Katrina hagiography

There have been many accounts of the Katrina events this week. I only hope the right version makes it to the history books. It is up to each of us to make sure our children and grandchildren know what really happened. Sunshine is for history, too.



What would Jeb! do?

This is what they mean by “smaller government” and “lower taxes”, “heckuvajob”.


Katrina AP photo

Thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors wait to be evacuated from the Superdome in New Orleans September 2, 2005. After five days of surviving Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents were finally evacuated from the sports stadium by authorities. REUTERS/Jason Reed
Thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors wait to be evacuated from the Superdome in New Orleans September 2, 2005. After five days of surviving Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents were finally evacuated from the sports stadium by authorities. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Virginia media fails to report State Police instruction to BBC reporters to delete footage taken in shooter chase

PRI reporters  Kierran Petersen  and James Edwards are reporting that two BBC journalists were told to either delete footage taken in the chase that found the shooter that killed two WDBJ-TV reporters early Wednesday morning, August 26, 2015, or they would confiscate the camera.

Will the Governor say this is also not available to the public, when this report comes out? And what of the media, covering their own grief, rightfully? Where are the media at in that such obvious violations of the law go unreported?

Strange days, indeed.

BBC reporters Franz Strasser and Tara McKelvey encountered a big obstacle in their coverage of a double slaying of journalists at a Virginia mall.

The two reporters were covering the manhunt of the suspected shooter when they were ordered to delete footage by police. On Wednesday night, Corinne Geller, the statewide public relations manager for the Virginia State Police, tweeted at Strasser.


Department of General Services ignores FOIA request

You can request records by all these methods below, but to request records, write to their FOIA person. Also, FOIA does not apply to “general questions” asked of the agency, but you need not mention FOIA for it to be a FOIA request.

Got all that?

Requesting records from the Department of General Services:

Records may be requested by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone. FOIA does not require requests be in writing. The requester does not have to specifically refer to FOIA in order to request documents.

From a practical perspective, the Department of General Services may ask the request be put in writing to ensure there is a clear statement of the type of records being requested and to reduce the potential for misunderstanding the request.

The request must identify the records the citizen is seeking with “reasonable specificity.” This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records. The request must be specific enough for the records to be identified and located.

Requests must ask for existing records or documents. FOIA allows existing records to be inspected or copied. If a record does not exist, under FOIA, the Department of General Services is not required to create a ‘new’ record. FOIA does not apply when asking general questions about the work of the Department of General Services.

The requester may choose to receive electronic records in any format used in regular course of business by the Department of General Services. For example, a request for records maintained in an Excel database, the requester may elect to receive those records electronically, such as via e-mail or diskette, or receive a printed copy.

General Services may need to clarify the information being requested. Please include appropriate contact information in case the request for information needs clarification is extensive in the amount of documents being requested, and/or to coordinate delivery of the documents.

To request records from the Department of General Services, direct requests to:

Mailing Address:
Attn: FOIA Request
Julie Whitlock, Policy and Legislative Analyst
Department of General Services
1100 Bank Street, Suite 420
Richmond, Virginia 23219

E-mail Address:
In the e-mail subject line please put at least the following: FOIA Request

Phone: 804-786-3311
Fax: 804-371-8305

(emphasis mine)

Does the Governor have time to address this, or the Attorney General?

Chesterfield Supervisor chair: If FOIA information is bad, it will affect commerce

In the Richmond Times Dispatch last week: (concerning how many Confederate license plates are in Chesterfield.)

Chesterfield is aggressively competing with other states, localities and countries to recruit jobs. Let’s assume that decision-makers were in town on this particular day and decided to pick up the local newspaper to catch up on local news. What would they think? Might they simply put down the newspaper and head for the airport? And that same scenario applies to families looking to move to the area.

Words matter. We love Chesterfield. We love you, too, sometimes.

Steve Elswick,
Chairman, Chesterfield Board of Supervisors.

Here’s what I have to say about this:

If you aren’t doing anything wrong, there shouldn’t be any problem.

Opinion – Should public money be accounted for with open meetings?

Recently, a York County Supervisor suggested, that since the minutes for a meeting of his project, H T C (Historic Triangle Cooperative) are published after the fact, that must mean accountability is taken care of.

To start off, he is wrong for the most important reason. By law, he is required to know the Virginia FOIA and abide by it. All appointed and elected officials are required by law to read and understand the law within two weeks of taking office or starting work.

This is once again a grey area that is not covered in the Virginia FOIA. It does not state that all entities that receive public funding will be accountable. I believe it is implied and accepted as such, however.

I can’t think of why anyone would think that keeping an organization’s meetings closed would be good for anyone. The citizens don’t get to know what took place. They don’t know what was considered in the spending of their tax dollars. Politician and officials are looked at askance when talking about secrets and talking about tourism and spending public money.

Why not avoid all that completely and be above board?

Unless you have something to hide, it makes sense, and better yet, it’s the law to be as open and accountable as possible within the framework of the law. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue, it is a citizen’s issue.

Virginia Supreme Court wants me to talk to the Magistrate through a face hole in a public lobby

Threats have been made against me by a former girlfriend about holding my belongings for the last two years, and I am not taking it anymore.

Previously, I went to talk to the Magistrate in Cumberland County, and was forced to discuss my private business in a public lobby in the Sheriff’s Department Building.

No more. I am not someone who enjoys giving my rights to talk to the government in a setting that doesn’t  protect my rights.