Letter: Public record laws a joke - East Valley Tribune: Letters To The Editor

Letter: Public record laws a joke

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Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 1:41 pm

So Sierra Vista Republican Rep. David Stevens wants to make it more difficult to get public records. 

Come on, Arizona’s public records laws are a joke! Sure, the law says you must be quickly provided with all public records you request. But that’s just a smoke screen to make the public think they have access to public records.

There are no criminal or civil penalties whatsoever for an elected official or government employee who refuses to provide you with your public records request.

You can’t even call the cops and complain when your public record request is denied. According to the law, your only option is to sue the government agency. And the law doesn’t even guarantee that if you win you will get the cost of your lawyers paid. The law says you might be able to get your legal cost back if you win.

I have made over 150 requests for public records to the Tempe mayor and and city council members, and they have responded to my requests no more than twice. Usually, my requests are for embarrassing information on police or government misconduct, stuff the city of Tempe would prefer to keep in the dark under the rug.

I am sure the reason the Tempe rulers ignore all my requests for public records is because they know there is no punishment whatsoever when they refuse to obey the law.

Mike Ross


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