Wednesday, April 9, 2008

William Fleming Forum Comment by Mr. Lea

Jay Warren would not let me rebut the statement by Sherman Lea, Sr., regarding him saying I was wrong about the “closed doors” and that they (Council) can’t disclose the names of the respondents to the amphitheater to be built on Reserve Avenue. It has been the efforts of the Virginia Coalition For Open Government and the Freedom of Information Act Advisory Board to try to educate government entities in their responsibility in regard to the FOIA and “Your Right To Know” – what is a legitimate exemption and what is “hiding” behind an exemption just because it is there.
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In regard to the 5 responses to the amphitheater. Just as we did not care WHO the developer(s) were on Countryside – we don’t care WHO the respondents are to the amphitheater RFP. What they CAN tell us is that the costs range from this to that or even just the average of all 6. They could tell us if the RFP was answered in its entirety. None of the 5 were willing to pony up any $$$ which was the only way it could be affordable to the city.
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Per the Virginia FOIA:
Virginia’s FOIA starts from the presumption that all government records and meetings are open and available to the public. A record cannot be withheld and a meeting cannot be closed unless a specific exemption applies, or unless some other statute in Virginia law applies. Just because an exemption could apply, however, doesn’t mean it must. Exemptions are discretionary, and they must be interpreted narrowly to increase awareness of all citizens of government activities. (§2.2-3700).

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics

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