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Public Records Request of 6.26.18

Here’s a brief post to describe a public records request that I submitted to the City of Whitewater and Whitewater Community Development Authority on 6.26.18. The request – in summary – comprised three items:

1. Any audio or video recording of the 6.19.18 Common Council session, including a recording of only part of the full session.

2. Records created after 5.15.18 concerning grocery store recruitment
under the control of the Community Development Authority or City of
Whitewater, including – but not limited to – any Community Development Authority presentation on grocery store recruitment prepared or delivered after 5.15.18.

3. Records concerning stated technical difficulties in the broadcast
or rebroadcast of the 6.19.18 Common Council session, including – but
not limited to – descriptions and explanations of those stated
technical difficulties, and any remedial plan regarding those stated
difficulties.

The city has already sent a partial reply, and understandably collection of the other items will take more time.

When the city’s entire reply comes in, I will post the full public records request and that entire reply.

It seems better to mention this now, as longtime readers know that I believe there’s good reason for a town blogger to avoid undisclosed communications with public institutions.

(I’ve had occasional messages from officials and replied to them, and have sent a brief email question perhaps once or twice a year, but it serves no good purpose for there to be more.)

There are too many people in this small and beautiful city who seek – and falsely believe they merit – special and private consideration from public institutions. One needn’t – and shouldn’t – imitate the bad practices of a few city residents who presumptuously think themselves entitled.

There are only residents, each no higher or lower than any other.  Our provisions of open government, and the long political tradition that cradles them, are available equally to all.

I’ll post more when everything’s in.

9 comments for “Public Records Request of 6.26.18

  1. A Town Squire
    06/27/2018 at 12:37 PM

    Guess it’s my time at bat today.
    Thanks for asking for this information.
    We get less and less except for calendars and entertainment events.
    Schools are much worse. How is it even POSSIBLE that we can’t watch the school board on tv unless someone feels like it? Why is it only online when someone feels like it? We’d like to know straight from the horse’s mouth. That doesn’t mean some DU “news” coverage.
    We pay taxes for these people but they act like we work for them.That is also a joke because I would never treat my employees like this.
    Good job asking.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      06/27/2018 at 3:33 PM

      This is a records request to the City of Whitewater and Community Development Authority, but it’s true that there are, also, important issues to explore elsewhere. Others have written to me directly with similar concerns. There’s a work in progress that I hope will address, at least, some of them.

  2. RD
    06/27/2018 at 1:03 PM

    It’s really weird that a big topic like the grocery requires someone asking. that makes no sense.
    School information depends on the kind it is. We still get sports, music, and some academics, but the new administrator must work on a stealth mode for meetings. We always saw the meetings that same night and they were online really fast. Not now. The city and the district share the same spot for videos which is also weird since the district already has a website.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      06/27/2018 at 3:41 PM

      One can’t say with certainty what particular leaders think about these issues, but the longer one writes the more one realizes that it’s better to proceed without concern over that. Seven people with a mistaken notion are no more compelling than one person with a mistaken notion. They make think themselves more formidable, but that’s seldom true. If anything, groups or organizations that go astray are less formidable as they become more numerous – they pull each other down.

  3. Attendee
    06/27/2018 at 2:10 PM

    Grocery situation is a sticky mess but we deserve to know. Like everyone else, thanks for asking for info the C.D.A. owed us. C stands for community, guys.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      06/27/2018 at 3:51 PM

      A public institution should never become an ornament of private pride.

  4. Mark
    06/27/2018 at 9:31 PM

    From the District Administrator of the Whitewater Unified School District. Yes, we have been experiencing difficulties streaming the regular board meeting live on Charter for the past couple of months and are working to resolve the issue. We have rebuilt the current system, but there is still some instability. Both the city and district are working to resolve the issue. If this option does not work, we will probably purchase a next system.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      06/28/2018 at 6:50 AM

      Thank you for reading, and for your reply. Whitewater has had live televised meetings of her council and district board meetings for many years, so it’s understandable that their absence would surprise residents. Some years ago, in 2010, there was a decision to expand the number of recorded municipal meetings, and to place those additional recorded meetings and council meetings online. That was the right choice, of which I was (if anything, to understate the matter) a strong advocate. It was the right choice for this city, as open government is the foundation of good government. All those who supported that effort, at that time, moved Whitewater toward a leading position for transparency in our part of the state.

      Both the city and school district have important matters before them, and proposals yet to be presented. The best record is a recording. (One can see that the latest school board meeting is now online.) One would suggest that until repairs or a replacement are available, those meetings be placed online as quickly as possible, and that the district explain ongoing efforts. Residents will credit a good faith effort; they cannot credit that of which they are unaware. (For the city or the district, a good plan would to use a video recording if a live broadcast fails, and an audio recording if a video recording fails.)

      In all cases, a permanent online repository of recordings affords both residents & officials a truly reliable account of a session’s proceedings. That’s good in-and-of itself, and for the confidence in a stable, orderly politics it produces.

  5. RD
    06/28/2018 at 9:57 AM

    It’s good to see a reply to people on this. That’s also a nice summary of Whitewater’s history. People will be curious to read what the city sends.