The ongoing case of Stephanie Townsend Allala’s quest for government transparency is expected to be heard today in court. As you know, Steve Ortega continues to refuse to release the public records in his possession and the city continues to pay an outside law firm to allow him to do that.
According to city council testimony on May 20, 2014, the city has spent is about $95 thousand dollars litigating the case. The city continues to argue that it has done all it can within its authority to gather the records and release them to the public. The city further argues that it does not have the authority to compel Steve Ortega to release the records and therefore it has done all it can.
According to the city’s argument, the only person that can force the release of the records is Jaime Esparza, the district attorney. The problem, though, is that the city needs to file a complaint with Jaime Esparza’s office in order for the district attorney to investigate. The city has not filed a complaint with Esparza’s office and therefore it effectively condones Steve Ortega’s refusal to release the records he holds.
Today’s court case is expected to address whether the city has, in fact done all it can to force Steve Ortega to comply with the open records laws.
For a complete recap of the ongoing saga of the emails being kept from public scrutiny, use this link.