SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California Gov. Jerry Brown held his first news conference in February on the Oroville Dam emergency after the threat of lake Oroville sent nearly 200,000 people from their homes.
The governor defended the state’s handling of the crisis, while asking for federal assistance for the emergency. Now, about two months after declaring a state of emergency in Oroville, Brown’s administration is blocking a public review of records relating to what happened when the spillway began eroding, how it was maintained, and the crisis aftermath.
“It’s unacceptable we need to release as much info as possible so the public knows what’s going on and how we’re addressing the issue,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher.
Gallagher represents those forced to evacuate. He’s calling on the governor for some level of transparency.
“At the very least, let’s disclose these reports documents redacting the privileged or homeland security sensitive information,” said Gallagher.
“They’re the taxpayers that live along the system,” said Rep. Doug LaMalfa.
LaMalfa says a lack of information about the current condition of the spillway and timelines, may delay critical funding for repairs.
“Everyone from the Oroville south on the Feather River is concerned about how this is going to be managed in the upcoming at least two months because there’s still a gigantic snowpack that hasn’t melted yet,” said LaMalfa.
A spokesman with Governor Brown’s office tells CBS13, “The administration is committed to ensuring residents have the latest information and is providing regular daily updates and weekly media briefings regarding the review of the incident and the ongoing work in Oroville. That will continue until the job is done.”
Spokesman Evan Westrup also highlights that “we would not produce records that reflect attorney work product, or attorney-client privileged information or records that reveal the deliberative process of the Governor or his staff.”