As you may remember, on October 9, 2013 I posted “Is the City Playing Games with Open Records?” In that post, and the previous one; “Money Orders and the City of El Paso” I described the two issues I was having with the city in fulfilling my open records requests. The first issue is that apparently my clearly detailed requests for information are being responded to with incomplete or erroneous information. The second issue is that the city has written to me that it cannot accept money orders for the fees associated with my open records requests.

In regards to the issue about money orders two things have transpired since I first share my experience with you. The first is that the city has decided to accept my money orders, for now. It is unclear if this will be for all future open records requests or if it is only for the current one.

In an email I received on October 14, 2013, the Public Information Coordinator wrote;

A money order will be fine. Although the City is not setup to take money orders, I explained your situation to the Comptroller last time and he is working with me to ensure we can process any that you send us.

Ms. Lopez was responding to an email she has sent me updating me on my pending open records request. Originally the city had asked me for about $116 to fulfill my request. Apparently my request yielded six DVDs of information. In response, after acceding to my money order, the city sent me another invoice for an additional $150 in fees to complete the process.

It took me various emails asking for an update to get to the point of receiving the second invoice.

Notwithstanding my concern with the city’s apparent inability to process money orders for open records requests although other city departments can accept them I am also now questioning why is it that I received an invoice for about $116 originally and after the money order back-and-forth the city is now requesting another $150.

Although the original invoice for $116 was an estimate of fees to complete the process I question why the original “estimate” could not have been more accurate? If the city has determined that it will take six DVDs they somehow had already estimated the amount of data, its location and the man hours it would take to send me the responsive documents.

After first declining to accept my original payment they then update the amount of fees to include an additional $150. I get the feeling that the city is attempting to discourage my current open records request through arbitrary fees, escalating each time I make a payment.

In regards to the issue of money orders the city seems to have decided that money orders for open records requests are not acceptable yet, as I pointed out on my other post it is accepted by other city departments.

During the weekend a blog reader pointed me to a comment made by Debbie Nathan on the Chuqueño blog. Under “Ortega’s Gambit”, Debbie Nathan had posted, through the comments section, a link to an open records request from April 7, 2011 made by KVIA.

In that open records request, the city issued an invoice dated April 21, 2011 to KVIA asking for $17.20 in fees. According to that invoice, the city wrote “Please submit your check or money order payable” to the city.

There are only two things that I can draw from my experience and KVIA’s from 2011. Either the city unilaterally decided that money orders were not acceptable for open records requests sometime after 2011 or the decision not to accept my money order has to do with me or my request specifically.

At first my initial thought was that it was a bureaucratic glitch in the process. However when you take into account that my request increased in fees from an original $116 to over $250 in the timespan from my first payment to the city finally accepting my money order I can’t help but wonder if there is something else at play here.

As if that wasn’t enough, David Karlsruher has suggested that I missed several companies that his parent’s own when I wrote “The Motives of Useful Idiot David Karlsruher”. I then noticed that in the back up material to a city council agenda item there was a reference to “CSA Engineers & Constructors” and an award to them in 2010. When I had submitted my original open records request on the Karlsruher’s business with the city I had requested a breakdown by year from 2000 through 2012 for the four company names I’m aware that the Karlsruher’s operate under.

The city responded with a breakdown for one company name; “CSA Design Group”. As I previously wrote I wasn’t initially bothered by the fact that I received a breakdown under on company name because it is common for businesses to handle money through one company although they may be known by many.

However the backup material in the city agenda and the money order debacle now has me wondering if there is a problem with the way open records requests are being handled. I am beginning to doubt the accuracy of the information provided to me.

Last Friday I submitted individual open records request for each company name under which the Karlsruhers operate under according to the information available to me. Each of those is the same names and time frames I used in my original request, however this time I submitted then separately. I expect to receive the same data I received in my original request, or I will receive additional information. If it is the latter, then I will ask for an explanation as to why I was given different information initially.

Depending on the answer I will decide how to proceed.

In order for transparency in government to work we must be able to rely on the accuracy of the records provided. In regards to the money order situation, I will first wait to receive the response to the open records request that initiated the question about money orders.

After that I will ask for a clarification of how, why and when the policy was made for denying the use of money orders for open records request. I want to know under what authority and who ultimately made the decision for this policy.

I will keep you informed as I continue through the process.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

10 replies on “Open Records Request Update”

  1. Martin I think the city actually helped you by providing you some things you didn’t ask for. If you understood the design and construction industry better, you’d be able to get what you are looking for. The person who bankrolls your blog ought to be able to explain this to you. He is familiar with the business.

    I can sum up what you are going to find – when I started blogging my parent’s firm got less design work, which is a qualification base selection system (subjective). That’s why certain names are returning nothing – the city specifically avoided doing business with us. So your hypothesis is wrecked.

    As for construction bidding – it’s lowest responsible bidder. My blogs mean nothing when it comes to that… Oh wait – we had a project yanked from us just two weeks ago that proves your hypothesis not only wrong, but the exact opposite of what you claim is happening.

    Save yourself some money and some crediblity. I’m not an elected official, so you can’t really get anything from me. You ought to look into why Holguin doesn’t use his city email address for anything. He’s gone off the grid and nobody can see what city business he conducts. Why doesn’t that bother you?

    1. David, as usual you try to deflect away from the issue. It doesn’t surprise me because that is what propaganda operatives do. However that won’t fly on my blog.

      First and foremost, I bankroll my blog through my many years of hard work. I have reached a point in my life that I have gotten and lived more than most people do. To say that I have been very blessed and fortunate is an understatement of great proportions.

      There are many individuals that generously contribute to my blogging activities regularly with whatever they can. I appreciate each and every contribution because they contribute because they feel that what I’m doing is beneficial to them somehow. In fact, you at one time, contributed to my blogging activities without me asking you to do so.

      You attempt to insinuate that I am being bankrolled by someone. That is an outright lie. Please feel free to prove me wrong.

      Now what I find interesting is that when I wrote about your family’s business activities with the city you immediately insinuated that I was wrong because I did not include all of your family’s business names. I noticed that after you wrote that and although you continue to insinuate that; you haven’t bothered to list the company names or actually prove me wrong. If I was wrong you could have embarrassed me by putting up facts. You haven’t.

      Now you seem to be trying to dissuade me from taking your own advice and asking for information about other company names your family might be operating under. Why is that?

      It’s not about you. It is about community misinformation and propaganda. It is about how the public agenda is driven by various means; a significant part of that is the use of useful idiots that do it knowingly or unknowingly, as a quid pro quo or just because it makes them feel important. It is as simple as that.


  2. Speaking of agendas…

    How come agenda Item 14B is all about your money order problem? You don’t have contact with Emma Acosta, but she’s taking up your cause. Eddie Holguin as well.

    Don’t lie about who you are working for – we know. It comes out in council, it comes out in the media and it comes out in the comments section of all the blogs. You’re saying what they are saying and they are saying what you are saying – it’s kind of obvious. Everybody knows exactly who tells you what you can and can not write about.

    And I’m not going to help you slander my parents. I’m trying to save you from yourself.

    speaking of misinformation – how many times have you gotten the facts wrong on this blog? How many times have you gotten things wrong about me alone? If you want to battle misinformation – stop blogging.

    1. Oh, David you make it way too easy. It is as simple as them reading my blog or someone sharing it with her. As for slander, you, more than anyone else knows about slander considering that you have published an apology letter on your blog and recently retracted a statement on your blog.

      You might want to ask your “attorney friends” to explain to you how the truth is an absolute defense.

      As for getting things wrong, you, like everyone else is more than welcome to point out the “wrong facts” I have written on my blog. I stand by everything I have written and, unlike you I have never been forced to issue an apology to someone because I lied about them.

      It is easy to throw out “how many times have you gotten the facts wrong” but it is very different to back that up with facts. You make my point about useful idiots. Useful idiots make up things, or outright lie to mask the truth. The trouble with lies is that the truth always comes out no matter how hard useful idiots try to keep it hidden. For useful idiots the truth is an inconvenience.

      Give it up. And for the record, I had no knowledge nor did I participate in any shape or fashion in regards to today’s agenda item on open records. I am grateful, though, that Acosta, Holguin and Limon are taking the time to ensure that government transparency shines at the city and that the people’s right to know is not only acknowledged but also encouraged. That, there specifically is what useful idiots fear the most; government transparency because with government transparency there is no more use for useful idiots.


      1. Martin – I didn’t retract any statement at all on my blog. I simply put a censored warning over two words because a lawyer was offended by those two words. My meaning was still the same – just because you blur out boobs, doesn’t mean there aren’t boobs there!

        I felt bad for Stewart Leeds apologized for hurting his feelings, which is much different than slandering someone. Had I slandered him, we’d have had a trial. But the fact is – they dropped the suit. You are innacurate again. HOw many times do I have to show you these things?

        I’m glad you stand by your innacuracies. If there’s one thing better than a liar, it’s a stubborn liar.

        Martin – they didn’t read your blog to find out about the two items they asked about in relation to your open records requests that have never appeared on your blog. I have all of your open records requests and I know exactly which ones they were referring to!

  3. Wait a minute DK,
    Yesterday you said 14B was about Limon being upset about having to comply with ORR.
    Today you say it’s about money orders.

    Sheesh boy, you change positions just as often as the K’s change company names…

  4. Oh, it was all about me in the context of why my open records request turn into blogging gold and Martins’ don’t. Limon made that very clear to people within her circle that love to tell me everything that’s going on with her.

    1. DK,

      That last comment, and the way it’s written, officially makes you “Dan-is-Gossip-Girl”.

    1. did you not see council today? martin got caught lying again… If this is getting schooled, then I’m okay with it.

      Poor martin.

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