate.

Open Meetings

Fire District Sues Volunteers under Brown Act       The Herald in Monterey reports that the Carmel Valley Fire Protection District is suing the Valley Volunteers organization — made up of volunteer firefighters who staff the Carmel Valley Village fire station — in a dispute over whether the volunteers are legally obligated to open their meetings to the public.

‘Patrol Special’ Officer to Get Open Hearing
     The Bay Area Reporter reports that a “patrol special” police officer facing administrative charges failed in her efforts to have the charges against her dropped, and to have the San Francisco Police Commission proceedings closed to the public, since the city doesn't consider such officers—approved by the police department but hired by private businesses and individuals to provide security—to be peace officers who are provided with closed disciplinary hearings.