Transparency News 12/4/18



December 4, 2018


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state & local news stories




“I can and I will have you shot.”

A Roanoke City Council meeting regular who 12 years ago told council members he would have them shot repeated his threat Monday afternoon and brought the afternoon meeting to a halt when he refused to leave. The incident occurred just a month after the council approved a legislative agenda seeking the General Assembly’s permission to bar firearms from council meeting places. “I can and I will have you shot,” Robert Gravely shouted at the city council on Monday, repeating verbatim his threat in 2006 as he complained about how he was treated as a result. Then he added, “Believe it or not, I can.” Mayor Sherman Lea suggested after the meeting that a cooling off period is necessary during which Gravely will be barred from council meetings.
The Roanoke Times

The city’s outgoing mayor has asked for police presence at next week’s City Council meeting in light of threats made by a fellow councilor at the previous meeting to “put your ass in jail” — a statement the councilor denies making. Jackie M. Shornak said the intimidation she felt from Councilor Anthony J. Zevgolis was so intense that she asked Hopewell’s interim police chief to consider assigning a police officer as additional security for the Dec. 11 closed and open meetings, which will be the last one for her and for Zevgolis as council members. She said she also plans to address it with City Manager John M. Altman prior to the meeting. Meanwhile, Zevgolis called Shornak’s claim “an idiotic statement,” adding he does not have the authority to put anyone in jail. The comment was not made directly in front of a microphone, but it was picked up by the feed’s audio. The Progress-Index closely listened to the audio from the feed, and Zevgolis clearly can be heard saying it.
The Progress-Index

Security guards working at Norfolk’s Community Services Board are expected to intervene in “altercations” between clients and in “all crimes,” according to documents released by the city. That stands in direct contrast to what CSB director Sarah Paige Fullersaid in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot two weeks ago, after CSB staff and security did not intervene in a beating that left a man in a coma.
The Virginian-Pilot


stories of national interest

A growing concern among news organizations and open government advocates is the labeling of a certain type of public records request as vexatious, unduly burdensome, nuisance, voluminous, or just annoying. Both government and journalists use these terms to apply to two forms of records request.   The first is a request that is “unduly burdensome” because the request is vague or asks for an unreasonable amount of records. The second category is unduly burdensome because the individual or organization makes a request too frequently or is doing so to harass the agency. NFOIC has created a primer that explores this concern as more state and local governments begin to adopt laws, ordinances and policies that set a bar by determining criteria for these forms of public record requests. 

Four of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s staffers used private email accounts when planning with political consultants what to do immediately after the City Council reversed course on a controversial business head tax to raise money for housing and homelessness services, according to records released Friday to The Seattle Times. The June 11 messages — shared via Gmail accounts among Stephanie Formas, then-Durkan’s top spokeswoman, and deputy mayors Mike Fong, David Moseley and Shefali Ranganathan — show that the mayor’s office considered the pending council vote to repeal the tax a done deal a day before the council formally voted to do so.
The Seattle Times

The University of California at Berkeley on Monday settled a free speech lawsuit accusing the school of discriminating against speakers with conservative views.





NFOIC has created a primer that explores ordinances and policies that set a bar by determining criteria for forms of public record requests.