The city and mayor of San Jose are once again headed to court over accusations they are conducting city business in secret.
The online media group San Jose Spotlight and the First Amendment Coalition filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming Mayor San Liccardo and other city employees use personal devices, and non-government email accounts, to skirt the California Public Records Act.
It's similar to a legal battle San Jose was involved in five years ago when Liccardo was accused of conducting private talks with lobbyists, then not fulfilling requests to see related documents.
“We were told certain records didn’t exist even when we had copies of those records,” said Ramona Giwargis, San Jose Spotlight CEO. “We uncovered how the mayor almost exclusively uses private emails for city business and deleted a public email thread.”
“So if those emails are not available to the public, as they should be under California law, the public is stripped of its ability to see what its elected leaders are doing,” said David Snyder of the First Amendment Coalition.
In response to the lawsuit, which demands more transparency, the mayor’s staff issued the following statement: “The city spent hundreds of hours reviewing and producing thousands of documents requested by San Jose Spotlight. But, mistakenly, missed two emails that were ultimately provided.”
The city also added it has implemented procedures to prevent future mistakes.