The County unanimously voted to impose a fee on persons submitting certain open records requests. And they were unanimously wrong for doing so.
Some might say I'm sensitive about open records because of the bullshit Emma Acosta and Mike Noe pulled on me a little over a year ago. I'll accept that.
First, lets address the elephant in the room. And by elephant, I mean the Republican Dori Fenenbock. The reality is that this decision by the Court was in response to the fact that the County Judge's office is getting a shit ton of open records requests from Fenenbock's campaign.
The Judge is in the congressional picture and of course Fenenbock is going to try to go through her long public record. Thats a consequence of being a sitting elected official and having a long history. People are going to go through it.
I resent having to pay for public documents out of principle. They are public, which means they are mine. Why do I have to pay you, for my shit. Government things they are a fucking bank, the only other people I can think of that have the audacity to charge you for your own shit.
The reality is that this is a short-term problem and the commissioner court found a way to find the shittiest solution to a short-term problem possible.
The reality is that the fee can't be so much that it serves as a deterrent from making the request of the records. So by definition, this is a policy that is going to disproportionately affect people who aren't wealthy but still want to engage their government.
And sorry to crush the dreams of the Judge's staff, but the fee won't even slow down the Fenenbock team's bid to dig for dirt, which is what the open records requests are all about. They have a shit-ton of money, they can afford any request.
So the only people it disincentives from sending in requests are the people who can't afford it.
Way to go commissioner's court, use a cannon to kill a mosquito.
Now their going to justify this by saying that other entities have charged more for less. Which is true. But, what problem is being solved by enacting this policy? Its not like that amount of money pays for your average county staffer's time.
They are also going to say that other entities charge for the information then why shouldn't they? Well if you weren't charging before, is there a compelling reason to change that policy that doesn't involved the congressional race?
This is feel good, do nothing policy.
Also for those you wondering, the resign to run law doesn't affect school board members, which is why Dori can run around talking about her campaign while still holding her seat as a school board member. The Judge still has to whisper.