Representative Acosta has had mayoral aspirations for quite some time now. And for quite some time that has basically been a pipe dream. She never really had the support for that aspiration in the community.
Anyone who thinks what little support she had still exists are probably the same people who believe that she wasn't aiming the now-infamous agenda item at me. As someone who has seen a lot of politics in this county, I figured that the train-wreck was going to stop at the posting of the agenda item. I figured Acosta and Dora had the skill set to gauge public reaction and would realize the error of their ways and very quietly delete the item.
Just kidding, I knew Dora didn't have that skill set. She has made a career out of being completely disconnected with the views of the community. But I figured Acosta did.
But there are several things Acosta said during the meeting that I want to draw attention to because when elected officials say things that aren't true its important that the community know about it.
First, lets start with something that may or may not be true, but certainly doesn't sound like it is. During the discussion of the item Rep Acosta said that security issues as they relate to releasing phone numbers of third parties was something she has been concerned about for a while.
I'm calling bullshit.
If she was so concerned, then why didn't she raise this issue previously? Why wasn't an issue when Ordaz had the exact same situation come up? Why, in the subsequent 6 or 8 months, has Acosta not uttered a peep about those concerns or put up an agenda item to discuss the issue sooner?
Because I hadn't sent in an open records request to her office yet. Its that simple.
Now, lets go into what Acosta said that is simply not true.
Untrue Statement #1
During her response to me Rep Acosta said, "now as far as open records, I never said don't give anyone open records, I never said go do a background check on anyone, I never said any of that."
Which is comical because in this piece on KVIA's website, Acosta actually says, "I don't think we should be releasing that kind of information to someone who is convicted with charges of moral turpitude."
Untrue Statement #2
As part of her denial that the agenda item has anything to do with me, Acosta says "I don't know when you submitted your open records request Mr. Abeytia".
This is perhaps the most bold of her statements. She's denying that she had knowledge of the open records requests made to her office prior to posting her item.
The only problem with that statement is that the city uses an automated system when you make an open records request. When a request is made, notification goes out to the offices that the requests relates to. My request was made February 25th. I received the first response from the city the day after the city council meeting (Wednesday) - so the idea that she didn't know about my request prior to placing the item on the agenda is easily substantiated by the city's notification system.
In fact, Dr. Noe's office was part of the request, so I wonder if he would corroborate Acosta's story that she didn't know prior to receiving my request?
Untrue Statement #3
Well this one may be half true. Acosta indicates that she didn't have knowledge of my ORR because she doesn't handle them in her office. Which means Dora Oaxaca handles them. So I guess she expects us to believe that Dora Oaxaca received an open records request notification regarding Oaxaca's pay, and an open records request regarding communication and Dora just never told her about it? And then Acosta had her staff put the item on the agenda, Dora didn't read it and therefore had no clue what the issue was and never spoke to Acosta about it?
Yeah right. I don't think there is anyone in City Hall that believes that Acosta had no clue I'd submitted my request before she posted her agenda item.
But wait a second, my second request, filed one day later, was for text message communication for Representatives Acosta and Noe, and their staffers. So even if Acosta expects people to believe that had no knowledge of the first request, she'd have to know about the second one because it would require her to turn over text messages.
Waxing Poetic About Transparency
So I think I'm just going to ignore the fact that Acosta is trying very hard to say that the agenda item had nothing to do with me despite the fact that she didn't raise any concerns until after I sent a request involving her office, and that her staffer put together materials for the agenda item that mention crimes of moral turpitude, highlights my misdemeanor in red, and includes both my name and cell phone number in the material.
And also ignore the fact that she likely violated Texas Open Meetings Act by discussing something that wasn't on the agenda.
Which leaves us with waxing poetic about transparency. After all this discussion about electronic communication devices and transparency this latest development at City Hall exposes the fact that not everyone is all that sincere about transparency. You see you can talk about being transparent and demanding that text messages be turned over, as long as its not your office getting the request. Here's the ugly truth about council, not all of them have a city-issued cell phone and that is for a reason.
Because a city-issued cell phone is a lot easier to get text messages from than a personal cell phone.
But the fact that Ordaz went through the trouble of retrieving deleted messages means that now when a request is done, a city rep can't simply hide behind "no responsive documents" because messages were deleted for whatever reason because Ordaz showed that if you REALLY want to be transparent, you won't just stop at the bare minimum legal requirement.
It will also be interesting to see what the City Attorney does now. Will the same standard of filtering text messages that are responsive to an ORR be applied to other city reps that were applied to Ordaz? Because there was basically none applied to Ordaz. The City Attorney just released everything.
One final note. I'd like to point out what I affectionately will not call the Acosta Shuffle. What is that? Its when you post an item that is one thing, and in the end you talk about something else, and ultimately vote against your own item. Acosta did that with the Pope item. And not only did she vote against her own item, she damn well took the VIP tickets to go see him up close and personal in Juarez.
Just like this agenda item about me that she posted, she ultimately voted to delete her own item. The Acosta Shuffle.