Oakland City Attorney

Oakland City Attorney

Oakland City Attorney

Oakland City Attorney

Request Public Records

Open Public Records

The City of Oakland public records request portal is designed to make information accessible to the public.  The NextRequest web portal is designed to assist you in communicating with your government about what documents you need. All previous requests and responsive documents are available via the link below.



Public Records Requests FAQs

What is a public record?

“Public records” includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. [California Public Records Act, Gov. Code 7920.530].

“Writing” means any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photo stating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof. [California Public Records Act, Gov. Code 7920.545].


How can I request a public record?

You can make a request for a public record orally or in writing (in person/by phone/fax or by electronic/snail mail). However, we recommend that whenever possible, the requests are submitted through the City’s online public records request system.


What if I don’t have computer access?

Call the City Attorney’s Open Government Coordinator at (510) 238-2965 or the City Clerk’s Office (510) 238-6833.


Why is it better to use the online database tracking system?

1. You will get a tracking number to follow up on your request.

2. The system allows you to search for previous public records requests and access previously produced records that may be responsive to your request.

3. Using the system provides accountability and allows for a more efficient process for responding.


How soon shall I expect a response to my public records request?

For public record requests that are not “immediate disclosure requests,” the Agency Representative should provide a response to the requestor as soon as reasonably possible but no later than ten (10) calendar days from the date of receipt. [California Public Records Act, 7922.535].Under exceptional circumstances, the City may extend its time to respond by 14 additional calendar days. Requestor shall receive in writing a letter of extension, including the reasons for the extension and the estimated date of the City’s further response. Exceptional circumstances are limited to:

· The need to search for and collect the requested records from a facility separate from the office processing the request

· The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that have been asked for in a single request

· The need for consultation with another department or another agency that has a substantial interest in the response to the request

· The need to compile data, to write programming language or a computer program, or to construct a computer report to extract data [California Public Records Act, 6253.1 (c)]


What if I have concerns or don’t receive any response after 10 days?

You can contact the City Attorney’s Open Government Coordinator at (510) 238-2965 with any question or concern about public records requests.

To follow up on a request with a specific City department, contact that department’s public records liaison.


What if I am not sure of what records to request?

The public records liaison shall, to the extent possible, assist requestors in making focused and effective requests, by either:

(1) Assisting with the identification of records and information that are responsive to the request or to the purpose of the request, if stated.

(2) Describing the information technology and physical location in which the records exist, and

(3) Providing suggestions for overcoming any practical basis for denying access to the request. [California Public Records Act, 7922.600].


Are all records disclosable?

All records are disclosable unless a legal exception applies. There are certain categories of documents that are generally not subject to disclosure. These include, but are not limited to:

· Preliminary drafts of documents that are not retained by the City in the normal course of business

· Records related to pending or ongoing litigation

· Attorney-client communications

· Personnel records, medical information, or other records the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy

· Corporate financial and proprietary information, including trade secrets

· Records protected by State and Federal law

· Records not yet in existence (an agency is not required to create a record, list or a compilation — requests for future-generated records are not permitted)

When appropriate, words or other portions of a document may be redacted (blanked out or otherwise obscured from vision) and the remainder of the document may be disclosed.

If it is determined, after consultation with the City Attorney’s Office, that the records sought are not subject to disclosure either in whole or in part, then the Department shall advise the requestor in writing that the records will not be made available and include the reasons why access is being denied, stating the legal statute or authority for denial.


When can I inspect public records?

A Requestor may ask to inspect, and not copy, the records. It is highly recommended to contact the public records liaison to schedule an appointment to view the records, to ensure that the records are available rather than being used by City staff, located off site, or need to be redacted. If the Requestor walks into the City Agency and asks to inspect a record, the Agency should so allow unless:

· Inspection at that time will disrupt the Agency staff person’s immediate work. The Agency staff person then may ask the Requestor to wait a few minutes, come back later in the day, or schedule an appointment.

· The request is for a voluminous amount of records.

· The request requires review for privilege or confidentiality.

· The Agency has a concern that the records may be altered unless the inspection is supervised. If supervision of an inspection is required, the Agency may ask the requestor to schedule an appointment.

· Inspection of any video or audio recording must be provided free of charge on a device made available by the local agency or body responding to the request.


How much does it cost to have copies of the records?

A department may charge for the “direct cost” of duplication, which is the cost of running the copy machine, and also the expense of the person operating it. There is no charge for staff time used to locate or collect records.

There is no charge for staff time used to redact non-disclosable information.

There is no charge fee for staff time used for supervision during inspection of records. With the exception of fees specified by State law, the following fees shall apply to requests for records:

Review of documents onlyFree
A single copy of a current meeting agendaFree
Agenda subscriptionRefer to Master Fee Schedule
Documents copiedRefer to Master Fee Schedule
Documents faxedSame as copying rate
Any documents, if the Agency decides to send the document to a commercial copierVendor’s rate
Vendor’s rateRefer to Master Fee Schedule. Usually the cost of the media and any staff time for programming. There’s no fee for copying electronic files into any media.
A single copy of an EIRs/EISs currently under reviewRefer to Master Fee Schedule