Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SEDC's Regina Petty has written the best denial of a Public Records Act request I've ever seen

Regina Petty, attorney for the Southeast Economic Development Corporation, has written a heated, angry letter. I much prefer it to the cold, disinterested letters of refusal I have received from attorneys Daniel Shinoff and Diane Crosier when I was trying to get the invoices for Daniel Shinoff's bills to San Diego County Office of Education. (Yes, at one time Diane Crosier put Shinoff in charge of denying my requests for Shinoff's records!)

Here is Regina Petty's letter:

I Am Sorry, for You
Voice of San Diego
By Regina Petty
San Diego

Oct. 20, 2008

I am sorry when I must inform a person requesting records that the Public Records Act expressly exempts from disclosure privileged information.

[Blogger's note: You mean you wish you didn't have to come up with a bunch of bogus excuses when someone makes a legitimate public records request.]

I am sorry that voiceofsandiego.org was dissatisfied in July 2007 when it promptly received a summary of the amounts the Southeastern Economic Development paid to my firm for legal services in response to a Public Records Act request.

[Come on. You knew they'd be dissatisfied. You intentionally left out the information they wanted.]

I am sorry that I responded by agreeing to perform the task of redacting privileged and confidential information from multiple years of statements for legal services even though there is no legal authority requiring that I do so for this type of document.

[Right. You could have just copied the documents without redacting them.]

I am sorry that in 2007 no one from voiceofsandiego.org ever came to review the redacted statements for legal services which took some time to prepare.

[You say (below) that you couldn't find the documents recently. When did they get lost? Was there ever anything for VOSD to look at? How severe what the redactation job you did on the documents?]

I am sorry that voiceofsandiego.org's attention to its own Public Records Act requests unexpectedly vacillates from indifference to exclusive focus.

[What?!? You mean you thought they were going to let you off the hook, and then they didn't? Yes, I guess that would be a disappointment.]

I am sorry that when voiceofsandiego.org recently renewed its request for the records the SEDC staff was unable to immediately locate the documents from 2007 so that the redaction task had to be performed again.

[Yes. That's too bad.]

I am sorry that there were extra demands placed on my time in September due to the replacement of more than half of the board members of the SEDC.

[If you had given better legal advice, there wouldn't have been so many board members losing their positions.]

I am sorry that there were extra demands placed on my time in September because of the additional board and committee meetings that were held by the SEDC.

[See previous]

I am sorry my highest priority in September was attending to the needs of a Board of Directors managing a major organizational transition.

[Transition? You mean the people to whom you gave legal advice got caught carrying on questionable relationships with developers, and were forced out?]

I am sorry that my daughter's desire that I accompany her as she relocated to France was inconvenient for voiceofsandiego.org.

[I'm sure VOSD would have been perfectly happy if your secretary had simply copied all your invoices and turned them over while you were gone. But that would have been inconvenient for you, right?]

I am sorry that I shortchanged my daughter by delaying the trip to be present for the SEDC Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 24 and limiting the trip to return in time for another agency's board meeting on Oct.2...I am sorry that my presence was required at publicly noticed meetings of the SEDC and other agencies on Oct. 2, 9, 10, 13 and 14 so that Will Carless was unable to determine my whereabouts.

[Sorry, Ms. Petty. There's no way you will be able to make Will Carless the bad guy here. Your presence was required because of a scandal you helped create.]

I am sorry that Will Carless called me at my home on Oct. 9 while I was attending a publicly noticed meeting at the SEDC.

[See above.]

I am sorry that Will Carless has repeatedly falsely claimed that responses to Public Records Act requests were late.

[I'm a whole lot more likely to believe Will Carless than to believe Carolyn Smith's lawyer. He has no motivation to lie; you do.]

I am sorry that Will Carless is a bully.

[This sounds like blaming the victim. You wanted to violate the California Public Records Act, so you call Will Carless a bully for demanding that you obey the law! You sound just like Daniel Shinoff.]

I am sorry that Will Carless did not notice that his abusive conduct caused me to stop taking or returning his telephone calls in early August.

[Or did you stop taking his calls because you wanted to hide your billing records?]

I am sorry that Will Carless cannot discern any real news to use for his blog in light of the global financial, political and social issues of the day.

[The SEDC fell apart due to the efforts of individuals to enrich themself by abusing the system. Isn't it newsworthy to find out how much its lawyer was being paid? The global financial crisis seems to be the result of the efforts of individuals to enrich themself by abusing the system. Credit Default Swaps were invented because individual investors wanted to get rich faster, and the problem was that these instuments hid the identity of the seller. Why didn't the SEC jump on this problem? Probably for the same reason that you, Regina Petty, didn't jump on the problems at SEDC. My guess is that individual lawyers at the SEC thought they could help out their greedy investor friends and get away with it. Individual public entity lawyers at both the SEC and the SEDC are an appropriate subject of investigative journalists.]

(End of Regina Petty's letter and of my responses.]

VOSD Editor's Note: Will Carless has doggedly, yet professionally, pursued open records and answers from an agency that has been extremely reluctant to provide either. While this can sometimes be a tense effort, we stand behind his work.

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