May 02, 2015

Playing The Waiting Game On Open Records Request Regarding Shoreacres Election Regulations

I submitted this open records request to the city of Shoreacres in connection with the campaign sign problems being had by candidate's David Jennings and Nancy Schnell.

April 22, 2015

David K. Stall
City Secretary
City of Shoreacres
601 Shore Acres Blvd.
Shoreacres, Texas 77571

Dear Mr. Stall;

Under the Texas Public Information Act, §6252-17a et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that relate to city ordinances and policies regarding the display and placement of campaign and/or political signs within the city limits of the City of Shoreacres. This request specifically includes not only all ordinances or policy statements in effect on or after April 15, 2015, but also all physical and/or electronic correspondence between officials and/or employees of the City of Shoreacres regarding campaign/political signs, as well as their physical/electronic correspondence to or from officials/employees of other government entities and their physical/electronic correspondence to or from members of the public on or after April 15, 2015.

If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $20.00. However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of the city’s stance on the First Amendment rights of citizens to engage in political speech. I am asking for these records in my capacity as a citizen-journalist who regularly publishes the political blog Rhymes With Right(, which is based in Seabrook, and as a politically active citizen who anticipates engaging in political speech and activity within the City of Shoreacres in connection with current and future elections. This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.

The Texas Public Information Act requires that you "promptly produce" the requested records unless, within 10 days, you have sought an Attorney General's Opinion. If you expect a significant delay in responding to this request, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

Thank you for considering my request.

Gregory S. Aydt

One would think that since they are currently in the midst of city council elections (early voting is ongoing, and election day is one week from today) that such material would be at hand and easily available for release to interested citizens. Indeed, it is my understanding that the initial sign issue has been resolved between the candidates and the city -- within 24 hours after my having submitted this request for public information. So why is it that we are eight business days into the ten business day period for response and I have heard nothing on the matter from city officials? Is it simply a control issue whereby public officials seek to avoid letting citizens know what government is doing behind closed doors? Or is there something that is actually being hidden?

I should know by Tuesday afternoon -- the tenth business day following my request being both emailed and hand-delivered to Shoreacres.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

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Comments on Playing The Waiting Game On Open Records Request Regarding Shoreacres Election Regulations

It is amusing to see the control that our current and previous administration has allowed a hired employee to have…Then the big issue is the election signs? Our elected officials have a total lack of respect for the community and the positions that are held. The community should have a voice and elected officials did their job to bridge the gap and investigate the issues and concerns like why every year the signs are illegally moved or why our own elected officials would allow the open records act regulations to defy its own citizens! FEDUP said Ron Hopkins was unqualified because he is a pizza guy…Embarrassment and Total disregard for the position are the "professional and educated" ones in office now and look at the accomplishments! Stalls is a very smart man…even more clever than given credit for…The ability to convince a council man and Mayor to pass the Employment Contract that even secures his legal matters on our dollar, the ability to obtain multiple positions in our city and remove the protection of the "checks and balances" in monopolizing all avenues of our rights by the people we vote for and for a lack of a better judgement the candidates are proud and think our issue is spending! Does anyone not see a problem with this? The self involved important guy that knows whats wrong with this city would remove the restraints and open the doors to the community. Its a bit of common sense to see that we have a lot of challenges in our city…How many years in a row are we surprised by the employees violating the ordinances like campaign signs? Unless you just moved it happens every year! Just this year…David Jennings, because the lack of action from your elected officials from years past…gets to experience the preverbal attack… The same actions of Public Info was requested…Do you still think that our city issues are just spending? Your campaign that the voters need to vote for change…The discharge of a firearm in a city vehicle was swept under a rug…the destruction of city property and no drug test but Stall overlooked the need at his discretion…As a property owner you dare to overlook an ordinance or disagree and the legal battle doesn't subside! I am appalled that we have the ability to deliberately ignore the actions…Either we have elected officials that lack knowledge of right and wrong…or the spine to accept responsibility of the position and exercise it. This year lets see if there is record attendance at council meetings…Our usual number is what 5! The real joke is the pride that is displayed I would imagine the thoughts are as such…"I am a proud elected official that takes orders from a paid employee because the lack of common sense and the desperate need for approval by a leader!" Or better yet…"I made a difference in my elected capacity…Taxes at the highest yet, best employee contracts and everyone thinks we do such a good job. "My opinion matters so much when given to me by the City Secretary." "When I look confused while campaigning with all my achievements displayed with pride the giggles and pointing are because they voted for me!"

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