I believe that in a true Democracy, the politicians, elected officials, and those who serve (or are supposed to serve) the people have an inviolate and legal duty for transparency and accountability. At least they should. These are not optional in any way or form. Not in the slightest. There must be complete, 100%, and absolute responsibilities of the government and of those that serve us. This includes the police.
Ya, I know, what a crazy idea these days.
All politicians and government as a whole should be required to make all the work they do while in office or hired by government (yes, all of it!!! and no I don’t trust them), including contractors, completely available to any and all taxpayers. That’s what FOIA was supposed to do. They should not be doing government work on their personal emails EVER and should always act in a way that allows for 100% accountability and transparency to the public, ie. those that employ them.
Ya, I know, pure fantasy right?
First you got former gov. Palin who did plenty of state work on her private email. Because you can’t trust any politician these days, not one (don’t matter if they’re R, or D, or I, or whatever other letter they put after they’re name:
The 243 still-secret e-mails between Todd Palin and senior officials reach into countless areas of state government and politics: potential board appointees, constituent complaints, use of the state jet, oil and gas production, marine regulation, gas pipeline bids, postsecondary education, wildfires, native Alaskan issues, the state effort to save the Matanuska Maid dairy, budget planning, potential budget vetoes, oil shale leasing, “strategy for responding to media allegations,” staffing at the mansion, pier diem payments to the governor for travel, “strategy for responding to questions about pregnancy,” potential cuts to the governor’s staff, “confidentiality issues,” Bureau of Land Management land transfers and trespass issues and requests to the U.S. transportation secretary.
Also withheld: a discussion of how to reply to “media questions about Todd Palin’s work and potential conflict of interests.”
And what the bloody hell is this: Sarah Palin emails released from time as governor – but many withheld or redacted.
The release does not represent a complete record of Palin’s email communications. For starters, the state of Alaska decided to redact information from some emails, and simply withhold others. (Before the release, the state said it was withholding more than 2,000 pages out of executive privilege, attorney-client privilege and other concerns.) Reporters will be hard pressed to judge whether the state’s decisions about redaction and withholding are justified; Palin’s former lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, is now the state’s governor.
The just-released list of withheld and redacted documents alone is 189 pages long (PDF), and says emails were redacted or withheld for reasons including that they dealt with personal issues like a “child custody matter” and “children, dinner, and prayer,” staffing issues and potential state appointees.
First, she should not be doing personal business on the state, taxpayer-paid, system. This is wrong. She should have done it it on her own time, not on the taxpayer dole. Second, staffing issues and potential state appointees are the business of taxpayers and should not be denied to taxpayers. And we have to trust her lieutenant governor? Are you kidding me? How corrupt are all these people, ie. all these people – not just her, but all those who say taxpayers are not allowed to see taxpayer business?
And Huckabee destroyed/purged his hard drives when he left office. How can he just do that and still be not incarcerated? How can this not be illegal across the whole country? … Welcome to American Democracy.
And now of course, we all know both parties are virtually identical – let’s look at the actions and not the pretty rhetoric, which they don’t mean. It’s like dating, … flowers, candies, promises you don’t intend to keep, … you know, the usual.
Welcome to Oakland. Because the D branch of the corporatist party will lie and cheat the the taxpayers just as well as the R branch:
Deanna Santana Tried to Alter Damning Report
Emails show that Oakland’s city administrator sought to redact portions of the Frazier Report that included strong criticisms of the police department and its handling of Occupy Oakland.
Oh no she didn’t. … Well ya, she actually did.
While announcing the appointment of Howard Jordan as the city’s new interim police chief last October, City Administrator Deanna Santana told reporters at a City Hall press conference that she was also hiring Thomas Frazier as a consultant.
Six months later, however, Frazier and Santana were involved in a testy and lengthy email exchange over the contents of a hard-hitting report that Frazier had produced on OPD, its dysfunctional culture, and its heavy-handed response to Occupy Oakland.
And it gets better:
The emails, obtained by this reporter, show that Santana wanted to redact portions of Frazier’s report that included strong criticisms of OPD. In one email, Santana’s chief of staff Alexandra Orologas also requested that Frazier send a draft of his report in Microsoft Word format to Santana to make it easier for city officials to alter the report’s contents. Santana also requested that Frazier send the report to her private Comcast email account — in a move that could have kept the email exchanges and the alterations that Santana intended to make to the report from becoming public. Santana also apparently sought to keep a draft copy of the report, and the changes she wanted to make to it, out of the hands of one of Mayor Jean Quan’s top aides.
Frazier, however, steadfastly refused Santana’s request to send his report to her in Microsoft Word or to her private email, writing at one point: “I’m afraid we can’t do that.”
What don’t these people get? STOP DOING TAXPAYER WORK ON PERSONAL ACCOUNTS! Why isn’t there a law against this? This is pure circumvention of their duties to us, the taxpayers. This is fraud and should be illegal. There should be prison sentences involved. I guess they’ll get to it after Holder’s done prosecuting Wall Street. Correction: when he starts actually considering the possibility that he should prosecute Wall Street.
The emails also show Frazier refused a request from Santana that might have resulted in most of his report being kept secret. The city administrator wanted him to “bifurcate” the report’s executive summary from its actual findings. After Frazier refused again and Santana and Quan finally released his report in full in June, the actual findings made up the lion’s share of the report and included criticisms of OPD’s inadequate planning before the October 25 raid on Occupy Oakland; the use of internal affairs officers during the raid, some of whom would later investigate complaints against OPD; failures by the department to follow its own crowd-control policy; a seriously mishandled criminal investigation into the wounding of Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen; revelations that Olsen was gravely wounded by a beanbag round identical to those used by OPD that evening; and serious misgivings from OPD officers who told Frazier Group investigators about the department’s lax attitude toward misconduct and discipline.
In an interview, Santana said she wanted Frazier’s report in Microsoft Word format because she contended that an earlier version of the report was riddled with errors. “What I found was that more due diligence was needed,” she said. “Facts had to be cleared up.”
Frazier has declined requests to comment further about Oakland-related issues.
But that’s you Fing job, ie. you were paid by taxpayers. You have to comment on Oakland-related issues. The fact you once were paid by taxpayers, means you should have to comment on the work you did. You worked for the taxpayer so you have to answer any questions about how the taxpayer is being screwed over. I can’t believe anyone thinks we live in a Democracy when those who worked for taxpayers or officials can just say “no, suck on it”. When the F did this become “OK”???
Of course we have the classics: did it start with Nixon? or Clinton? or Cheney? or Gonzales’ “I don’t recall remembering”? And really how do you top that? The old I-don’t-recall-defnese. Funny how it works for the big boys but not for the petty purse-snatcher. I guess it follows the old adage, you kill one, you’re a murderer, but kill a million, and you’re a conqueror, remembered and honored for centuries.
But back to the corruption in Oakland:
Although there is no explicit passage in the California Public Records Act that bars public officials from using their private email addresses for official business, there is much controversy as to whether private emails that involve official public business should be considered public records. Peter Scheer, the director of the First Amendment Coalition, believes communications by public officials from their personal accounts are public records, but the courts have yet to clarify the issue entirely. The gray area in the Public Records Act, Scheer said, has allowed officials to try to keep the public from having access to official public business.
“This uncertainty can be used by public officials who are trying to avoid channels of communication that would be subject to a public records request,” said Scheer. “I believe it’s inappropriate to do that.”
You mean the corrupt lawmakers, who make the laws, haven’t made a law that would hold them accountable for their corruption? I’m shocked I tell you, just shocked (oh my, I have the vapors). In some alternate universe somewhere, public officials would not be allowed to keep the public from having access to OFFICIAL PUBLIC BUSINESS. But not in this one.
Santana’s directive to Frazier also raises questions about how much business the second most powerful city official in Oakland is conducting through her personal email accounts, thus potentially making them beyond the reach of city and state transparency laws.
Santana said in an interview that her request to Frazier was the only time she has asked to have official city business sent to her personal email account. “This was a one-time deal,” she said, adding that she will make available to the public the emails from her private account to Frazier that related city business.
Ya, sure, she’ll make sure she will make those emails relating to city business, publicly available. And who decides that? Oh right, her. Ya, sure lady, why not just try selling me the Brooklyn bridge. Why would anyone trust her after she purposely and fraudulently did OFFICIAL PUBLIC BUSINESS on her personal account so she could hide it from the public? But I’m sure she has her reasons:
Santana also said that she sought to interact with Frazier through her private email because of security concerns and leaks at City Hall. “I have some people who actively monitor my email … there had been some leaks of sensitive information from the City Administrator’s Office,” she said. She also said that eight to ten people had access to her schedule, and two people had continuous access to her City Hall email.
Ah yes, the infamous, and completely unverifiable, “security concerns” and “leaks”. But how does that matter. It’s city and public business that should be always available to the public. She should not be even allowed to hide it. It’s public business!
Shortly after the release of this report, Frazier Group’s contract with Oakland was canceled. The Chronicle reported late last week that Santana has now hired another outside consultant to analyze OPD’s response to the consent decree. Chanin told the newspaper that he believes Santana and her staff are merely shopping “for someone who will tell them what they want to hear.”
So they fire the one contractor who’s actually doing his job for the public, ie. the truth, accountability, and transparency. With government like this, … And of course this ain’t Santana’s first rodeo:
There is also evidence that this is not the first time that Santana appears to have attempted to dilute critical analyses of police actions — or shop for a consultant who will produce a report with favorable findings. In 2006, when Santana was an assistant to the city manager in San Jose, the city’s Independent Police Auditor, Barbara Attard, released a report highlighting San Jose PD’s practice of downgrading Internal Affairs complaints against officers to “inquiries” — a lesser category of incident — and of not tracking these incidents by officer name, and failing to investigate the downgraded complaints.
As the liaison between the City Manager’s Office and the police auditor, Santana was instructed by the San Jose City Council to analyze the police auditor’s findings in conjunction with Attard and SJPD. Instead, Santana hired Macias Consulting Group, an outside firm. Macias Group then issued a report that claimed that the police auditor had used “incorrect units” of data and found that SJPD complaint levels had remained “relatively constant” at “very low levels” from 2004 and 2006 — the period covered by Attard’s report.
In response, Attard submitted a sharp rebuttal to the San Jose City Council on June 18, 2007 that all but accused Santana and Macias of going out of their way to deflect attention away from the problem at hand. “Both the Macias Report and the Administration’s Response contain misstatements about civilian oversight … improper premises for analysis resulting in inaccurate data and reporting, and failure of the consultant to provide independent, objective analysis.” Attard’s report pointed out that Macias accepted SJPD’s practice of not counting internal affairs “inquiries” as complaints against officers while incorrectly asserting that other cities do the same.
“In fact, the Macias report fails to document any rigorous or independent analysis of the [Independent Police Auditor] contention that the majority of the complaints classified by SJPD do contain misconduct allegations and are being misclassified, based upon the SJPD’s own definition of complaints.”
To back up her assertion, Attard’s report included twelve instances of misclassified San Jose police internal affairs complaints, including allegations of racial profiling, verbal abuse, illegal searches, excessive force, bribery, and pointing of weapons at unarmed juvenile suspects. None of the twelve cases cited by the police auditor were ever investigated.
Because if you’re going to cover up police abuses, why not go for the gold: “allegations of racial profiling, verbal abuse, illegal searches, excessive force, bribery, and pointing of weapons at unarmed juvenile suspects.” And of course, none of them were investigated. Because you know, this is America, and it’s just business. Just ask Santana and her boss Quan (bet she doesn’t get fired, and in fact, Quan will promote her and give her a raise, ie. more taxpayer money to the those who lie to the taxpayer). Or if you want the truth for a change, ask Scott Olsen.