Saturday, September 17, 2016

Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 6

I've spent much of the last few days meeting with and exchanging e-mails with various local journalists concerning the problems we are having with Greensboro's responses to public records requests. One thing we all agree upon: the actions of the City of Greensboro are intentional and deliberate. Exactly what they are hiding we do not know but it is big enough that they spent over $100,000 to keep it out of court in Robert v. City of Greensboro and have possibly been paying as much as $100,000 a month to each reputation management company they might have hired to clean up the mess.

It could be someone with a lot of influence locally has embezzled a lot of local tax dollars. It could be someone in a position of power is operating a brothel. It could be someone's previous involvement in the Ashley Madison scandal. It could be anything. But whatever it is it is big and big money is being spent to keep it under wraps.

Every blogger and media outlet needs to be searching their own websites to see what might be missing as this may well have begun several years ago.

I'm going to leave a few things out to give our local journalists the chance to report them first and I hope they discover more than I am able to learn on my own. And should they not run their stories I'll post the e-mail conversations we've had. But I'm going to be patient as lots of people are working on this issue.

One of those working on it is Roch Smith jr who just today posted an article entitled, Greensboro to state: Do as we say, not as we do. In it Roch wrote:

"Meanwhile, I await city council emails regarding the history behind the city’s adoption of a police body camera video policy. The city says it found 600 emails on its servers (of which it has released none in the two months since the search was completed)."

Roch also writes:

"I’m not a lawyer and the law is the law. It doesn’t get made right or wrong because one party to a lawsuit is disobeying it even while asking the other party to obey. But if the City of Greensboro is arguing in court that emails relating to the formation of state law should be released, then surely the same should be true for emails relating to the development of city policy. Right?"

And don't you think it ironic that at the exact same time the City Council is suing the State for public records, I'm suing Mayor Vaughan, City Manager Jim Westmorland and the City of Greensboro for the exact same thing?

The City has only waited a few months on the State to produce public records, myself and others have waited almost a year on the City to do the same. How can the City of Greensboro justify making us wait longer than the State has made the City Council wait?

Like Roch said, "Do as we say, not as we do."

You can bet that will end when I am elected Mayor of Greensboro in 2017.

As I've written before, except for a brief respite when Sarah Healy was in charge of public records, this has been a problem for years and it appears we are no closer to a solution today than we were on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 when Roch wrote in No objections from Council as City bestows special secrecy on candidates:

"The City of Greensboro has a public records request tracking system, PIRT, they call it: Public Information Request Tracking. It is supposedly for the purpose of tracking requests for city records.
It's a sham. A costly, time wasting, frustrating sham that has been perverted into a means of delay, bullying and intimidation imposed on a select few members of the public.
Only a small number of certain individuals' requests are entered into the tracking system, those mostly being some local bloggers, labor representatives and reporters from Yes!Weekly—whom the City previously tried to stop from publishing with a secret lawsuit (the City lost)."

Roch pointed out how many were receiving PIRTs without being logged into the system. To this day many of the same are regularly given public information without being logged into the system so that others don't know what they are looking for. Of course that wouldn't be a problem if the City were to adopt my proposal.

Stay tuned for Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 7.

And if you haven't seen the rest you can begin with Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 1 and follow the links back to here.