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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

OCTOBER 30, 2013

DEAR CITY EMPLOYEES

One of the unintended consequences of my activities during the last few years was making folks in Regaladoland understand the danger that public records represented for those folks who were trying to screw the pooch.


Unfortunately, former City Attorney Julie Bru played an unnecessary part in the nonsense that led to the designation of Angel Zayon as the “point person” for almost all public records requests made to various city departments.


That decision, and the often irrational rants of Luis Cabrera, who at one point had me barred from the MRC, compounded the existing problems created by certain, poorly trained city employees, who on their own decided that the public records law should reflect their own view of how the law should work, rather that how the Florida Legislature mandated that it work.


I’m far from the only person who has had problems with access to public records recently, but because access to public records is central to much of what I do and write about, I take it personal when some employee attempts to deny me a document, or worse, engages in dickish behavior by refusing to provide me with a document I have a legal right to request.


Now, just for the record, there are also folks in the city who know the law, obey the law, even at times when they’ve been put under severe pressure by a handful of higher ups not to do so. I value and appreciate their courage and willingness to standup against the bullshit.


However, no city employee should ever be put upon to withhold public records to anyone for political reasons, or because the document reveals information of wring doing.


The best way for folks not to be embarrassed by documents that reveal their misbehavior is to quit misbehaving!


With the appointment of Victoria Mendez as the new City Attorney I thought that perhaps this was the time to try and recalibrate the whole issue of public records, and not only focus on the rights of folks to have access to the public records of the City of Miami, but also to bring attention to the serious problems associated with the practice of turning the production of public records into a money making operation.


Below is a copy of the letter that I hand-delivered to Ms. Mendez, the Mayor, members of the City Commission, Acting City Manager and  City Clerk on Monday afternoon.


I believe it spells out most of the current problems involving compliance with Florida’s Public Records Law, and provides sufficient case history to establish that not only is this the law, but that a number of courts have previously ruled on disputes involving some of these issues, and determined that cities like Miami could not do then do what Miami is attempting to do now.


I will be writing and posting another letter by the end of the week that illustrates in more detail what I mean by “dickish behavior.”


Until then, thanks to the folks who do the right thing, and here’s hoping that other folks understand that the days of Miami being a Banana Republic when it comes to obeying Florida’s Public Records Law is going to come to an end.


Following the letter I have attached a copy of the 2013 Sunshine Manuel.  You can download it as a PDF, and it has virtually all of the information that can provide you with answers to any questions you might have about public records.


Thank you,

al crespo

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