Latest Response To Reverchon Open Records Request Definitely Odd

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The saga of my open records request surrounding the city’s Reverchon Park ballfield deal continues – this time, a mildly humorous misreading by me. You will recall that last time I was told that there were a lot of items that fell under attorney/client privilege. That stuff still awaits a ruling by the state Attorney General’s office.

But there’s lots of other stuff that wouldn’t fall under that category. Last Wednesday’s latest note from the City Secretary’s office could be considered the most bizarre. It’s a laundry list of things that they don’t need permission to exclude or redact from any document.

I will admit that the plain, almost ASCII text reply, confused me at first. I thought that all the exceptions listed were somehow part of my requested documents.

That list includes the ability to withhold social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, dates of birth, W-4 and I-9 IRS forms, military discharge records, E-911 information, utility bills and family violence shelter center information.

My two initial reactions were “why would I even want that information?” and “why on earth would that information be part of my request on Reverchon?”. Turns out the city is a fan of cut/paste (likely mourning the command’s inventor who’d died days earlier).

That’s when I realized each item began with [ ] with only one having a [x].  That one covered: “An e-mail address of a member of the public provided for the purpose of communicating electronically with a governmental body is confidential under section 552.137 of the Texas Government Code and has been removed pursuant to Attorney General Open Records Decision No. 684 (2009).”

I’m A-OK with not getting an email address for “a member of the public” as long as it’s known who it refers to. After all, if it’s Donnie Nelson or his obscured moneymen, that would be useful even without the email address itself.

At the end of the city’s note was a link to “please log in to the Records Center to retrieve the appropriate response.”  Unfortunately, when I went to log in Saturday, I received a big, fat, error message. It’s since been resolved and I have 61 pages to read through, so stay tuned for any learnings from that trove. (This request is reminding me of the Jeannie’s Birthday arc from I Dream of Jeannie). 

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

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