As most of you already know the city filed a series of motions on September 18, 2013. One of the motions filed by the city was one asking the judge to rule whether the court still has jurisdiction over the matter. According to the city, the city has already complied and done everything it can to meet the open records request filed by Stephanie Townsend Allala.
This one motion, filed by city, put a temporary hold on all of the other pending motions as the judge was forced to consider whether the city’s motion had any validity.
Next Monday, September 30, 2013, the judge is expected to rule on that motion.
Depending on the judge’s ruling, whether to accept the city’s motion to terminate the lawsuit or deny it will determine whether the rest of the motions, including the city’s request to quash the depositions of Susie Byrd, Courtney Niland and Joyce Wilson, will be heard by the court.
You can get an update on the various motions and issue on this case by reading my previous blog; “The Latest on the Email Scandal”.
However, regardless of the judge’s decision you can expect that the losing party will immediately move to appeal at the next higher court.
Therefore this issue is far from over.
More importantly, it is important to note that although the city’s position is that it has complied with the open records request filed by Stephanie Townsend Allala, the fact is that it has not.
First, Steve Ortega has refused to release his emails. As the city is the custodian of government records it has a fiduciary responsibility to compel Steve Ortega to comply by releasing his records as per the open records request.
Second, although city officials have released some emails they have refused to state under oath that they fully complied.
Don’t fall for the legal mumbo-jumbo that the city will perpetuate through the compliant news media. The city has acknowledged by its actions, including making an ordinance that government records, wherever they may reside are the people’s property. To pretend that those records generated before the latest ordinance are not part of the body of government records is an outright lie.
The other thing to remember is that contrary to this city council’s directive that the emails be released and the case be settled as quickly as possible, the fact is that the city attorney’s office has not done so.
Even worse is that the city attorney is spending your tax dollars to continue to keep some records secret.
Whether the Oscar Leeser administration is complicit in this, either via incompetence by not asking direct questions of the city attorney’s office or because the city attorney is lying to the mayor’s office is yet to be seen.
Regardless, the information about this ongoing debacle is clearly in the public realm and therefore city council has a responsibility and a mandate to openly and transparently demand an explanation from the city attorney’s office with the goal of taking the steps to stop the taxpayer monies to continue hemorrhaging in insulating and protecting Byrd and Ortega who are no longer city officials.
If city council and the Oscar Leeser administration are serious about enforcing government transparency then the first step is to end the lawsuit immediately.
The time for games on the taxpayer dole is over.