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Should names, addresses of lawn rebate recipients in LA be disclosed for accountability?

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Photo by Pete Morris via Flickr Creative Commons

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The city of Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Water District disagree over whether the names and addresses of people and companies who received turf removal rebates from the MWD should be made public.

The skirmish points to a growing debate statewide about whether water-related data should be more transparent.

The Metropolitan Water District spent more than $340 million on its popular turf removal program. After initially withholding the information, Metropolitan told the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power it intended to release first and last names of applicants and recipients of turf rebates, as well as specific street addresses, in response to requests made under the California Public Records Act.

As a result, homeowners and businesses that have received rebate money could find their data made public within a week.

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Molly Peterson, KPCC’s environment correspondent who’s been covering the story

John Kotler, professor of journalism at USC and a lawyer who practices media law. One of his areas of expertise is getting legal access to government records.

Joe Ramallo, Communications Director at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)