Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Do a Public Records...Do it for me. By Geniusofdespair

I am asking all our readers to do a public records request. There must be something you are curious about.  All you need is a government email address to send it to. Write "Public Records Request" in the subject line and write your question/questions in the body. It is important to follow up on your request with a reminder in about 2 weeks.  You might have to request that they forward your request to the correct person, as they often shuffle it off to someone else. They might try to duck out, you must persevere.

It is a good exercise for every citizen to do a request. I would be honored if you would send me the results of your exercise.

For the not faint of heart: Try a State of Florida public records request.  I have been trying to do one for a couple of months now and all I do is get shuffled around, for instance these are 3 separate responses I got:

1. You would need to contact these agencies directly regarding your public records request.  Thank you.

2. The Florida Senate does not possess the documents you are requesting.  We recommend that you please reach out to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity or Enterprise Florida, Inc.  Their contact information is below.  Thank you.
3. The Public Records Coordinator is the department’s contact person for public records/open government.


Anonymous said...

I will ask who paid for Bell's trip to China. Who should I ask?

Geniusofdespair said...

If I have to tell you, I might as well do it myself.

Hint: Why not ask Lynda herself?

Anonymous said...

Can I send you the bill when I get the docs? LOL

Geniusofdespair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geniusofdespair said...

Sure, send me all bills. I like getting bills I have no intention of paying.

This is a learning exercise. I want to people to experience how to do one. They can ask for something simple so they won't be charged.

For example:

Ask the elections department how many absentee ballots are discarded for no signature.

No cost on that one.

Anonymous said...

"January 11th, 2013
By Carlos Miller
Florida Public Records Activists Come Down to Miami; Rabble-Rousing Ensues
Florida has some of the most liberal public records laws in the country but you wouldn’t know it when actually requesting such records.
Fortunately, Joel and Robert Chandler are doing everything they can to change that. As many of you know, Robert Chandler was essential in prying public records from the Miami-Dade Police Department before my trial last year. And Joel Chandler, who is seeking non-profit status for his website,, has been at it longer than his younger brother."

Anonymous said...

"March 13th, 2013
By Carlos Miller
Miami Beach Police Internal Affairs Contacts Me About Stupid Cop Statements Caught on Video
Just over a month ago, public records activists Joel and Robert Chandler drove down to Miami to test out local government agencies’ knowledge of public records laws. As I did in November, I tagged along with my video camera to document the exchanges. And as expected, at least one agency had an issue with my camera – the Miami Beach Police Department, specifically Major Angel Vazquez.Vazquez, who is considered to be the department’s second-in-command under Chief Raymond Martinez, claimed that he was unable to meet our request because of my camera. He claimed that I was somehow disrupting “a private business” in a “private building.” And he claimed that he could only meet the Chandlers’ request in his “private office” without my camera recording the exchange."

Anonymous said...

One method...

Sample Florida Public Records Request Letter

Dear [Records Custodian]:

I am writing to request [be as specific about your request as possible], pursuant to the Public Records Act, Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes.

This request includes copies of every document related to the matter, regardless of the format in which the information is stored. [If the information you are looking for is on a computer somewhere, remind the custodian that information stored on a computer is as much a public record as a written page in a book or stored in a filing cabinet.]

If you refuse to provide this information, Chapter 119 requires you advise me in writing and indicate the applicable exemption to the Public Records Act. Also, please state with particularity the reasons for your decision, as required by Section 119.07(2)(a). If the exemption you are claiming only applies to a portion of the records, please delete that portion and provide photocopies of the remainder of the records, according to Section 119.07(2)(a).

I agree to pay the actual cost of duplication as defined in Section 119.07(1)(a). However, if you anticipate that in order to satisfy this request, "extensive use" of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance as defined in Section 119.07(1)(b) will be required, please provide a written estimate and justification.

I request these records be available by [pick a reasonable date]. If you have any questions or need more information in order to expedite this request, please call me at [phone number where you or your editor can be reached].


Your Name
Your Address

Anonymous said...

(d) Subject to the restrictions of copyright and trade secret laws and public records exemptions, agency use of proprietary software must not diminish the right of the public to inspect and copy a public record.

Anonymous said...

(c) An agency may not enter into a contract for the creation or maintenance of a public records database if that contract impairs the ability of the public to inspect or copy the public records of the agency, including public records that are on-line or stored in an electronic recordkeeping system used by the agency.

Anonymous said...

This is How My Acts of Sedition (MAOS) does it...... Explicit

"***Ma’am.Can you explain to me the cost of $9.00 per disc for the dashboard video?
***Mr. Stevens, the Police Department customarily charges $9.00 for a disc produced by the Police Department that contains archived files. In actuality, I have been informed that this portion of your request was, in fact, more labor intensive than the amount we have charged.
***Ma’am. As you well know, FS 119 allows you to charge for the ACTUAL COST of the medium. In what universe does a blank CD/DVD cost $9.00? Just because they charge $9.00, doesn’t mean they’re following FS 119. Just means they’re charging $9.00 for a blank CD/DVD.
***We’ve filed an OIG/SAO complaint on this matter."

Anonymous said...

Remember, there is no need to provide ID or any other personal identifier when requesting documents.

Geniusofdespair said...

Readers: don't get overwhelmed. These are advanced problems we encounter. Ask something simple. Gifts that a county commissioner has declared is another simple request.

Anonymous said...

How much money is owed to water and sewer in unpaid bills?

Anonymous said...

Documents on every instance a certain police officer has used taser on people and has there been testing for illicit drugs on the officer and what are the results?

Anonymous said...

Remember that public records law covers a record or a document that already exists. there is no requirement that an answer to a question be answered with a document prepared for that purpose. Ask for any document that lists, states, illustrates etc. and all others related etc.

Anonymous said...

Please request records from the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Dept.

- Request a list of employees earning $100,000 +
- Request a list of employees earning $200,00 +
- Request a list of how many;
Deputy Directors
Assistant Directors
Assistants to the Director
- Request a list of employees receiving Executive Benefits
- Request a list of how many of the above are in the DROP program

Geniusofdespair said...

I think the goal here was FOR YOU TO DO THE PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS. I am not the only one who can do them. I will publish your findings.

Anonymous said...

Send public records request to Michael Pizzi. Ask him for access to any town credit cards issued to him. He won't give them up.

Anonymous said...

Citizens if you cannot get a public records request in a timely manner---contact the INSPECTOR GENERALS OFFICE OF MIAMI DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA. You will be surprise at the quickness and fastness you will get your public record.

Anonymous said...

The Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General

24-hour Fraud Hotline (305) 579-2593.

Address: 19 West Flagler Street, Suite 220, Miami, Florida 33130
Phone: (305) 375-1946, Fax: (305) 579-2656