Sunday, November 20, 2011

Calling Brad Winter's bluff.

City Councilor and APS Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter said; if I file a request for public records, he will surrender a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the John Milne Boardroom at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

Ever since they built a still to be justified new Boardroom, I have been trying to find out how much money they spent. I've heard rumors that the chairs that board members lounge in for two hours two times a month, cost taxpayers $800 each. It could be that everyone that tells the story adds a hundred dollars. Or it could be that they actually did spend that much, or more.

It's not so much, the amount of money they spent, as it is, what they could or should have spent the money on instead. At the time they were building and furnishing their board room, elementary school students at Susie Rayos Marmon were going to class in out dated and leaky portable classrooms. At the same time they were building their board room, they had eliminated fire safety inspections in schools as "a cost saving measure".

The first time I asked Winter for a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the John Milne Boardroom, he wrote;

"I will get you the information."
'We will pull the information for you and have by Friday.
(emphasis added)
Brad Winter"
Well that was more than three years ago. It was January 9th, 2008.

So I called him on his stonewalling; in public and on the record.

He said he would surrender the information if I put it in the form of a formal request for public records.

Every other person who attended the same District Goals meeting at Manzano High School was given a completely different option, they were told;
If you have a question, write it on the green card in front of you and we will get back to you.
No fuss, no muss.

No green card for me. I have to make a "formal" request; disparate treatment under the law.

It means that I now have to "prove" I have the right to see the public records of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd. I have to go to Rigo Chavez' office in person, to inspect or copy the records. In so doing, I will expose myself to harassment the APS Police Department, and be accused of "stalking" (by) Monica Armenta. I will have to pay for copies at an unjustifiable cost or bring my own scanner.

Winter finds himself in a jam; the leadership of the APS will never surrender public records against their self-interests. It is Winter's job to hide the truth. If pushed, they will dip into their unlimited litigation budget and pay their lawyers to litigate for them, an exception to the law.

Right now, they're burning up dollars that could be spent in classrooms, to pay lawyers to argue that the Caswell Report, an independent investigation of corruption in the APS Police Department, (paid for with more funding otherwise destined for schools) is not a public record.

They and their lawyers will keep the Caswell Report from public knowledge. They will continue to hide the identities of APS senior administrators who committed felony criminal acts. And they will continue to hide the identities of the senior administrators and board members who are covering it all up.

It's the way they roll.

Bottom line; I called Winter's bluff. I filed a formal request for the public records of spending on the board room.

If they respond like they routinely do; I will receive snail mail from Chavez a day after the three day deadline to respond has expired, acknowledging my request and informing me that they will take the "15 days allowed by the law" to surrender the records. The law "allows" 15 days only if necessary. Under the Inspection of Public Records Act, they are required to surrender immediately available records, immediately.

If I complain, I will be reminded that I am free to sue them to recover the truth about the spending of our power and our resources.

photo Mark Bralley

Update; to date, 5/17/13 those records are yet to be produced.

No comments: