Oceano battles against transparency

March 3, 2012


Oceano’s attorney is advising district staff break the Public Records Act and not allow the public legally mandated access to district records.

The California Public Records Act is a powerful tool used by reporters and the public to uncover governmental shortcomings and illegal activities.

Yet, the legal counsel for the Oceano Community Service District has recommended that district manager Tom Geaslan break the Act in order to reduce “frivolous records requests.”

The Act requires records such as budgets and board meeting minutes be available for viewing at the district office during working hours, does not permit the district to require requests in writing and requires no charge for copies of files held electronically and provided in emails.

Geaslan, however, has taken the position the district will provide no records for viewing before a 10 day waiting period and requires requests be made in writing.

In addition, the district often refuses to send free electronic copies as required by the Act and instead sends the documents as certified mail at a cost of both time and money to the financially strapped district.

When an Oceano resident asked to see the board minutes from 2003 through 2005, she was ordered by district staff to make a written request and an appointment. When Giselle Naylor arrived in late December to view the records after she contends she made an appointment and a written request, Geaslan said there was no written request and that Naylor could not see the minutes.

The two argued and Geaslan called the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s department and had Naylor arrested.

The case against Naylor was eventually thrown out with the district working to have her barred from the building.

District Counsel Molly Thurmond, with the San Luis Obispo based firm of Hall, Hieatt & Connely, advises the district not to provide electronic free copies of records as required by law in order to dissuade public records requests.

“I think if you start electronically providing some, then people think they can just request anything and they’re entitled to it in the form they want,” Thurmond said in an email to the district. “In truth, making people pay is a sort of built-in deterrent so you don’t get frivolous requests. Again, don’t be handing out drafts, notes, working documents. ”

However, Terry Francke, the director of CalAware and an authority on the freedom of information laws, said that the public is “in fact entitled to any (non-exempt) information they want in the form they want — if the agency has it and uses the information in that form.”

In addition, Francke said notes and drafts are required to be available to the “public unless they meet the definitions of exempt records, which issue has to be determined on a request by request basis.”

District officials regularly point to the district’s small staff and lack of hours as the reason for violating the Public Record’s Act. Critics, however, contend that requiring requests in writing, appointments and refusing to send electronic copies in favor of certified mail is more time consuming then just complying with the Act.

Today, Thurmond is conducting a Brown Act and Public Record’s Act workshop at the Oceano district office slated to teach district officials the legal requirements of the Acts.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Kudos again to CCN for pointing our local misfits who abuse their authority. These cretins in our employ and/or we elect should bend over backwards to satisfy whatever the public wants. Could be there is no such thing as a frivolous request, all are valid if we want something.

I remember years ago I needed something from the county clerk (not the present one) and was met with idiotic and fascist resistance. I had to get a supervisor to go down there and tell the witch to give me the damn public document! I’m still furious about that. These so called public servants need a good beating when they pull this crap on us.

A legitimate request for a public document is one thing. These people from outside Oceano go down there and stand around requesting everything they can think of just to take the employees of the district away from their jobs. They make request after request, every day. Then ask why things are not getting done. Regardless of their attempts to derail all the progress the district has made, Oceano is coming out of it, thanks to a good board of directors, general manager and staff. Hey, Oceano has water, everyone else is scrambling to find it, they did that right. They went through a bad patch, leave them alone, let them do their jobs.

There is nothing in the California Public Records act that requires the person requesting the records to be a resident of the area the government body controls. You are throwing out a red herring, which is a tactic so similar to what OCSD and its corrupt attorney use it makes me wonder if you are not, indeed, part of the OCSD corrupt gang of leaders.

Providing public records when requested is part of the job of OCSD, a job which they are failing at.

If the current board, general manager, staff and contractors (i.e., the worthless attorney advising the OCSD) cannot devise a system that allows them to comply with the law, then they all need to be fired, or recalled, for incompetence.

No person, or organization, is allowed to break the law simply because it is inconvenient for them to comply. If that was the case, we would have freeways full of people going 90 miles an hour because they left late for work.

Cry, you need to understand that these tactics and genuine requests occur in every local govt. in our county. It goes with the territory. As annoying as it can be, the law plainly states that you must accomodate the public requests. You, if you’re a board member, work for them. If you’re the GM or attny., you work for the board and the public. There’s no excuse good enough to condone breaking the law.

Disgust- I do understand. I also know that the OCSD does comply with the requests. What I have been trying to get across to the ” hate everyone in government crowd” that thinks every public official is crooked is that there is a small group out there that does this public records request as a sport and to try to dig up dirt or find some kind of mistake that could be the smoking gun as to some scandal in the government agency. Just seems to be a lot of hatred out there by these bloggers. All I can see is that OCSD is trying to right things and when things start going good, here comes the haters to try to drag them down. They are doing their best, none of them have a hidden agenda, they all want what is best for Oceano, not like the Tacker/Edwards gang that is trying to destroy. Now all of you haters, hit the dislike!

I somewhat agree with you in that there are some that constantly clog up staff time looking for records because they are fishing to find problems, that’s Tacker and her boyfriend,,but they still need to be allowed access. It is a shame that someone like Giselle who is worse than Tacker and Edwards because she really makes which ever entity she’s harassing dig for obscure records. I feel bad for Oceano in that I know that they’ve had cut backs and are short on funding so this takes away a lot resources from them. It’s a shame that their isn’t some exception for people like her, but there isn’t so the law must be followed. I was told at one point that there was type of restraining order against Giselle and that she wasn’t allowed in the office but apparently it was either temporary or who ever told me this was wrong, even though I was told this by someone on the OCSD board.

I completely agree that a few if not most of the posters in this forum are really paranoid about our govt.. They truly believe that politicians, cops, firemen, all govt workers are all corrupt, they are the same type that make up far fetched govt. conspiracies and are part of the lynch mob mentality that brings this place down. I don’t agree nor do I care for the OCSD attorney, I think she’s causing problems because although she’s a nice lady she’s just not a good attorney. She’s not plotting to cover some hidden agenda and neither is the GM. This is the best board that Oceano has had in recent history and that goes for the GM as well. I still get a kick out of watching the meetings but they are head over heels better than the previous boards and GMs.

I watch the OCSD meetings off & on. The new board works well together and the GM seems to be a good troubleshooter and is accomplishing many things one would have thought impossible. I question the advice they’re getting from their attorney with respect to comments and requests for records. Is govt. her specialty? I know the district paid dearly for past attorney advice that proved to be incorrect. Best of luck to the great little area of Oceano, but follow the law no matter what would be my unsolicited advice.

Fascism is efficient, no question. I remember the Italian dictator, Mussolini, getting high praise for

“making the trains run on time.” However, according to the U.S. Constitution, we live in a

democratic republic. That’s why we love and have such high hopes for our country.

Fortunately, publicly elected body such as the OCSD must, under the current law, abide with such “inefficient” restraints on power as the Brown Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Corruption

thrives on secrecy, and we must insist on transparency in regard to the workings of public


This kind of crap is getting very old. There is a small group of misfits, malcontents, or call them whatever you want (government watchdogs) lol. , that are hell bent on destroying the Oceano district. Let me tell you, it is not going to happen. All these requests for public documents are just one of the ways they are trying to put a wrench into the workings of the district. What do Julie Tacker and Jeff Edwards really care with the public records of Oceano? They have their own agenda and think that by destroying the district they can move in somehow and benefit from all Oceano has to offer. Well, give it up. The community and the board stand behind the general manager and Oceano is moving forward like you have not seen in a long time. Try as you might, you will not find anything “illegal”, there is nothing “hidden”, all this is the product of people that have no life of their own and are only happy trying to destroy something to make themselves look better. You will not bring Oceano down with your yes, FRIVOLOUS” requests.

It doesn’t matter if people come from out of town and request records, that backwoods thinking is what gets Oceano in trouble. As I’ve stated, I understand the frustration, especially when short handed but that doesn’t matter, they need to follow the law. So did you approve of them taking public comment at the beginning of an agenda item prior to hearing the staff report?

So…………the ends justify the means.

Sounds like a page out of the commumist manifesto.

There is no reason citizens should’t know what is going on in government.

Sycophants who support government officials who act illegally are as big of a problem as those who actually act illegally.

The general manager, board of directors, and their worthless attorney are acting illegally.

What other acts are you going to simperingly support?

There are a LOT of regulations a CSD has to follow, about 95% of them inconvenient. However, complying with the regulations is part of the CSD’s job.

If the GM, the board, and their pathetic attorney cannot do the job as required, then they are incompetent–or corrupt–and need to be replaced.

It is patently absurd to suggest it is the fault of the person making a legal request –with which that the OCSD refuses to comply–for the scandal the OCSD GM, board and attorney are now involved in which is a result for them illegally refusing to perform a required duty of CSDs.

Admin deletion (something smells like canned meat)

Great Post and very informative. I quit shopping at Vons and Albertsons a few years ago because of their demand for a store card (which identifies my name, address, phone#, etc) to purchase items at their advertised cost. I know they sell the information to marketing companies and maybe worse.

Charter Cable has been “harassing me” to join their rewards club for special deals. But part of being in the club and getting the deals is giving your consent for them to keep track of “everything you watch on TV” and when you watch it! No thanks Charter, mind your own business.

Certain large retail chain merchants have also joined the game of collecting their customers itemized purchase data through the use of special rewards cards that aren’t worth selling your privacy for.

Cindy, don’t give them your real phone number and address. Just remember the phone number you gave them for when you need to use the card to get a discount.

I had a grocery-store discount card for years that gave a mailing address of 1601 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. The only reason I no longer use that card is because I moved out of the area where that chain of stores is located.

Clearly, they (including district counsel) are trying to protect themselves from the consequences of what would be revealed in the records.

This legal complaint could be easily modified to be an attachment to a complaint to the State about Oceano’s general manager and district counsel’s conspiracy to break the CPRA regulations.

(The legal definition of “conspiracy” does not require that the act is done in secret.)

CalAware (www.calaware.org) has easy-to-understand info about the CPRA regulations. The following is an example:


“Top 10 Points to Remember About Handling California Public Records Act Requests”

1. The agency has the burden of justifying the denial of access.

2. The request need not be in writing.

3. The request need not identify the requester.

4. The request need not state the requester’s purpose.

5. The scope of the request must be reasonably clear.

6. The agency need not compile lists or write reports.

7. The agency must do its best to help the requester succeed.

8. Fees are for the costs of copying, not for those of inspection.

9. Prompt access is required for clearly public records.

10. Journalists and other people have the same rights of access.


P.S. url for the example of a complaint that could be modified: http://www.allanfavish.com/infosuit.htm

I knew when I first started reading this article before I even saw her name, I knew that Giselle had to have something to do with this.

I can understand their frustration, anyone that has dealt with Giselle Naylor also known in this forum as oto can understand what they get put through. It’s never ending, she wants everything, she wants it now and she keeps on and keeps on, it’s truly beyond words, it’s crazy! She’s been 86ed from the BOS meetings and the SLO staff are very frustrated with her and her random requests. I’m not trying to be mean but I believe that she has OCD. I honestly feel sorry for any entity that has to deal with her and believe that CCN has even had a taste of what I’m talking about. That being said, Oceano’s attorney isn’t very good, she’s going to get that town sued. She seems like a nice lady but that’s not enough to offer legal advise. She just makes one mistake after the other. Poor Oceano, they just can’t get it right. They have to provide records to the public, they have no choice. There must be some legal way to get Giselle to leave these people alone. When she first turned up she was upset because Oceano couldn’t provide her with the original plans of where the underground pipes were in her neighborhood, not just the modern schematics but the plans of when they first started building in Oceano. I believe that’s when she became close with Monte (and I believe with the help of J. Wallace), they were finally able to meet that request.

I’m not blaming Giselle, that I why in my post I stated that Oceano has to comply, they have no choice and that their attorney is constantly giving them bad advise. I was only saying that I understand their frustration with her. She does clog up resources and many of the things that she asks for are time consuming things but this is not to take the blame from Oceano.

Yes you are blaming Giselle. You make an unfounded psychiatric diagnosis (“OCD”) so as to set her up to the reader as somehow being the problem when all she is doing is attempting to get OCSD to comply with the law.


This is blaming the victim.

I don’t care what her background is, and, unless you are a professional in the psychology/psychiatric field, you aren’t qualified to make a determination if she has OCD.

I think what you may see as “OCD” is what others may see as “the amount of tenacity needed to get to the bottom of the unending buIIshit coming from most of our local area governments.

Oceano’s practices, as they post them, are illegal. They deny citizens the right to an open government.

It they don’t have enough staff to deal with what is mandated by the State, then OCSD has to deal with that. They don’t have the option of not providing information as regulated by law.

Mary, read my post again. I said that Oceano needs to provide info that is requested. Of course you as always think that all govt is corrupt and bad, they’re all out to get you. I’m not going to get into another battle with crazy govt. conspiracy accusations. Oceano had to lay off employees but you are right they still need to provide public request for info no matter how little their resources might be. This is the fault of the OCSD attorney.

Do you know Giselle, do you know her history? You have given plenty of psychiatric rude opinions and made nasty slurs regarding local govt. officials. You weren’t ‘qualified’ to make-up/guess what you feel is wrong with Soloman but it didn’t stop you.

Again, the inaccurate accusations in an attempt to make a point….

I think that the larger the government body, the more likely it will have corrupt members. Some people are corrupt. More people = more chance for some corrupt members of that group.

That is, in my experience, a logical baseline to approach government.

The problems caused for the public by corrupt members increases as the power of the corrupt members increases.

In the situation with OCSD, we have the general manager, the district counsel, and the board of directors who back this ILLEGAL refusal to comply with the California Public Records Act.

Those are the most powerful people in the OCSD organization. Therefore, the harm they can cause by their corruption is very, very serious.

I must have misread something here….Thrumhold who advises the Oceano staff and herself willfully violates the Public records act is giving a class to SLO’s finest to teach them how to comply with the law? Yeah for more corruption in SLO politics !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t feel that she’s corrupt, she’s simply not competent.

She& her fellow attorneys at HH&C defend several government agencies including the county of SLO. I do realize there’s a reason they call this place SLO county, but you’d think legal advice at that level would be competent in the 21 century. Throw in the warnings by Cal Aware/T. Franke and they still cant get it right? BS I say. Their shister’s like the knuckle bros who specialize in protecting corrupt local governments for the right price.

Have you watched the meetings?

Oh, for the love of god.

She’s an attorney, and the California Public Records Act is not a bit of arcane legal knowledge that someone in her position would not be expected to know.

If she does not know about the CPRA, then she needs to have her attornrney’s license to practice in California revoked until she becomes competent.

In the meantime, since the OCSD continues to pay her for her legal services, OCSD is liable for her bad advice.

She’s not incompetent. Clearly, she’s going to absurd lengths to cover up something she and OCSD has done in the past.

“She’s not incompetent. Clearly, she’s going to absurd lengths to cover up something she and OCSD has done in the past”

Oh gee, here we go again,,its all a cover up.

I was under the misunderstanding that you had a grasp as to what is going on in Oceano. This attorney hasn’t been around that long, is she covering up for those that are no longer with the district? Why is she doing that? You’re wrong, as much as you’d like it to be, it’s not a big conspiracy or a cover up, she’s simply incompetent. She is the same attorney that told the board that they should take public comments prior to hearing staff reports and board discussion regarding agenda items at meetings. That wasn’t a cover up it was simple incompetence.

It appears to me to be a coverup. I can see no other reason for the general manager, the district counsel and the board of directors to ILLEGALLY act in refusing to comply with the California Public Records Act.

This has been going on for awhile, and they now know the legal requirements to comply with the CPRA.

So the benefit of doing something illegal must outweigh the problems associated with doing something illegal.

What could possibly make the most powerful players in the OCSD act illegally AND risk the threat of an audit?

It seems logical to me that there is something in those records that would harm those in power at OCSD.

Voila–they are not propviding access to the records because they need to coverup what has been done in the past.

Also, remember, the general manager serves at the pleasure of the board of directors. If he does not do what the board of directors instruct him to do, then they can immediately terminate him.

We pay plenty for this stuff.

Frivolous? What are they hiding is my question.

What is wrong with these people?