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Letter to the Editor: Alford Public Records Requests Are "Frivolous"

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Last night, Bruins Nation received an email from someone who read BrendonBruin's fan post. His email was riddled with so many factual inaccuracies that I felt a response was required.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Late last night, the following email was cc'd to Bruins Nation. It was sent to Dan Guerrero, Julie Repass Cleveland, the director of HR for the Athletic Department, and Charles Robinson, the general counsel for the UC Office of the President.

Dr. Keenan's email is unedited.

Our response follows.
To Whom it May Concern at UCLA:

I wanted to make you aware of a fringe blog known as BruinsNation.com, which has embarked on a campaign to waste state funds and resources by filing frivolous public records requests with the Athletic Department.  BruinsNation.com ("clown blog") hates UCLA, hates Dan Guerrero even more, and hates Steve Alford above all else.  Their express purpose is the firing of Alford, Guerrero, and Chancellor Block -- just take a look and see for yourself.

The subject of their public records request is the employment of Kory Alford on the basketball staff, which they consider to be "nepotism."  UCLA recently responded to a public records request filed by a member of the clown blog.  Judging from the time it took and the volume of documents produced, it appears that many employees spent countless hours responding to this request.  But the clown blog is not satisfied, and you will notice in the comments section of this post (http://www.bruinsnation.com/2016/6/3/11852538/the-alford-nepotism-inquiry-ucla-responds#comments) that they have hired a lawyer to prepare a new and more detailed public records request.  These people would submit a public records request if they thought Coach had an unpaid parking ticket.

UCLA can do what they want with this information, but I would suggest going to court and obtaining a protective order, or an injunction enjoining the clown blog from future frivolous and harassing requests.  Make no mistake:  THE BRUIN COMMUNITY STANDS STRONG BEHIND COACH AND AD GUERRERO.  The clown blog's incessant posts calling for their termination do not reflect that of the UCLA community.

Chief culprits are BrendonBruin and alleged former obese volleyball player, Bruinette88.  Search their posts for an amusing trail of utter incoherence and dribble.

Kevin Keenan, MD
class of 07

Dear Kevin,

I thought I'd address a few issues you raised in your email, although I suspect that some of the facts may be lost on you.

BruinsNation is not a "fringe blog" as you referred to it. We are the largest free UCLA blog and community on the internet with more than 10,000 registered members. Last year alone, we totaled almost 9.5 million page views and we averaged over 150,000 unique visitors per month.

Are we opinionated? Yes, we are. We're a blog, not the Los Angeles Times. We have consistently stated that we do not believe that Steve Alford should have ever been hired by UCLA. That's a position that we've held since before his introductory press conference.

Not only that, but our members have the freedom to express their opinions as well and we encourage all Bruin students, fans and alumni to do so.

But, to say our "express purpose" is the "firing of Alford, Guerrero and Chancellor Block" twists what not only what our writers have written but also what our readers have written in our Fan Post section.

Since I became the Managing Editor, almost two years ago, we have dramatically shifted the tone of the site. We have committed ourselves to covering UCLA Athletics as fairly as possible. We believe that it is important to give credit where and when it is due in order to maintain our credibility when we do offer criticism.

With respect to the public records requested on the subject of Kory Alford's hiring and employment, those were made by one of our registered members as anyone is entitled to do under California's Public Records Act. I can say with certainly that BruinsNation has not hired an attorney to prepare a new and more detailed public records request." Our registered member who wrote the Fan Post, our equivalent of a letter to the editor, which you referenced may have hired an attorney on his own dime to prepare his record requests, but anyone is free to do that under California's Public Records Act, but BruinsNation has not done so.

The purpose of California's Public Records Act is to provide transparency in the operations of California's governmental operations because it is important that any member of the public have the ability to know what is going on with taxpayer-funded departments, agencies, and, in this case, public universities among all levels of government in California. After all, we live in a free society and taxpayers are entitled to hold individuals responsible for the actions taken in their name.

Now, you may not believe in holding public officials accountable, but that has been a vital tenet of our American democracy for over two centuries.

I do find it amusing that you write such a bold statement as "THE BRUIN COMMUNITY STANDS STRONG BEHIND COACH AND AD GUERRERO" near the end of your email as the evidence I've seen over the past few months appears to show that the Bruin community does not stand behind Steve Alford. Unlike you, I actually have data to back up my assertion.

First, there was a petition which was started by members from BruinReportOnline, a blog which requires paid subscriptions. That petition was signed by thousands of Bruin students, fans and alums. I guess that makes BruinReportOnline a "fringe blog" too. Or is it a "clown blog"? I'll leave that to you.

Second, there were banners flown over campus. I still do not know who paid for the planes to fly over campus.

We certainly reported on the petition and encouraged our members to sign it. We also reported on the banners as well.

Furthermore, I will tell you about a public records request I made myself in March and for which I am currently awaiting the response. In an attempt to see just where the Bruin community stands on the topic of Steve Alford's continued employment by UCLA, I requested the records of emails sent to or from Dan Guerrero and Gene Block on the topic. I should have that information soon and I'm sure it will be enlightening.

Why is it important? Because I believe that, in light of the decision by Dan Guerrero to allow Steve Alford to continue to coach the UCLA basketball team despite the worst conference finish by the team ever and the team going winless in three attempts against Southern Cal for the first time since the 1940s, the public has a right to know whether Mr. Guerrero chose to ignore the overwhelming wishes of UCLA students, fans and alums or if there was still significant support for Mr. Alford's continued employment.

But, you probably consider that "frivolous", too.


Go Bruins!