Three bloggers have some interesting stories about their Freedom of Information (FOIA) escapades.
In Kentucky, Page One has a post about the State Treasurer withholding public records.
On August 27 I filed an open records request for the following:
* All time sheets, calendars and schedules for State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach from the first date of his official service as Treasurer to present day * Security camera footage from front entrance that would provide visual confirmation of arrival and departure of Todd Hollenbach from the first date of his service as Treasurer to current
On September 3 I received a letter from Deputy State Treasurer Mary John Celleti:
The Kentucky State Treasury is in receipt of your Open Records Request seeking copies regarding:
1. All time sheets, calendars and schedules for State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach 2. Security camera footage from the front entrance, confirming Treasurer Hollenbach’s arrival and departure.
Please be advised that the Treasury is in the process of filling said request and it may take some time to gather and review all the requested information. Due to the expansive nature of the security camera footage the request may be expected to take more than ten days. Once the documentation has been gathered and reviewed, it will be made available to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to call
It’s now been a month since I filed the request, so I decided to poke around a bit. Low and behold, with the help of great sources, I’ve learned that Todd Hollenbach and his henchman are trying to prevent access to the requested documents. Documents and media which, according to four people in the office of the Treasurer, prove that: Todd Hollenbach barely ever shows up for work, spends most days at a country club and goes out of his way to do absolutely nothing. So you know he’s got something to hide.
This is a pretty harsh claim but the point should be clear. ANSWER YOUR FOIA REQUESTS! By deciding to not disclose lawmakers hurt themselves in the public eye. Then they have to deal with sharp bloggers picking on them.
In Arizona, Expresso Pundit has a post also about withholding public records and how a Councilman helped him get the records he wanted.
Surely you recall the Desert Divas. That’s the ultra expensive VIP Prostitution ring that police busted last year.
Back in February, it looked like the case was going to break wide open…Prosecutors were naming names
Today, Phoenix police offered to the media a list of thousands of names in two hefty PDF documents.
Unfortunately, the list was a bust…so to speak. Prosecutors did indeed name names, but they didn’t provide addresses. That meant that none of us had any idea if “John Smith” was THE John Smith that you know from the office, or tennis, or church. Without the addresses, the list was essentially meaningless.
So I went to Phoenix Police and said I wanted the whole list….you could hear the laughter from quite a distance. Every media outlet in the state wanted the full list and Phoenix PD wasn’t going to provide it.
I pointed out that the clients on the list were neither victims or witnesses and that the record was obviously public.
The Phoenix PIO who called back, said simply, “Good Luck”.
After a few months of dead ends, I finally went to my Secret Weapon–Sal DiCiccio. Councilman DiCiccio thinks that if information is public that it should actually be available to…you know…the public. DiCiccio sent his right hand guy, former Tribune writer Hal DeKeyser to take care of it and by golly, they stone walled him too…but persistence pays off.
I got a call last week that the list was available on CD. Well, you are the public too, So here’s your copy.
It is great to see an elected official so committed to freedom of information that they will get the information for citizens. Also thanks Expresso Pundit for posting the results online so others can find it.
In Ohio, River Vices submitted a FOIA request and got a unique response.
Under Ohio’s Open Public Records Law, I am requesting a copy of the written agreement between the city and the Portsmouth Kiwanis Club for a playground in Tracy Park. A week ago, on Sept. 18th, 2009, at a public meeting in Tracy Park,in response to a question, Rick Morgan of Kiwanis publicly acknowledged that such a written agreement existed, but neither he nor you have yet made that agreement public. Please notify me by email when I can pick up a copy of that agreement.
Per your public records request;
You are correct in stating that at the meeting in the park the fact was “acknowledged that such a written agreement existed”. What I don’t understand is why you feel that a confirmation of this fact would necessitate a publication or distribution of the mentioned document.
As you requested, a copy of the document has been prepared for you to pick up at my office. Our regular office hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.
If there is anything else that I can do for you, which is required by law, don’t hesitate to call my office. If it isn’t required by law then don’t bother asking, because I think that you’re a worthless piece of s**t and I wouldn’t p**s on you if you were on fire (my opinion). You’re a poor, lonely, jealous, old man with aspirations of being a writer. You write your lies and uneducated opinions on people and issues from behind the safety of your slobber stained keyboard with the hope that somebody will read them that doesn’t know you and believe that you’re more than the pitiful, broke-down, lizard-looking thing that you are, in my opinion. Get a life old man. On second thought, don’t bother…………..
I do have a question for you. Do you have family and if so do they even like you?
Looking forward to your next Internet issue of “FORREY’S FOLLIES”…..NOOOTTTTTT
With little respect for you, Mayor James D. Kalb
Now that’s freedom of speech at its best, in my opinion.
The mayor of of Portsmouth does get points for answering the FOIA but it seems that he might want to work on his prose.