I often write about how the public is deceived by the horde, often times through manipulation and other times through incompetence and sometimes through both. Ask the people on the street and most, if not all, would tell you that the city has released the emails sought by Stephanie Townsend Allala and others. The truth is that the city is still refusing to release all of the emails sought in the open records requests. Unfortunately, the average person on the street would not know that because, except for the Diario de Juárez, the latest news in the ongoing email saga is not reported.
Last week, the city filed a court motion to quash the depositions of Susie Byrd, Cortney Niland and Joyce Wilson. The Diario de Juárez reported this fact and as soon as I had a copy of the actual filing I posted it online and let the English media know about it through Twitter, Facebook and on my blog. I know from my blog traffic logs that many downloaded the brief including some in the local media.
As of Sunday, September 8, 2013 the English media has yet to report on this. Why? Is it plain incompetence that the local reporter does not understand the legal filing? Or, is it that the local news media has not gotten an official press release from the city on what to write?
The news media industry has been reeling from the advent of on-demand news with many long-time news outlets disappearing and others, like the El Paso Times, continuously downsizing to stay afloat. Many, old-style news reporters decry how the Internet has destroyed the tradition of reporting news. What the El Paso Times, masquerading as a news outlet, and the news reporters decrying the advent of the blogs have not realized is that news is about providing timely and trustworthy information as quickly and as effectively as possible. Delaying informing the community about the fact that oral depositions are scheduled for Byrd, Niland and Wilson is not only important and relevant to the community but the fact that the city is opposing them raises many important questions that are important to the citizens of El Paso.
Whatever the reason for not reporting the facts; the fact is that the city continues to hinder the quest for public transparency. Why?
Since the local English media does not care about the public’s right to know, we as bloggers need to provide a service they refuse to give to a city desperately looking for open and transparent government.
What is it that the city’s opposition to deposing Byrd, Niland and Wilson tells us?
The first and most important fact is that the city continues to take the position that the public does not have the right to access information about public policy. On one hand the city agrees that public information stored on private email accounts is public information but at the same time information in the hands of Byrd, Niland and Wilson are not.
Why the duplicity?
The next important thing to note is that the city I still spending taxpayer monies on keeping public information secret. Why? Susie Byrd is a former city representative. Why is the city spending public money in obstructing access to the public information under her control? More importantly, under what authority is the city attorney’s office doing this?
The city alleges, in the filing, that the oral depositions are an “attempt to use discovery rules to circumvent the Public Information Act procedures and obtain documents that are not ‘public information’ under the Act”.
The city is alleging that information that it recently agreed was public information is now, not public information. Amazingly the city is arguing that on one hand it agrees with the Texas State Legislature that public information regardless of what device it is on is public, yet not in this case!
More importantly for the community to know is that contrary to the public perception that the Oscar Leeser administration is opening up government and releasing all of the emails the fact is that it is not. The city, through the city attorney’s office is still refusing to cooperate. It is difficult to know if Leeser understands this and is complicit in this action or that the city is lying to him. Without competent news media it is difficult to know what he actually understands in regards to this ongoing saga.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that contrary to Leeser’s stance, that the emails have been released, they in fact have not. Additionally, the city is still spending taxpayer’s funds to continue hiding them.
These are the facts that the horde continuously tries to deflect public attention away from, through propaganda by the useful idiots in their service and an incompetent news media.