Ooops | Public Records Requests
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2 thoughts on “Ooops | Public Records Requests”
I for one have made a public information request in the past year from the City of Port Orange and although I wanted to remain anonymous I was required to sign in and make my identity known before the request was filled. The City of Port Orange has violated my constitutional rights.
This video brings back memories to me. I understand that there are several states which have passed laws that taking pictures or video of policemen either in a public street or on your property or in your home are treated as crimes and felonies.
I was a stringer, with a business filed in the state as Port Orange Images. I had a press identification from VCSO which I hung around my next along with a home made identification of my picture and name. Channel 9 use to pay me 70 dollars for my public event videos and they were very generous with what they decided to publish, although some of my videos I was embarrassed to submit. I sent my video to Orlando WFTV right from my van.
I estimate that 96 percent of the police officers I ran across had no problem with me being at the scene unless they felt I was getting in their way. I always maintain that having been in law enforcement I certainly knew how to stay out of their way. My experience with FHP was disgustingly atrocious.
I estimate that 2 percent of the officers I met went out of their way to help me get the video as far as it was possible for them. Scott Stiltner was among that 2 percent, who after the initial emergency was over would come over to me and genuinly ask me how he could help me. Imagine that, help me do my press job. Sgt. Marko Galbreath was great too.
Then there were 2 percent of police officers who not only violated my rights as a citizen, but went out of their way to show me that I was not appreciated being at the scene. There was a female sgt. in Port Orange who regularly came over to me and asked me in a serious questioning way if she could help me. She did not want to help me, she just wanted to show me did not recognize my right conduct my photography business when she was there. At one time the pizza place on nova road , next to the sandwich shop, at been just robbed. On the way to the scene I heard on the police scanner that popd had stopped a vehicle on dunlawton ave. with 4 subjects inside. They had the four out of the car in a felony stop and had them on the ground. I stopped safely on the shoulder of dunlawton ave. and she immediately came over, knowing full well who I was, and asked “can I help you”. Sort of like never giving me legitimacy. I told I wanted to take video of the police stop and she told me I could not, because it was only an investigation and these might not be the guys they want for the armed robber. I left. But never forgot that. it turned out that the four were not connected to the robbery.
I had been gently warned by one of popd officers that a new female cop they had did not like to be photographed for religious reasons. There was a home invasion on Boggs Ford RD, and the neighborhood was sealed off. I could get no further near the scene because this religious female was blocking traffic on Spruce Creek Rd. and Boggsford road. From across the street I videoed her directing traffic with a back drop of her police car and Boggsford road. She yelled over to me, “what are you doing?” I yelled back, I am taking video of the traffic detour. She yelled back, “I do not want you taking a video of me”. I told her I would block her out of the video. She did not seem to be pleased with that. When I finished with the video I thought to my self as I rendered my video on my computer in my van to send to Orlando, “screw her”, if she doesn’t want to be photographed she should get another job. Channel 9 used the video to show the police detour on Bogsford Rd and the female officer went on wftv news. I was waiting to get a complaint from her or popd, but I never did.
I don’t even want to fully tell again the final straw with me. I guy had punched a 75 yr. old man in the mouth and stole his car from p,o. They caught him up in daytona beach.I went up there, took video from across the street. I waited for popd to arrive to take this scum bag away in the popd police caged car. As they walked the arrested person to the popd car the popd sgt. told me to step back. I was on the other safe side of the popd police car. Although this guy was in handcuffs, being escorted to the popd police car with 6 cops around him, both dbpd and popd.I was asked to step back. There was no yellow tape of blocking police officer who I bypassed. Since I had been across the street the sgt did not expect me to approach the excort to the caged car. I was so disgusted that was the last video I took at police incidents. I called up Jason Allen and told him I was quitting for good. He asked me to send the video in because they were going to do a story on it and Jason was filming at the original crime scene. I did send it, but never put in a bill request for the 70 dollars.
That’s went I left. it had been all fun for me, except for the 2 percent of cops who did not appreciate my constitutional rights.
Lately, in about the past month or two, I noticed a problem for citizens in port orange looking for accounting records from the city of port orange. Very often lately the city says they have to research it, and are having difficulty complying with the foi request. It is very apparent to me, a deliberate, stalling cold shoulder is being given to citizens who want accountability records on city financial affairs. Even monthly financial balances are said by the city to not yet be readied.
Once Mayor Green had said publicly to port orange city manager Kisela, that the city manager did not have to stop important work to immediately provide public request information to Ted Noftall. Once, when Mayor Green did not like the “attitude” of a citizens group from Bonks Landing he asked how much the city’s response to the groups foi requests were costing the city.
There is less e mail communication to and from the city manager. This is because it is known that such information is subjected to foi requests. The mayor almost never answers e mail questions. It becomes, “phone me, or I will get back to you.”
This lack of transparency is returning to the good old days of Port Orange. Even the city council is not fully kept up to date by the Mayor and it is beginning to look like this Interim Manager has been given orders to not be so explaining at city council meetings about city affairs.
It will come around to bite them as it did with bad financial deals in the past. But have no doubt, Mayor Green still owns this town. I told his son in e mail and a full explanation why if Lance Green runs to be on city council, the baggage of his father will hurt him. He thanked me for the “lesson” I gave him, and I don’t mind. Lance was correct. I am dictorial. I love it when my information or opinion is rejected because of a dislike of the way I present it. I love it because it gives me an advantage in this ongoing struggle to keep the citizens uninformed. ‘We can’t handle the truth:. — sincerely Hank springer