Home > Humboldt County General Plan Update > Hank’s well-rounded Public Records Request

Hank’s well-rounded Public Records Request

UPDATE: Of course, there could be argument on whether Hank’s request is “well-rounded.”

It all depends on the aim.  One could question why he didn’t ask for emails from Bill Barnum, Julie Williams, Tina Christensen, Estelle Fennell and Bob Morris, among many other GPU players. But if the goal is to get an idea of what communications are going on regarding the GPU, the 8 names on the PRA will give a peek into that, if not the full archive.

It’s hard to agree with Hank’s presumption that Arkley’s “principal object[ive] was to gauge such groups’ influence on the update of the county’s general plan.” It’s obvious Arkley was looking for dirt on his new enemy #1 — Supervisor Mark Lovelace, now that Bonnie Neely lost re-election.

Regardless, results of this PRA might yield some wild results.

Who in Humboldt County has the reputation for sending the nastiest emails to his enemies? Arkley’s raving communiqués are legend.  Let’s hope the county has retained a complete record.

###

Inspired by local big shot Rob Arkley’s Public Records Act request (PRA) seeking emails between the county and Arkley’s political foes, Lost Coast Outpost reporter Hank Sims today filed his own (PRA).

Whatever Arkley’s aims in seeking the emails, Hank says his PRA is focused on the General Plan Update.  He wants all emails between eight individuals and the county in the last year: Arkley, Arkley’s assistant Shirley Fuller, Randy Gans, Lee Ulansey, Bill Pierson, Jen Kalt, Scott Greacen and Elizabeth Conner.

“We believe this list is pretty well representative of the entire range of active political opinion on the Humboldt County General Plan,” Sims wrote on the LoCO.

Hank says he will publish everything he gets as a result of the PRA.

  1. Interested Citizen
    April 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Good job Hank, if the records cost more that twenty five bucks I’ll pitch in some $ to help.

  2. Lumpy
    April 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Go Hank!

  3. Plain Jane
    April 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Did he request personal e-mails of county personnel and officials as well?

  4. April 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I don’t think he can. This would be county e-mails only.

  5. Plain Jane
    April 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I believe that is what he was advising Arkley to do in his previous thread on this subject, but maybe I misunderstood it.

  6. April 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    That’s all Arkley’s request covered — emails to and from county emails. He can’t gain access to private emails unless it’s part of a lawsuit.

  7. Plain Jane
    April 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Yes, I found it.

    “In that spirit, let me give Fuller a protip: You requested all of Supervisor Lovelace’s email correspondence over that four-day period, which is good, but why didn’t you specify that you mean “all correspondence dealing with matters of public interest, including any that came from or to any private email address Lovelace might possess”? This is still an unsettled matter of law, and it would be nice to close the loophole through which public officials can skirt disclosure simply by logging on to their Hotmail accounts. I hear you know someone with the resources to fight this matter.”

  8. April 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Hank’s current PRA does not specify private email addresses.

  9. skippy
    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Reading Mr. Sims’ column linked above, clicking on the highlighted word, ‘here’ of his 4th paragraph, and voila!— the file for his simple PRA request letter opens up. See for yourself.

    Is this all it takes for a Public Records Act request? That’s it? It’s a phenomenally simple process to do. Anyone, even a caveman, can do it. Thank you not only for your experience but for the useful knowledge and template, Mr. Sims. Yours truly will look forward to your next related column– and like to have added a few more useful names into that hat.

  10. April 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I suspect he meant GREG Pierson, not Bill. Greg is a developer beloved by the right.

  11. Anonymous
    April 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Newsflash. If a county official is emailing county business from his or her private account it is covered and must be disclosed. It is not “unsettled law”.

  12. April 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Post updated:

    Of course, there could be argument on whether Hank’s request is “well-rounded.”

    It all depends on the aim. One could question why he didn’t ask for emails from Bill Barnum, Julie Williams, Tina Christensen, Estelle Fennell and Bob Morris, among many other GPU players. But if the goal is to get an idea of what communications are going on regarding the GPU, the 8 names on the PRA will give a peek into that, if not the full archive.

    It’s hard to agree with Hank’s presumption that Arkley’s “principal object[ive] was to gauge such groups’ influence on the update of the county’s general plan.” It’s obvious Arkley was looking for dirt on his new enemy #1 — Supervisor Mark Lovelace, now that Bonnie Neely lost re-election.

    Regardless, results of this PRA might yield some wild results.

    Who in Humboldt County has the reputation for sending the nastiest emails to his enemies? Arkley’s raving communiqués are legend. Let’s hope the county has retained a complete record.

  13. Anonymous
    April 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Sims should have included Brian Mitchell on his list

  14. Hank Sims
    April 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    @Heraldo: Hey, I got that email too! His lips to your fingers!

    @6:31: Really? Far as I can tell, the most recent and possibly only test case is Tracy Press v. City of Tracy, which ended inconclusively. If you can cite better law — statutory, case — I’d love to see it.

  15. Well Rounded?
    April 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Everyone so far, from what I’ve read anyway, has neglected to mention Kay Backer (HELP). Under her name are some pretty interesting letters. Also, I would imagine that correspondence from Scott Greacen (of EPIC) re: the GPU is extremely limited. Including Richard Salzman’s name might have procured more enlightening results. Oh well, guess that could be in the next PRA request.

  16. April 19, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    So, Hank, do you really think Arkley was just fishing on the GPU?

  17. Hank Sims
    April 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    No, there was obviously more to it, as I acknowledged in my column

  18. April 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Ok, we can leave it to interpretation. No need to dicker about Arkley’s principal objective.

  19. posted?
    April 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Oooo. I know. How about NorthCoast politicos/movers/shakers trading cards, with their stats – companies/orgs they work(ed) with, how much they’re worth $/property, claims to fame, special quotes…

    I think Heraldo’s card would need to be embossed or metallic or something to illuminate the intrigue of an effective anonymous superstar.

  20. Random Guy
    April 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    That’s actually pretty funny, posted. How you take a break from writing the next great american novel to sit around and make snide comments on their internet message boards, too!

  21. Not A Native
    April 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Hank makes mention in the request to the possibility of redacted emails.

    I’d be interested to read a legal opinion as to the circumstances when an email(or letter) between a supervisor and the public is correctly regarded as confidential. Similarly for county employees in executive departments.

    I’d expect many internal county emails could easily be confidential i.e. personnel, litigation, material subject to non-dsiclosure agreements, negotiations, investigations. Can’t figure when communications to the public would be….

  22. Hank Sims
    April 19, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    @NaN: Skipster called it, above, when he referred to the letter I filed as a “template.” It ain’t my template, though.

    Cut ‘n’ pasted (with modifications) from one of a thousand such boilerplate letters — the First Amendment Project’s, I think.

  23. Steve
    April 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    This is going to be great. We will all get to see the hate they spew. Way to go Hank, you are my hero.

  24. Cheese Dick
    April 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Yippe…
    I wish I were a county staff shmuck rifling through the servers for hollywood malarkry.

    At least I’de get a pension doing your bidding.

  25. Cheese Dick
    April 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    sp

  26. 69er
    April 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Sure seems like a waste of tax payers money to spend time doing this kind of crap just to satisfy some egotist’s effort to gain popularity among a bunch of BS artists. Spend your time and my money for the good of the community not for your own vanity.

  27. Plain Jane
    April 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Could you be more specific, 69er? Are you referring to Arkley wasting taxpayer money, Sims, or both?

  28. Big Al
    April 20, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I believe the person making the request is responsible for paying the costs involved. I might be wrong but I think that’s how it works

  29. Follow the money
    April 20, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Interesting how a year ago Hum CPR and others were saying the update was taking to long. This was when Mayo was on the commission and the votes looked to be favoring Option C, the least restrictive GPU option. Now that the commission has shifted and may shift more, CPR now wants a delay. Basically its about the money. Those that benefit from Option C or delays make more money off the current system then they would if Option A passes. Bob Morris is one of these developers. He has a long trail (over 12 years)of trying to get a large piecemeal development through in the Westhaven area. This patent parcel, cookie cutter, estate subdivision without any planning or even going through the subdivision process would wreck havoc on the Trinidad area and its watersheds. The first patent sold in this development has been making its way through the courts for over 14 years and this Moss subdivision has already been the trigger for clarifying new planning law. There is even a state appellate court published opinion on the case that says you cannot act on a permit after it expires. Bob Morris is one of the big dollar folks behind Hum CPR and for those folks living in the hills that think he is looking out for your interest I say…wake up. Bob is only using you for his self interests.

  30. Plain Jane
    April 20, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Well, there is a charge, Al. But if they were paying for the wages of the employees doing the searches, they wouldn’t get much for the $25 limit both Arkley and Sims put on their requests.

  31. skippy
    April 20, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Just a quick note about general PRA requests. Mr. Sims @ 8:42 cited the ‘First Amendment Project’ website as his template PRA model having good information about requests. Their website is easily found here. Thanks, Hank.

    It’s a very good website covering the basics, exemptions, what to do if your PRA request is denied, etc. There are limitations concerning requests. For example, Federal agencies are exempt under the PRA, but not neccessarily under the Federal Freedom Of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

    It’s an interesting read– if you like these sort of things.

    Yours truly is also reminded of a caveat one should keep close in all matters: it’s better to be of a civic service rather than a civic menace.

  32. Mitch
    April 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

    “it’s better to be of a civic service rather than a civic menace.”

    Or to put it another way, it’s better to be on MY side than on THEIR side.

    Meanwhile, “mean people” everywhere continue to “suck.”

  33. What Now
    April 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Kudos To Hank!
    If You need sme scratch to persue this Hank I’ll gladly kick in.

  34. what next
    April 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

    me 2

  35. You missed some
    April 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I agree with Heraldo, Hank’s request is less than well-rounded or representative of the “entire range of active political opinion.”

    I will give Hank that he picked 5 from each of “side,” but he missed a lot of key players.

  36. April 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    To clarify, I said one could argue that it’s less than well rounded. I’m not making that argument.

    If the aim was to capture every piece of email between the county and players in the GPU, then Hank’s PRA wouldn’t cover it. But he will get a slice of it, and it will probably include some delicious morsels given at least one hot-head on the list.

    It would be impossible to really crack the egg from a simple PRA request. Would Virginia Bass’ county account turn up anything exciting? Doubtful. She doesn’t need to use it to communicate on such delicate matters. Her husband’s email account is another matter, and one that isn’t subject to a PRA.

  37. 69er
    April 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I’m back and I mean both and all. There are many complaints about the waste of money and many of those who complain are the guilty ones. If they have to pay it is somewhat better but it is still using time that could be better spent on other endeavors.

  38. Jacqbear
    April 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    wow it’s been raining way too long… and boredom is making this seem exciting. pray for sun.

    69er this is “using time that could be better spent on other endeavors.”

    Pray for sun. Maybe they’ll all go to the beach; hm well, probably separate beaches.

  39. Anonymous
    April 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Being familiar with Arkley’s rants and vicious emails, this should be interesting. If the request turns up the kind of ugliness I’ve witnessed, even his champions may be surprised and offended.

  40. High Finance
    April 21, 2011 at 8:10 am

    RA’s “rants and vicious emails” have been no worse than what I see here almost every day.

    I wonder how many of you would fare if Hank included YOU in his “well rounded” Public Records Request.

  41. Fly on the wall
    April 21, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Yeah, HiFi. How come I’m not on the list? I see and hear everything. Buzzzzzz…

  42. skippy
    April 21, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Yours truly would fare just fine. We’ll see if there’s any substance here or not. It may be unfounded and go nowhere, or, be newsworthy in some sense. Mr. Sims will weigh it out.

    Hi-Fi does make his reasonable point if one’s opinion (such as his) differs from the masses and minions. Although not completely agreeing with all of the following, Mr. Hoover of the Arcata Eye put it best only yesterday. Just as a kind blogland FYI:

    “Note to potential commenters: If you’re just going to call people bums, or crazy, or get into Heraldo/Humboldt Mirror-grade personal insults, your comment will be merrily moderated out of existence. If you have some criticism, just add that magic not-so-secret ingredient known as “substance,” and it will get through. Basically you need to give people something to think about, which is why we are doing all this to begin with.”

    Mr. Hoover compares us to The Mirror? Heavens to Betsy. Hi-Fi’s right? Yours truly thought we had more substance than that. Sounds bad to be lumped in the same boat.

    Carry on.

  43. Plain Jane
    April 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

    That’s all the rage now in journalists who want a moderate label, Skippy. Dave Stancliff did the same thing, ignoring the fact that the discussions on the Herald, while often passionate, are substantive while the vile Mirror is just ugly smears and personal attacks without any substance at all. Even David Brooks tried to equate George Soros with the entire right wing echo chamber. For people who believe (or want you to believe) that all opinions are equal regardless of their factual basis, this sort of lazy and dishonest journalism works. What is their motivation?

  44. mresquan
    April 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I read one e-mail that Arkley sent out,in which he called Fred Mangels a left winger.

  45. anonymous
    April 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    As Skippy said, HiFi, we will see what Hank’s request reveals. For Arkley’s own sake, we can hope he toned it down in emails to public officials or employees. The emails I’m most aware of are personal, where he shows very little restraint.

  46. High Finance
    April 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I will partially agree with Jane.

    75% of the posts on the Mirror are “ugly smears and personal insults” but the Herald is guilty of at least 25% of the same.

    Yes Skippy you would fare just fine. All the rest of us are guilty to one degree or another.

  47. Fly on the wall
    April 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Regarding personal smears with no substance, I observe that most comments falling into that category on Heraldo’s blog come from the angry right and are directed at “liberal, lefty, pinko, communist, socialist…”

    you get my point.

  48. Been There
    April 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Here Here.

  49. High Finance
    April 23, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Flies are notorious for having bad eyesight.

  50. Reinventing The Wheel
    April 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    It’s poor eyesight, not “bad”.

    Have you learned nothing here?

  51. Ed
    April 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Look where the vision of high financiers (wall street) have taken us.

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