orr-nov14aAs a result of the musical chairs debacle and other online misinformation campaigns, I submitted various open records requests with the city in order to attempt to ascertain what the facts were and what was political propaganda. On October 20, 2014, I submitted nine open records requests. On October 22, I submitted another five requests. Many of my requests were asking for the same information however I was sure to word it specifically enough, naming the appropriate individuals, in order to avoid the all too common response that there were no records meeting your request because I was not specific enough. This is a problem that I have encountered with the city before. Therefore, I submitted various requests asking for the same information but specifically naming individuals individually to avoid potential problems.

You might notice that I am now getting to writing about my open records requests – almost three weeks after I submitted them. This is because the city responded to the majority of my requests last week. Today I want to share with you the results of the open records requests and what my process is in trying to bring you information that might be useful to the public discourse.

Monday’s piece on the proposed water park was the result of an open records request. This request was submitted along with the others I mention in today’s article. Another request I submitted was asking for change orders in regards to the San Jacinto Plaza project and Basic IDIQ.

One of the things that I notice about public agenda discourse is that much of it is held based on erroneous information. It is my belief that the public discussion is distorted by public operatives whom I have labelled useful idiots in order to distract and or control the outcome of the debate. You may have noticed that in the last three weeks, or so, there was online discussion about how Basic IDIQ was using change orders to increase the fees it was being paid. As a result, I filed an open records request asking for copies of the change orders issued to it.

In tomorrow’s blog, I will update you on Basic IDIQ. You’ll be surprised as to what I found. However, instead of the rumors, I am sharing the details with you based on the public record, not innuendo. I also submitted a request in order to update my blog piece on contracts issued to David Karlsruher family’s business, especially now that Joyce Wilson is no longer the city manager. Another open records request was looking for information about some emails that were reportedly sent by some city representatives about Dame la Mano. However, the majority of my open records requests were a result of the musical chairs affair. Of the fourteen requests I submitted, eleven were seeking more information on the seating debacle.

I have already shared with you one of the requests. It had to do with the actual bids to add a station to the dais. Another was the proposed use of the Public, Educational and Governmental Access Broadcasting (PEG) budget line item.

In an El Paso Times article on October 13, 2014 by Diana Washington Valdez, Juli Lozano; “While the use of PEG funding is very limited, it can be used for all physical facilities and equipment associated with providing public, educational and governmental access channel capacity, programming, and transmissions”. I had not heard of the PEG funds and therefore I submitted an open records request asking how much of the money had already been spent by the city in this line item.

According to the open records request I received from the city, the city has spent a total of $4,562.14 this year on items that seem to allow for the broadcasting of city council meetings. Unfortunately, I don’t know how much money was budgeted and trying to find it in the city’s budget was taking too much time so I gave up. I was also too lazy to submit another open records request asking for information on the PEG funds, including how much money is budgeted and what restrictions it has on its use. For now, we know the city contemplated spending about $7,000 to set up another workstation at dais and that it has already spent almost $5,000 this year.

The rest of the open records requests I submitted were looking for emails or documents exchanged between the various city council representatives and the mayor in regards to the seating fiasco. Except for one innocuous email acknowledging a meeting request between Oscar Leeser, Cortney Niland and some citizens there appears that there was not any written discussions between Niland, Ann Morgan Lilly, Lily Limon or the mayor in regards to the seating issue. Based on what I received from my open records requests I can only assume that the discussions about Cortney Niland returning to her seat on the dais was held verbally between some of the individuals involved. I cannot file an open records request for verbal discussions and therefore it is unlikely the community will ever know exactly what was said and to whom and when it was said in regards to the musical chairs affair.

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...

8 replies on “Open Records and Latest Responses”

  1. Martin,

    Don’t get yourself sued because you are terrible at filing open records requests. You are going to write something about my parent’s firm that is untrue and you’re going to get sued for it. Falsely accusing people of a crime (corruption) is defamation in its purest form. All of the contracts awarded to my parents firm and other firms – whether they are engineering (Proposal) or construction (low bid) – are put on the agenda for the world to see. City work has been on an uptick for us since Wilson left if that’s what you want to know. I have no idea why, other than we’ve submitted some good bids. But, by all means, get yourself sued – it doesn’t matter much to me in the end.

    As for Basic IDIQ – the discussion of change orders and future change orders was held in a council meeting and recorded for everyone to see/hear.

    Funny you don’t have anything to say about the low income housing item on yesterday’s agenda where your buddy was skewered by the public and has initiated an effort at the state level to correct the problem.

    1. David, David why are you so worried about my open records requests? Are you worried I’m going to connect too many dots? By now, you should know that I don’t respond well to threats, especially one of lawsuits. In fact, threats make me want to take a deeper look at possible shenanigans because threats imply that something is amiss. Now, take a deep breath and reread what I wrote. Here, let me make it easy for you. I wrote, “I also submitted a request in order to update my blog piece on contracts issued to David Karlsruher family business, especially now that Joyce Wilson is no longer the city manager.” Nowhere in there did I write that I am going to write something on your parent’s firm.

      Now what kind of a blogger would I be if I don’t continuously reevaluate commentary I have made and when necessary update it? Oh, that’s right; I would be a blogger just like you – one that makes up things. Don’t worry I have new information to share with the latest open records I received.

      However, now that you bring it up, I realize this will probably freak you out but I am going to write a piece tomorrow about your blogging activities, especially your latest ones, and how it all connects together. Stay tuned and try not to worry too much since you have nothing to hide, right?

      Thanks for reading my blog,

      1. I’m not worried a bit. I’m just getting your face forcing you to think about what you want to say next. You know that I have the goods on you and Limon and your network and the information you’ve been sharing. None of you have broken the law, but ethically things are shaky and you know it. The city attorney knows everything, but isn’t going to act against her only ally on council.

        “Nowhere in there did I write that I am going to write something on your parent’s firm.”

        Have you been drinking? You spent a paragraph saying you were going to write about my parents firm. Last time you did this you found that my parents got the least amount of work from the city in their 20 year history while Wilson was in charge, but yet you claimed we got more work. Who is the one making stuff up?

        And for your sake you should write about me and my blogging activities – that’s the only time you get any traffic – when you talk about me!

        And when you connect the dots on me tomorrow – do remember that something very interesting happened to a contract award for my parent’s firm right before Tuesday’s council meeting. That one thing you think you are going to peg me with is negated by this action. Do your research.

      2. got the least amount of work from the city in their 20 year history while Wilson was in charge
        Your family obviously wasn’t giving the Witch what Paul and Woody were giving her/it.

  2. If we were to just go on the discussions held at city hall and simply believe what council says, then we wouldn’t need FOIA and open records requests, now would we?

    We need to keep our elected officials in check because we knowe that they are often dishonest. This is true at all levels of government. Look at the Gruber situation unfolding on the ACA. Some people in government count on citizens just accepting what they are told. Then they laugh and call us “stupid” behind our backs. In the case of the city, they call us “crazies”.

  3. than someone pleading/threatening their innocence before they have been accused of wrongdoing.

  4. nothing sounds more guilty,

    I should have clarified – I know exactly what Martin is trying to say. I have put an ORR in on his ORRs. About three weeks ago I started submitting a series of ORRs on his friends on council. They are none to happy about what I asking for and are fighting it. They have tasked Martin with doing research on my parent’s firm (again – it’s the same person every time) to try and create some perception of corruption. I read the ORR. I read the correspondence.

    I’m giving Martin a chance to save himself some trouble. He was so wrong last time he tried this that it did nearly get him sued by multiple parties. Martin’s readership is so small that attorneys involved suggested that the parties should wait and see. And there’s the whole thing where martin is a turnip and we want blood. An ongoing campaign of accusing people of corruption would make for an easier case against him.

    Besides, stealing a bully’s thunder is priceless.

  5. You havent exactly been spot on with your FBI sources, you said the investigation was over a long time ago. I know for a fact an employee with EPISD was fired this week due to the FBI still digging around. The construction contracts with the government have been a rat’s nest of sleeeeeeeeeeze…what was the name of that construction dude who got like El Paso businessman of the year before he got indicted? One of the many ethical lapses of Larry Medina was going out on a trip with people in the building biz. Does that mean Martin Parades is clean with his link to Bobby Bowling? No, nor do I think that the relationship with Hunt/Foster and mommy and daddy is clean either. Government paid for construction (not to mention zoning) in El Paso is dirty, always has been always will be. Why does Mr. Bowling, you, mom and dad, Woody and Paul get so involved in politics? Because it pays.

Comments are closed.