San Diego Union-Tribune Sues Tri-City Healthcare District for Access to Public Records
The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday filed a lawsuit in San Diego County Superior Court seeking to obtain access to public records for officials at the Tri-City Healthcare District, the Union-Tribune reports.
The complaint is the first to test a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in November 2004, according to the Union-Tribune. Created through Proposition 59, the amendment is intended to improve public access to government records, including the meetings of public boards and the writings of public officials and agencies.
The Union-Tribune's lawsuit seeks access to the appointment calendar for Tri-City CEO Arthur Gonzalez and a severance agreement between the district and David Tweedy, director of behavioral health at Tri-City Medical Center from 1998 to 2001.
In December 2004, the Union-Tribune requested the records in writing. Attorneys for Tri-City have said that the records for Tweedy, who was elected to the district's board of directors in November 2004, cannot be disclosed because they relate to a personnel matter. In addition, the attorneys said that the public interest is better served by Tri-City keeping Gonzalez's calendars private.
Union-Tribune attorney Al Wickers said, "This is the first case I am aware of that will actually go to court since Proposition 59 was added to the constitution last November."
Allen Coleman, Tri-City Medical Center's vice president of strategic services, said the hospital does not comment on legal matters.
Tri-City will have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. Wickers said a hearing could be scheduled by mid-April (Klawonn, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/25).