Thursday, April 24, 2008

Houston Chronicle Covers Possible TPIA & TOMA Violations--click title link for more--

Did Missouri City officials hide anything from the public?

Chris Calvin, a critic of the Missouri City municipal government, has filed a complaint with Attorney General Greg Abbott's office requesting an investigation into possible violation of Texas Open Meetings Act and the Texas Public Information Act by city officials.

A former Sienna Plantation resident locked in a lawsuit with the developer, Calvin later moved to Pecan Grove. He has accused city officials, including Mayor Allen Owen and most on the city council, of "allowing special-interest groups" such as developers to influence city decisions. City officials have denied such allegations.

The complaint Calvin filed with the AG stemmed from a city press release, which was dated March 4 but handed out at the March 3 City Council meeting. The pre-written release announced the council's approval of the purchase of the Quail Valley Country Club -- before such action was taken at the March 3 meeting.

While the city's media relations specialist Elsa Maxey later retracted the release describing it as an innocent error, Calvin said he smelled something "fishy." Here is what he wrote in his letter to the AG:

We found this odd considering the meeting hadn't taken place yet. Following this session, where they voted after the announcement, several of those in attendance decided we needed to dig a little further to attempt to ascertain if a meeting in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) had taken place prior to the council session and official vote.
Calvin said supporters for the investigation also include Kevin Tunstall, candidate for the At-large Position 2 council seat.

Two weeks later, Calvin filed a request with City Secretary Patrice Fogarty for all documents pertaining city-funded studies since 2005, including information on vendors involved in the bidding, companies awarded contracts and the award amount as well as any action taken by the city administration on those matters.

Calvin also asked for text messages sent and received by city council members on their Blackberries that Calvin said are paid for by taxpayers.

Numerous e-mail exchanges have subsequently occurred between Calvin and Fogarty. While Calvin accused Fogarty of using "delay tactic" in "dodging" his public information request, Fogarty said she did everything within her responsibility to comply with the request under the law. Her e-mail exchanges aimed to clarify with Calvin on the exact scope and content of what he wanted, she said. . . follow the title link above for the full story. . .

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Question: Do you trust Allen Owen, mayor of Missouri City, TX, to represent you rather than his Houston corporate backers?




3%  participating said yes  (n20)


91%  participating said no  (n573)


6%  participating responded not sure  (n39)


(N) sample =  632


Stay tuned as more surveys for coming elections are posted!

Web Statistics
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