Another Open Email To Miami’s Public Records Department

THIS IS A PUBLIC REPLY

TO: Jones, Isiaa <IJones@miami.gov>
SUBJECT: Frustration Over PRR 16-452: FOIA Request
DATE:
September 28, 2016

CC: Melendez, Eleazar <ElMelendez@miamigov.com>;
Russell, Ken (Commissioner) <krussell@miamigov.com>; Mendez,
Victoria  <VMendez@miamigov.com>; Hannon, Todd
<thannon@miamigov.com>; The Loyal Readers of the Not Now Silly
Newsroom; Various Facebook Groups and Pages of my choosing

Monday
morning I sent an email which stated I’d be at Miami City Hall on
Tuesday to inspect the files you said would be waiting for me. In that
email I asked 2 questions, basically: Whether the fee for the emails I
requested was still on the table and how much it costs to photocopy per
page.

I never got a response to that email, so I didn’t
know when I arrived on Tuesday morning whether my 24 hours notice was
sufficient. Luckily, when I arrived, I was expected.

There were 2
boxes of material for me to look through, but only a small portion of
the total answered any of my search criteria. The rest was just all the
city files that arrived in those boxes from the former-Commissioner’s
office.

While some of it was quite interesting — and
I wish I had the budget to photocopy that entire 2 inch thick Reid
Welch file — and while some of it matched my search criteria, none of
it is what I asked for.

I asked for all of the email, not the files.

I
mentioned this to City Clerk Todd Hannon during a brief conversation
yesterday. He had me second guessing myself because he said I had asked
for everything, and the boxes of files was just one stream for my
request. The other stream was the electronic request for all of the
emails.

I am not sure what instructions Mr.
Hannon received, but this is exactly what I asked for, from my original
email to Commissioner Russell:

I would like to receive any email [from the former District 2 Commissioners office] that references the following keywords:

And, I’m still waiting.

To be perfectly honest, I was requesting the email FIRST in case it gave
me new information to add to a RECORDS search. You see, my RECORDS
search would have come later, based upon what the emails revealed.

I
drove down to Miami from Sunrise yesterday hoping to do all of this on
one trip. No one in the Clerk’s office knew a thing about the email I was supposed to examine.
Aside from the gas wasted, I spent more than 3.5 hours on the road 
[Yeah, it shocked me too. The roads were bad yesterday.]

Thinking
about my time and gas makes me wonder how many keystrokes it took your
IT guy to come up with a cost of $100.31. How many minutes from an IT
guy am I paying for? What is the basic rate?

One
good piece of news: I now know that you charge 15 cents per photocopy,
because I got a few made out of those boxes. That’s Kinko pricing.  

Meanwhile,
I’d like to draw your attention to the penultimate paragraph of a
letter Commissioner Ken Russell sent to the Miami Herald, published
yesterday:

Our decision on Thursday morning is not an easy one, but it is very
simple. Our attorney withheld public records, and I have lost my trust
in her. This cannot be denied, and it’s enough to call for her removal.
What’s at stake, however, is much greater. The commission has this
opportunity to tell the public that we prioritize transparency and
accountability — that we don’t agree that friends in high places should
be able to circumvent our public process.

I’m still waiting for transparency. None of this should be as hard as it has been.


https://www.gofundme.com/NotNowSilly
If you've liked anything you've read at the Not Now Silly Newsroom,  please consider donating to my Go Fund Me campaign to Support Investigative Journalism.
My Freedom of Information requests from the City of Miami are beginning to add up, not to mention all the other costs of researching systemic racism and corruption in Coconut Grove  


Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.