Friday, September 04, 2009

FB Independent Publisher Opines On TPIA & FBISD Compliance With Texas AG!

Open records request is a farce
By SESHADRI KUMAR, Fort Bend Independent

The public information request or the open records request with Fort Bend ISD has become a farce as far as my experience goes. What could be provided routinely to a requestor are first kept confidential and then released by the district for a nominal charge.

One would think that the feasibility committee report on the Global Science and Technology Center is a public document and the district would like it to be read by as many people as possible to win their support.

On the contrary, the report was given to the media only when asked and it was released after the statutory 10-day waiting period. It cost me $14.

Then when I wanted a copy of the comments posted on the FBISD website, I thought I could have them e-mailed to me. No, a print out was provided and the cost was $6.

Then, I posed to a query to the communications department asking what documents did the district provide to Ms. Nancy Hentschel who had filed an open records request. I had asked if the district had provided response to one of the specific queries made by her, namely “any communication via mail, phone, e-mail, text, or other routes between members of the committee, the PBK company representatives, [Dr.] Jenney, and the developer...”

I asked for the clarification because of conflicting claims made by Hentschel that she got nothing from the district and the district saying they gave all that could be given.

Instead of receiving a brief response from the communications department, my request was treated as an open records request.

Again, I had to shell out $28.50. I don’t mind it, but unfortunately, barring about five or six pages, all the other pages were a reproduction of the same feasibility committee report and comments on the website.

Making an ORR, especially with any public entity, is tricky. The requestor should be clever or the request letter may require the assistance of an attorney...

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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!

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