CITY MANAGER’S UPDATE
Bill Norton, Interim City Manager
Join us Saturday, September 9 at Sterling Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the annual Colma Town picnic! This year’s theme is Mardi Gras – so make your way to the park with your family and neighbors. Festivities for this year include an awesome Louisiana Cajun food, great activities for kids, live music, and – as always – the ever-popular bingo! There is no cost for this annual community event, so pack up the kids and stop by for some Town Picnic fun! Remember that Colma identification cards must be current for admittance into the picnic.
September also sees the City Council recognizing our local honor roll students. Make sure to attend the Council meeting on September 13 for this special event.
Lastly, the health and well-being of our pets is very important. Making sure your furry friends are up-to-date with its vaccinations and licensing are crucial to support your pet’s health and safety. Below you’ll find some quick tips from the San Mateo County Animal Control & Licensing Department.
Make sure your pets are safe—get them licensed and vaccinated against rabies. Licensing is the foremost way to ensure your pet makes it home. Of course, getting your pet microchipped is another form of effective identification, however if your pet ends up at a neighbor’s house, school or local park and can’t be identified, he or she may be taken to the animal shelter. Having a license tag can identify your pet. A citizen can call the number on the tag and will receive your vital information in order to return your dog home to you.
- IT’S THE LAW that all dogs over four months must be licensed.
- Visit petdata.com to license your pet today or find other ways to license at smchealth.org/AnimalLicensing.
- Rabies vaccinations are available from your veterinarian, or visit smchealth.org/rabies for a list of low-cost vaccination clinics. You must provide proof of vaccination to get a license.
You’d do anything for your pet, so make sure they make it home safely—license them today at petdata.com.
THE PUBLIC’S BUSINESS AND PRIVATE EMAILS AND TEXT MESSAGES
Christopher J. Diaz, City Attorney
Earlier in 2017, the California Supreme Court finally decided a question that has for years confused the courts, public officials, the media and citizen watchdog groups: Are electronic communications — emails, voicemails and texts — on private devices or servers, and not owned or retained on a town or city’s computer server, subject to disclosure under the state’s 48-year-old Public Records Act? As you may know, the California Public Records Act ensures the public has access to any record regarding city business so long as such record is legally disclosable under the Act.
The case arose when public officials in the City of San Jose, used private email accounts (i.e.: Gmail, Yahoo, AOL), and sent text messages on private cell phone devices not owned by the City, to avoid having those emails and text messages become public documents under the Public Records Act. The California Supreme Court rejected the City’s position that such communications should not be subject to the Act since they are not in the public agency’s possession.
In a unanimous opinion, the Court announced that it would not permit public officials to conduct the public’s business on private devices and place those communications beyond the public’s reach. The Court referred several times to a constitutional mandate to broadly interpret the Act in favor of public access. Thus, the California Supreme Court has firmly held that no matter the medium (private email account or town issued email account), if a public official or employee is discussing city business, the records constitute the public’s business, and will be subject to regulation and disclosure under the Act.
Residents of the Town of Colma will be glad to hear that Town officials and employees use only a Town issued email account to conduct Town business. Further, the Town will mandate this approach through policy changes in the near future. In the rare event that Town business is conducted on a private email account or through text messages on a private device, the Town does have a process in place to obtain any relevant records regarding Town business. In short, the Town has been and will continue to be in compliance with this new legal holding by the California Supreme Court.