Since You Asked: What is the legality of some photos?
Q: What is the legality of posting candid photographs of lawbreakers in the newspaper as with the picture of the young lady talking on her cellphone that was published in the Nov. 29 edition of the Appeal-Democrat? Is her permission required prior to publication?
A: No. Generally speaking, consent isn't needed for photographers to take photos in public places, according to Appeal-Democrat Photo Editor Chris Kaufman.
Even if the subject of a photo is on private property, it is legal if the photographer is standing on public property, such as a street or sidewalk.
In public, there's no expectation of privacy and anybody can photograph anything. The law applies to everybody with a camera, not just journalists — thus, there are all those compromising and embarrassing videos that show up on the Internet.
Unless there's a valid reason to expect some level of privacy in a common area, such as when entering a credit card number or using an ATM machine, it is fair game.
Contrary to what many believe, this includes minors who are on public property. While we generally prefer having parental consent, it is not required.
It also includes house fires, vehicle collisions and people under arrest.
And, yes, it includes minors arrested in public — though, in most cases, the Appeal-Democrat chooses not to publish such photos.
Ella Avenue construction
Q: After the 1997 flood, they took a lot of dirt out of the area on Ella Avenue in Olivehurst. It created a huge hole in the ground which has become a water holding area. They did a lot of work putting in pipes under the road and down the field so the water would drain. Now, they are putting in a pump or dam or something at the north end of the "lake" area. A lot of construction is going on. What is going on?
A: It is a new pumping project under the direction of Reclamation District 784.
Officials confirmed the project last week, but few details were available. Steven Fordice, the district's general manager, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
According to the minutes of a September board of directors meeting, construction on the pump station should wrap up next spring, but the station will be operational some time over the winter.
Other public records indicate the station will make it easier to drain the detention pond between floods.
Since You Asked is published on Mondays. Send questions to reporter Rob Parsons at the Appeal-Democrat, 1530 Ellis Lake Drive, Marysville, CA 95901, email him at email@example.com or call 749-4785.