In yesterday’s post I had to pretend to be a news reporter in order to bring you up to date on the latest in regards to the Stephanie Townsend Allala’s open records request. Many of you complain about my constant criticism of the El Paso local news media outlets, however political commentary is about discussing the political topics of the city. In order to intelligently discuss the issues it is important to have a basis from where to start. That basis is normally the news media reports of the issues.
Unfortunately in El Paso the local news media does not give us a basis from which to discuss the political issues. Case in point is the city’s filing of an appeal regarding a judge’s ruling on a topical issue that not only has political overtones but it is also the basis of an open society; the access to government records. Wherever you fall on the ongoing open records issue in regards to access to government records in private email accounts I believe that the majority of us, if not all of us, would agree that knowing the status of the open records litigation is important to the discussion.
Yes, I am fully cognizant that the news media is undergoing a fundamental transformation on how it delivers the news to the audience. However the delivery of the news should not interfere with the basis of journalism. Journalism is about informing the community about the relevant news items that impacts the members of the community.
Consider the Stephanie Townsend Allala quest for government transparency. The general community consciousness knows that the city at first argued that emails in the private emails boxes of elected officials were not public records. After a change in government leadership the general perception was that the city government had dropped all litigation and was releasing the records it had previously refused to release. There was also the notion that former and current city officials were going to have to answer questions under oath. There were some unresolved issues however from strictly a general news media perspective this is where the issue stood.
Last Tuesday, as I wrote yesterday, city council discussed the litigation against the Texas Attorney General and no official public motion was made about the item. Later that day, city council issued a press release that in part stated that the City Attorney’s Office was proceeding according to the direction given to it by city council.
Except for the Diario de Juárez that reported the city’s press release no other media outlet reported anything other than to state that city council took no action on the executive session item.
I continuously criticize the El Paso Times masquerading as a newspaper and KVIA but in this case all of the news media outlets, including the Diario de Juárez did not report on an important issue to the community. Keep in mind that the city issued a press release as well as Stephanie Townsend Allala’s attorney last Tuesday and Wednesday.
In order for me to comment on an issue you need to be aware about the latest information about the subject. Some of you argue that not all what I believe as important should be reported on by the media. However in this case the fact that scheduled depositions on two former city representatives, a current one and the city manager were scheduled for this month were either rejected by the court or would proceed are relevant and important facts that the media should have reported on. Of course the city filing an appeal to the court’s ruling should also be important news.
Not one news outlet reported these important news items to you. In order for me to comment on them I had to report them to you.
I’m just focusing on the factual news about the status of the open records request litigation and I haven’t even commented on the irony that not one local news outlet is fighting for government transparency.
I know most of you are tired about my constant barrage about the endemic corruption in the city. Some of you believe I completely exaggerate the corruption and some of you opine that I’m just plain crazy and that there is no corruption in the city. Of course a few of you just hope I’d get a life and simply go away.
However you feel about me you should still be outraged that no news media outlet in El Paso considered it important enough to inform you that the deposition scheduled for Steve Ortega has been stayed because the city has filed an appeal. Because the fact is that you wouldn’t know about it if I hadn’t pretended to be a news reporter for a day.