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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Interesting FOI Developments in AZ....Well Worth a Read

How close did I come to getting arrested by Maricopa County sheriff's deputies today? As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much."

The problem: I had the nerve to want to look at the same public records that sheriff's deputies were scouring at the City of Phoenix public records counter.

First, a little background.

You'll recall that Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has been putting a lot of political heat on Sheriff Joe Arpaio in recent months, ripping Arpaio for conducting "crime-supression sweeps" that are really intended to find illegal immigrants. At a luncheon in March to honor Cesar Chavez, Gordon said the Sheriff's Office was doing little more than locking up "brown people with broken tail lights." He reiterated the theme in a May 2008 Latino Perspectives Magazine article, writing that Arpaio has "created a 'Sanctuary County for Felons' with his reckless priorities–that target brown skin and cracked tail lights– instead of killers and drug dealers."

Pretty harsh words, and when the sheriff gets attacked, he bites back. In late April, the Sheriff's Office put in a public records request for every e-mail obtained or received from the mayor and a bunch of his staff members, including City Manager Frank Fairbanks. Arpaio also wants to see the mayor's meeting calendar and cell phone records. As New Times columnist Sarah Fenske wrote last month, the request appears to be a fishing expedition for any records that could harm the mayor politically.

More here.

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