Saturday, March 23, 2019

FOIA Request of Houston Public Library by SafeLibraries - 03

FOIA Request of Houston Public Library by SafeLibraries - 03

Dear Assistant Public Information Officer Gonzalez:

"Library Rule & Policies" was updated to include "16. Staring, stalking, harassment, or other behavior that reasonably can be expected to disturb others.  This includes photography without Library approval." Source: https://houstonlibrary.org/library-rules-policies

For the remainder of this TPIA request I shall refer to this policy addition as "Rule 16."

Here are my TPIA/FOIA requests, given changes to public policy must be discussed in open public meetings, followed by introductory information:

1) Provide documentation of the exact date when "Library Rule & Policies" was updated to include Rule 16.  I'm not asking for new information or a new document to be drafted in response to this request.  Rather, I am asked for existing documentation, such as an email, a memo, a comment in a web page, a date listing from a web site source repository.

2) Provide documentation of the exact date(s) and location(s) of the public meeting(s) where Rule 16 was discussed in public by the library/city boards or library/city administrations while acting officially as the library/city boards or library/city administrations.

3) Provide a recording(s) of the public discussion(s) of Rule 16 at library/city boards or library/city administrations public meetings.

4) Provide a transcript(s) of the public discussion(s) of Rule 16 at library/city boards or library/city administrations public meetings.

5) Provide minutes of the public discussion(s) of Rule 16 at library/city boards or library/city administrations public meetings.

6) Provide a recording(s) of the public comments(s) involving Rule 16 at library/city boards or library/city administrations public meetings.

7) Provide a transcript(s) of the public comments(s) involving Rule 16 at library/city boards or library/city administrations public meetings.

8) Provide minutes of the public comments(s) involving Rule 16 at library/city boards or library/city administrations public meetings.

9) Provide copies of training materials or example policies that recommend a policy against taking pictures in public of public buildings or the contents of the buildings or people observed in this buildings and that were used in researching, drafting, or promulgating Rule 16.

10) Provide documentation of all "library approvals" that are required by Rule 16.

11) Provide documentation of all library disapprovals given under Rule 16.

12) Provide documentation of the rules by which librarians or library directors are to determine whether or not to grant approval for photography under Rule 16.

13) Provide documentation about how and when library signage is to updated to match the library's online content, such as Rule 16.

14) Provide documentation about which policy is in effect when policy on signage differs from policy online, such as in the case of Rule 16.

To assist in responding, above right shows graphics of Rule 16 absent from policy posted within the library, as it appeared last week, yet present in policy available online.

Now here is the introductory information promised above.

The Texas Public Information Act [TPIA a.k.a. FOIA] gives the public the right to request access to government information. The same applies to the Houston Public Library pursuant to www.houstontx.gov/pia.html that specifically names you as the TPIA contact for the library. Therefore, please respond to the above noncommercial TPIA request in accordance with the law.

I am a reporter on library matters where I publish on both SafeLibraries and on Sexual Harassment of Librarians. As such I may publish anything you send me, and I ask that all fees for the production of TPIA responses be waived, as they have been implicitly in my first request per order of the Texas Attorney General.

Indeed I have written about your library before:
Further, others have written about me with respect to Houston Public Library allowing a convicted pedophile to read to children during Drag Queen StoryTime.  The point is I am a reporter on library matters so I should not be charged a fee.

As to the reduction in fees, "If a governmental body determines that producing the information requested is in the 'public interest' because it will primarily benefit the general public, the governmental body shall waive or reduce the charges." "Shall," not "may."  Source: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/PIA_handbook_2018_0.pdf 194; Gov’t Code § 552.267(a). That this is a matter of public interest is evident by the international media attention the library has received as a result of the library's admitted "oversight" in allowing a registered child sex offender to read to children at Drag Queen StoryTime.

I ask that you send the requested documents in PDF format so they may be easily attached to an email, with the exception of photographs (that should be JPEG), audio files (that should be MP3), and video (that should be MP4 or MOV video files). If the document files are too large to transmit in one single email, I authorize you to transmit them to me either via a free file sharing service such as DropBox or via multiple emails (as many as required to send all of the documents requested).

Where emails are involved, also provide the BCC as well as the CC and the TO. As you know, BCC is for the convenience of the sender, not for circumventing public information laws. If senders/recipients include distribution lists the library created, then please provide the document that lists the individual recipient email addresses in any distribution list; again, distribution lists are for the convenience of the sender, not for circumventing the law. Further, if library business has been conducted via the use of personal emails, then please provide those emails as well. Conducting library business on personal emails is not a valid means for circumventing TPIA.

Any document written or recorded is included as well. That includes voice mails, audio recordings, transcripts or minutes of any public meeting. Library board executive session recordings or minutes are not included in my request if they have not already been made public.

Written or recorded documents also include those made in any telephonic, electronic, or physical meeting with anyone acting on behalf of any library association such as the American Library Association [ALA]. ALA trains librarians that written or recorded documents from ALA-provided trainings, meetings, conferences, etc., are ALA proprietary and may not be released publicly. That ALA claim is false. TPIA controls, not ALA. If a public employee attended anything at public expense, then anything learned/recorded at such an event or as a result thereof has been made public and is discoverable under TPIA no matter what ALA claims. The public has a right to know what business has been conducted at public expense, especially where the library goofed, allowed a pedophile to read stories to children, and is now seeking to expand the drag queen story hour program further.

Be clear ALA top leadership uses personal email to direct librarians to destroy public documents precisely to prevent production under state sunshine laws like TPIA. Example from the private email of the current Interim Director and Deputy Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Esq., of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom: “Subject: URGENT -­ must delete all documents related to 17 Dec crisis communications workshop .… Remove these from your servers today and destroy hard copies. This is an attempt by two individuals to obtain privileged information …. we cannot allow anything from 17 Dec to be produced in response to FOIA.” Source published here:
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

[NOTE: If any librarian wishes to contact me privately/confidentially, perhaps to provide some of this documentation, use SafeLibraries@pm.me.]

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Dan Kleinman, Owner of SafeLibraries® brand library educational services
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