Saturday, November 2, 2013

From the legalistic fog of mumbo jumbo jive

Public tax info very hard to get 

Take a letter, Maria
Address it to my wife.
Send a copy to my lawyer
gotta find a new life... - a moldy oldie

Six Shooter Junction – It came to pass that tax man Buddy Skeen, one of the last of the Democrats still in the courthouse, went to the pen, they replaced him with another bean counter, and the people with the shekels rejoiced.

And then – it came time to vote in the same old same old, and everything came off the rails when this bright young man stepped and started asking questions – in the name of THE LAW!

From: R.S. Gates  
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 10:45 AM
To: Ben Masters
Subject: Request

To: Chief Appraiser
I am making application for and requesting access to the following information:
1.       The current taxing unit voting entitlements.
2.       Minutes where the current taxing unit voting entitlements was approved by the board.
3.       Public information related to the vacancy on the Board of Directors due to the departure of Buddy Skeen.
4.       Any e-mail, memo, note or directive related to the current voting unit entitlements not being furnished in response to the previous public information act request.

Thank you,
R.S. Gates

And then – we all found out – it's not all that simple, you see. There is the advice of the district's attorneys after they have been asked to advise the tax appraisers on tax appraisal, and it looks like we're definitely expecting rain – over here.

From: Ben Masters
Sent: 11/1/2013 10:22 AM
To: R.S. Gates
Subject: MCAD - Response to your 10-31-13 e-mail

Mr. Gates:

The district has consulted with its attorneys as to your request for public information concerning the forwarding of an email. Based upon the advice of the district’s attorneys, the district is requesting an attorney general’s decision as to whether the district may release the requested information. A copy of the district’s request to the attorney general will be sent as required in the statue.

Since the matter has now been referred to the district’s attorneys, any further inquiries concerning this  request should be directed to Mr. Matthew Tepper, Attorney at Law, 700 Jeffrey Way, Suite 100. Round Rock, Texas 78665, 512-323-3200.

Ben Masters Jr.
Director of Technology and Appraisal Support
McLennan County Appraisal District

From: R.S. Gates  
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 4:15 PM
To: Ben Masters
Subject: RE: MCAD - Request Recieved

Mr. Masters,

I was able to compose an e-mail and attach another e-mail in under a minute. I am interested if each refusal to provide the requested information constitutes a separate violation of the act. See: 

Sec. 552.353.  FAILURE OR REFUSAL OF OFFICER FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO OR COPYING OF PUBLIC INFORMATION.  (a)  An officer for public information, or the officer's agent, commits an offense if, with criminal negligence, the officer or the officer's agent fails or refuses to give access to, or to permit or provide copying of, public information to a requestor as provided by this chapter.

Please provide the basis for your refusal to provide the requested information.

Thank you

Here's how they handled it last time, way back before Buddy Skeen got sent away to do time for being a Democrat and trading pickups with car dealers and his staff in - ah, well, ahem - innovative ways that upset the Tea Party...

Click here, please...

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