Email Scandal: It’s Not All Good

As much as El Paso’s city government tries to create the illusion that it’s all good, the fact is that; “El Paso.It’s Not all good”. On one hand we are led to believe that the city is transparent and releasing all of the emails as requested by citizen activists, and then just as quick we find out that the city is actively keeping certain officials from answering open records questions under oath.

The fact of the matter is that we are being fed two different versions of the same story. What is worse is that the local English media still continues to abdicate its responsibility to search and report on the events that are important to the community. The English media, either it takes what is dished out by the city and accepts it as fact or it completely ignores the important events and later states that it was the first to expose the corruption.

As for the ongoing email scandal, yesterday we learned a little bit of more information.

During the call to the public during the city council meeting yesterday we inadvertently learned that the city attorney had received a response to the August 20, 2013 city council action. If you remember, city council had sent letters to Carl Robinson, Debbi Hamlyn, John Cook, Joyce Wilson, Michiel Noe, Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd requesting that they provide the documents on their personal devices as requested by the various pending open records requests.

Subsequently we found out that they had until end of day Monday, September 16, 2013 to respond.

According to yesterday’s public commentary we were told that everyone had responded “in some form or fashion” but the commentary was not clear as to how each individual responded.

Cortney Niland, for her part is obviously trying to revitalize her image before the electorate and in so doing pontificated about how she had complied and that this was the first time the city had officially asked her to do so. We can assume that Niland submitted her required emails from her statement. About her pontification about it being the first time she was asked by the city, it is probably better that I allow you to draw your own conclusion. However I can’t help but comment on how effective can Niland be as a city representative if she doesn’t understand that she directs the city, as opposed to the city directing her.

At about 6:30 in the afternoon, El Paso time, the city posted the response from the following individuals:

Emma Acosta: She replied that she has already turned over all of her responsive documents.

Susie Byrd: She responded that she had previously released the documents and included a picture of a text message exchange between her and Steve Ortega.

John Cook: He responded that he has already released all of the responsive documents.

Debbie Hamlyn: She indicated she did not have any responsive documents. She added that she retired on August 2012.

Eddie Holguin, Jr.: He responded that after searching his accounts he did not have any responsive documents.

Ann Morgan Lilly: She responded that she has searched her personal email accounts and that the responsive documents were enclosed. There was nothing in the packet released by the city.

Michiel Noe: He stated that all responsive documents that they could locate were released. About thirty-three pages were released.

Cortney Niland: She released about thirty pages of Steve Ortega and ballpark campaign materials.

Steve Ortega: As expected, he refused to release his documents, “at this time”.

Carl Robinson: He responded that he does not have a personal email account.

Joyce Wilson: She responded that except for the request pertaining on beating a petition for lack of notary signatures that she does not have any responsive documents.

In tomorrow’s post I’m going to discuss the ramifications of the released documents and the fact that this issue is still far from over. This post is being posted at midnight, eastern time, 10:00pm El Paso Time on September 17, 2013. I am betting that most of the media, if not all has failed to report on this very important transparency issue.

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