(CalAware Weekly comprises this plus the previous three posts)

Free Press

    Gag denied   A judge has again denied a public employee union’s bid to stop the Daily News in Los Angeles from publishing members’ names, positions and salaries in a lookup database on its website.
    Police clashes   Law enforcement officers blocked news media coverage in several incidents in the San Diego wildfires, according to a report by the local ACLU; a San Diego Police Department spokesman responded that the police have the authority to protect evacuees from unwanted press interviews.
    Offending column   The Benicia Herald, a daily newspaper, has fired its editor for a political column he wrote that upset two heavily advertising candidates in next week’s city election.
    Shield veto threat   The White House is threatening to veto the federal shield law bill, H.R. 2102, if Congress passes it, which USA Today predicts is likely.

Free Speech
    Flame retardant   Statements posted to a website on homeowner association issues attacking an attorney’s professional integrity were merely “a private campaign of vilification” and not a matter of public concern meriting anti-SLAPP protection, ruled the Court of Appeal in an unpublished decision.

Open/Secret Government
    Paper trace   Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) has put a hold on a bipartisan bill to reverse President Bush’s 2001 executive order giving presidents and former presidents more power to halt indefinitely the release of their White House records. The House-originating measure is authored by California’s Henry Waxman.  Meanwhile candidate Hillary Clinton, asked about releasing her husband’s papers, stayed true to message and said they’ll be available after being processed.
    Pumping irony   Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Peele’s reaction to Governor Schwarzenegger’s boast, in vetoing AB 1393, that “My administration’s commitment to the public records act is unwavering"—“Really? Does the governor actually believe the things his staff writes in his name?” Meanwhile Schwarzenegger’s office has told the Daily Journal in Los Angeles (sorry for the link lack—its website is subscription only) that it will not identify those whom it consults for recommendations on the appointment of judges, although it has said it would release the names to the Assembly—by January.
    Land deal secrets   The Legislative Analyst’s Office has concluded after two years of research that the Department of Fish and Game and other California state agencies “keep too many documents secret when they buy land and do not have consistent standards to ensure the public is paying reasonable prices,” reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Public Information
    Day labor employers   The California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune have appealed a judge’s ruling barring the City of Vista from disclosing a list of those who have registered as an employer of day laborers.  The ACLU obtained a temporary restraining order in September against release of the names to protect the employers’ privacy.

Records Released Reveal . . .
A city official denied pension credit for time she never worked; an admired police chief’s retirement marred by an issue of possible pension-spiking; a legal aide to the Insurance Commissioner secretly helped regulated companies in their lawsuit against his boss; Long Beach subsidies for a summer Sea Festival run by a private association were wasted, according to an online news site.

Open Meetings
    A Fate Worse Than Indictment?  The Orange County DA won’t prosecute four members of the Capistrano Unified School Board who accepted his report that over a six-month period they discussed business unlawfully in closed session and otherwise violated the open meeting law dozens of times. But wait—OC Weekly reports that the county Republican Central Committee “did something unprecedented by unanimously voting to call for the resignations of four of its own elected officials who sit on the Capistrano Unified School District Board.”

    Dummy up!   The Bush administration isn’t the first to punish insiders who go public  with inconvenient facts.  But, James Sandler tells Salon, it’s the most ferocious in resisting Congressional efforts to protect them.