California governments so routinely deny legitimate requests for public records that journalists and citizens who seek such records often have to sue to get them.
Such litigation is expensive, which is part of the governments' strategy: make seeking the records so expensive that those in pursuit of the documents stop. One way the playing field was leveled was that the governments who denied access often were forced to pay citizens' and journalists' costs when the courts forced them to hand over the documents.
That's why it's such bad news that an appellate court has a new opinion saying that citizens can recover costs only when they prove that a government acted in bad faith. The result will be fewer public records -- and thus less accoutability and more corruption.
CalWatchdog has a very complete account here.
This decision wasn't published -- a cowardly move employed by judges when they want to hide their work. Motion for reconsideration, your honor.