Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 20, 2004


Page 1


Distribution Map Newspaper Filed With Bid for Contract Is a Public Record, Lawyer for Beverly Hills Says


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A distribution map submitted to the City of Beverly Hills by a newspaper seeking a public notice contract is a public record, the chief assistant city attorney said Friday.

Roxanne M. Diaz, of the Los Angeles office of Richards, Watson & Gerson, the city’s contract lawyers, said in a letter to Beverly Hills Weekly publisher/chief executive officer Josh Gross—a copy of which was obtained by the MetNews—that the city could not keep the information confidential, despite the newspaper’s request that it do so.

Gross’ paper competes with the Beverly Hills Courier, an older paper that at one time published the city’s notices exclusively. The city currently places notices in both papers.

When the city sent out a bid notice last year, it required all bidders to “submit evidene of their newspaper delivery area within the City of Beverly Hills.” Gross provided a map, along with a copy of the paper’s distributor verification, along with a cover letter saying the documents were ěa protected trade secretî that should not be provided to ěour competitors or the general public.î

But Diaz noted that confidentiality had never been promised. And since the document is now in the city’s possession and relates to city business, the California Public Records Act requires that the city comply with the Courier’s CPRA request for the documents unless the statutory exemption applies, the attorney explained.

Diaz indicated she was unaware of any relevant exemption, and added that ěthe Uniform Trade Secret Act does not affect the disclosure of a public record by a local agencyî under the CPRA.

The city’s intent is to release the records on Wednesday, she told Gross.

Gross said Friday he does not intend to contest the release of the documents. He added that the Courier has not provided the city with the requested information.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company