Thursday, March 17, 2016

Games the City Plays

The City of El Paso is really starting to get on my nerves with their little games. I can only imagine the crap that goes on with average El Pasoans who don't have a platform to air some of this crap out.

So time to shine a little like on the crap the City is pulling. Nearly every time I file an open records request, not matter how clear the language, they send me a clarification letter. For those of you keeping score at home, its a request they send to clarify something that is unclear in the letter and it essentially buys the City 10 more days from the day you respond.

If you respond. If you don't, then they are off the hook.

So here is the letter I received from the City. Stick around for my response at the bottom:




This was my response (I have a screenshot of it at the end but I thought I'd paste the text here to make it easier to read):

Ms. Leyva,

Please consider this email a response to the attached letter regarding your request for clarification. I thank you for bringing to my attention that there is a similar request in the works, but while that request may have similar elements of my request, it differs substantially from my request. At least as it was relayed to me. 

I will NOT accept the other request as it is insufficiently responsive to my request. 

The language of my request was very clear. In your letter you set forth two provisions for the time frame and search terms. These provisions, which include a time frame and search terms are not relevant to my request. The language of my request very clearly indicates what information I am looking for and since your letter actually quotes what I requested was anything “related to the development, implementation, and consideration of City Council Agenda Item 16.2 (council meeting 3/8/16)” then the time frame is very clear. 

Since I am looking for more than just emails, a point I also made in my request that you also quoted, the provision of search terms is unnecessary. This appears to be yet another tactic to stall, delay, and impede the release of documents relative to my request. 

Let me be abundantly clear, I don’t personally care what search terms are used, or if they are used at all, or what method is used to collect documents and records responsive to my request. I want any and all documents and records that are responsive to my request. I don’t care how you do it, so long as what is provided to me represents any and all documents and records that are responsive to my request. The language set forth in my request is clear and concise. There should be no need for further delay.

If you have further questions as to the substance or my request, please do not hesitate to contact me at (915) 694-5714. Rep Acosta has published that number at a city council meeting, so it is certainly available to anyone. You may also reach me via email at thelionstarblog@gmail.com.

I DO NOT consider this matter closed until my request is fulfilled in accordance with the Texas Open Records Act. 

Your Pal,

Jaime





3 comments:

Thomas said...

Jaime
No way narrow your request. Also send a hard copy to in responses to their letter with dates of the e-mail responses. Oh do not be surprised if they tell you they never got your e-mail or it got lost. Double sent the e-mail. Yep seen this game before and this happens a lot of time in an attempt to have time to cover up and do not be at all surprised that in refusing to narrow your request that they try and paper the shit out of you with so many records they believe you will not sort through them or make a records dump so big they think it makes the records cost prohibitive for you. Jaime if it looks like a big records dump ask for your right to review the dump. Also make sure you bring your own computer if you are getting the records electronically, which cost wise is cheaper than hard copy, to review them.
Also I would a video any and all verbal exchanges with city staff in going through the records review process.
Jaime also remember if even once, no matter how limited, you are asked the reason you want these records document it and file a complaint.
Almost every time we have seen El Paso government do this they are trying to hide something they do not want the public to know.
Also if you find that they dump a lot of records not pursuant to your request file a complaint with the County Attorney's office.

Thomas said...

Jaime
One other thing to watch closely is the City attorney arbitrarily combining your two open records request into one on the ground claiming that the requests are redundant. To deal with this they know that will mean you will have to go to the Texas AG's office to get an opinion and they know this just slows down the process rendering the requested records even more. Their hope,if they do this,is that you will just go away.

Anonymous said...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-federal-government-no-longer-cares-about-disclosing-public-information/2016/03/10/7e0bf1bc-e631-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html