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Open Government Program

Implicit in the democratic process is the notion that government should be accountable for its actions. In order to verify accountability, individuals must have access to government files. Such access permits checks against the arbitrary exercise of official power and secrecy in the political process.

— California Supreme Court

The Open Government Program in the City Attorney's Office is designed to ensure that the citizens of Oakland have full access to information about their city and that the business of city government is conducted in the light of day.

Public Records

Arlette Flores-Medina, Open Government Coordinator
E-mail: aflores@oaklandcityattorney.org
Phone: (510) 238-2965
Fax: (510) 238-6500
Address: 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612

You can submit your public records request via the citywide online public records system. Click here to request a record.

For a birth or death certificate, divorce records or deeds to a property go to the Alameda County Recorder’s Web site or phone (510) 272-6362.

For information on filing an initiative or a referendum, go to the California Secretary of State Web site or call (916) 653-6814.

Open Government Guide:

Guía En Español:

Open Government Program: Supporting Legislation

Brown Act

The California State Legislature adopted the Ralph M. Brown Act in 1953. By adopting the Act, the Legislature found and declared that public commissions, boards, councils and other local public agencies in the state exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. The intent was that actions taken would be taken openly, and that deliberations held would be held openly as well.

California Public Records Act

The California State Legislature adopted the Public Records Act (click on California Law, Government Code, Sections 6250 - 6277) in 1975 and included all records of the state and local agencies written on or after January 6 of that year. The Public Records Act is designed to give the public access to information in possession of public agencies. The Act also provides that public records shall be open for inspection during regular office hours of the agency. The public can inspect any record unless the record is exempted from disclosure under the Act, and the agency bears the burden of justifying why the records cannot be disclosed and is responsible for required redactions.

Sunshine Ordinance

The Oakland City Council adopted the Sunshine Ordinance (Title 2, Chapter 2.20) in 1997 as a declaration that it is a government's duty to serve the public, and in reaching its decisions, to accommodate those who wish to obtain information about or participate in the process. The ordinance is intended to assure that the deliberations of commissions, boards, councils, advisory bodies and other agencies of the City and the City’s operations are open to the public. (Ord. 11957 § 00.1)

Open Government Bill of Rights

Read the Open Government Bill of Rights, which details the rights of Oakland citizens to have access to city government.