September 16, 2021
To: Armando Quintero, Director California State Parks
Subject: Public Records Act (PRA) and California State Parks Obfuscation of Public Documents/Information
We would like to respond to Ryen Goering, Public Safety Officer Diablo Range District email comment below (September 10, 2021) and to share our years of being compelled to submit Public Records Act Requests (PRA) to California State Parks. We apologize, if we misspeak and look forward to clarifying in person.
Ryen said,”Among my many other tasks with other park operations, currently my main priority before dealing with Bike Turnouts is several PRA’s that you have initiated through our Legal Department. I must complete those first before I can schedule any additional meetings.”
Since 2014, we have been compelled to submit numerous PRA’s, NOT because we wanted to but because California State Parks Leadership and recently Eduardo Guaracha, Diablo Range District Superintendent refuses to too voluntarily share non-confidential public documents/information with the public. Ryens frustration with working on PRA’s is understandable but it’s NOT due to us; it is the result of California State Parks Leadership and their policy of requiring their staff to censor and redact “non-confidential public information” from public documents. We completely understand Ryens frustration with continuing to waste time obfuscating, censoring, concealing, muddling and redacting non-confidential public documents/information.
With minor exception(s) the information that Ryen is censoring/redacting per our PRA requests is NOT confidential. The original document/information could be sent to us in minutes. Instead, he finds himself part of a system that compels its’ employees to censor, stall and delay for months.
We absolutely agree that Ryens time is being wasted and share his frustration. The fault is NOT ours. California State Parks has established a flawed policy of bureaucratic obfuscation. Apparently, California State Park bureaucrats believe that one of their primary tasks is to obfuscate by creating a culture of obfuscation. Over time they become experts at bureaucratic obfuscation.
The resulting impression left with the public is that California State Parks is more concerned about protecting the Parks’ image rather than improving the safety for all Park visitors.
It is our sincere hope that California State Parks Senior Leadership and Eduardo Guaracha will follow the PRA policies and practices of the Town of Danville, City of Lafayette, California Highway Patrol, Contra Costa County Sheriff, et al.
We urge California State Parks to establish a culture of transparency and provide non-confidential documents/information to the public in a timely manner.
The current California State Parks flawed policy of bureaucratic obfuscation wastes valuable staff time and needlessly increases the animosity between the public and Park employees.
Alan Kalin, COL, USA (Ret.) President Mount Diablo Cyclists
Linda Kwong, Vice-President Mount Diablo Cyclists