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
....


Saturday, March 16, 2019

FOIA Request of Houston Public Library by SafeLibraries - 02

Re: FOIA Request of Houston Public Library by SafeLibraries - 02

Dear Assistant Public Information Officer Gonzalez:

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 below noncommercial TPIA request in accordance with the law. In return for your prompt attention, I will try my best to make the request within the boundaries of the law so as to minimize everyone’s efforts and even try to avoid your need for expensive legal counsel, unlike last time when the Texas Attorney General had to intervene to force compliance. To help you avoid further legal counsel fees, feel free to err on the side of nondisclosure just so long as you tell me what you did and give me a chance to discuss it with you. I will be asking for public information under the law and fully expect redactions to be made in accordance with the law but no further.

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:
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.” Source: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/PIA_handbook_2018_0.pdf 194; 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 matter my TPIA/FOIA request addresses, namely, the admission of an "oversight" in allowing a registered child sex offender to read to children at Drag Queen StoryTime. So please waive all fees as I may not only report on this matter but also provide insight from my almost two decades of experience in library-related matters, thereby making my reporting unique. Last time you tried to change me fees as another means to quash production of documents required by law. Please don't do that again. Literally the world will want to see the documents you produce in response to this request.

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). To the extent any document is available to the public on the Internet, simply providing the URL to the published document will be sufficient to stand in the stead of attaching a PDF version (else attach the PDF if you will not provide the URL, I’m just trying to make things easier for you). I am attempting to make this as easy for you and me as possible and I am willing to work with you should you have any concerns, just use my contact information above.

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 and allowed a pedophile to read stories to children.

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 Acting 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:
I am limiting this TPIA request to two subjects. 1) The attorneys fees for matters relating to my previous FOIA request, the response to which has been compelled by the Texas Attorney General, and 2-19) the viral news of the criminal reading to children at several library events, for which the library has apologized, with this KHOU story being representative:
Given the above, I hereby request under TPIA the following, and responses need only be provided once if they have already been answered/provided in a previous request response:

1) Regarding my previous FOIA request and the FOIA requests of others who were considered together as a group in the recent opinion of the Texas Attorney General who forced compliance with the law, during Sunshine Week and Open Government Week, no less, please provide all legal bills where any work recorded in those bills pertained in any way to any of the FOIA requests. I am trying to determine how much money was spent to hide records from the public. I know a library that spent at least a half a million dollars and cried poverty to raise taxes to pay for more legal legerdemain (the lawyers recommended librarians not call police when patrons viewed child pornography because that might violate the child porn viewers intellectual freedom rights), so I'm now curious in this case, especially since proper handling of initial concerns may have precluded all this.

2) Given the KHOU report reveals, "A media spokesperson for the library confirmed one of the program’s drag queens, Tatiana Mala Nina, is Alberto Garza, a 32-year-old child sex offender. In 2008, he was convicted of assaulting an 8-year-old boy," please provide what documentation you have on that individual.

3) Given the KHOU report reveals, "In a statement, the Houston Public Library admits they didn’t do a background check on Garza and said Garza will not be involved in any future library programs," please provide that statement and all drafts of what became that statement.

4) Given the KHOU report reveals, "'In our review of our process and of this participant, we discovered that we failed to complete a background check as required by our own guidelines,' the library said in a statement," please provide those guidelines as they exist now, and as they existed at the time of the sex offender's presence in the library to read to children, and all drafts of what became those guidelines. Further, provide documentation of the "review of our process and of this participant." Provide documentation showing what background is checked in a background check. Provide documentation showing how such checks are performed. Provide documentation showing bills for private detectives to perform checks or other goods or services consumed to perform such checks. Provide browser histories of all background checks.

5) Given the KHOU report reveals, "We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter," please provide all crisis management and media management documentation including documentation on how to speak with media so as to shape a message to the library's benefit. It is entirely possible, for example, existing documentation accounts for instances such as this and that the "oversight" language is literally a cut and paste from crisis management or media management documentation. Most libraries have this kind of documentation, whether drafted by themselves or in a book such as the Intellectual Freedom Manual (in which I appear, depending on the edition) drafted by the American Library Association or in notes or handouts brought back from crisis and media management workshops.

6) Given the KHOU report reveals, "we have not received any complaints about any inappropriate behavior by participants at storytimes," please provide all complaints of any kind related in any way to the "storytimes."

7) Given the KHOU report reveals, "'We are taking the appropriate action to ensure that the status of every participant in every program throughout our system is verified. We will continue to review our process to ensure that this cannot happen again,'" please provide documentation on what action will be taken to ensure the status of every participant in every program throughout your system is verified. Also provide documentation on the review process. Also provide documentation the review process will occur at public meetings or otherwise in compliance with sunshine laws. This way the public can decide whether or not the action taken is "appropriate." "Appropriate" is just another fluffy word like "oversight" that is intended to mollify what happened in this case. The public wants to see documentation of what action will be taken and documentation of what was the review process that led to the documented plan for action.

8) If any documentation includes canceling Drag Queen StoryTimes until the review process is complete and the new procedures are finalized, then that's part of this TPIA / FOIA request. When books are challenged, libraries refuse to remove them until the review process is complete, and it could take months. Similarly, until the review process is complete, and it could take months, I'd expect cancellation of existing Drag Queen StoryTime events like an upcoming one this month. Please provide documentation of all such cancellations and responses thereto.

9) Given the KHOU report reveals, "Protesters say they want more than apologies; they want heads to roll," please provide all documentation of personnel changes resulting from the present debacle, or any planning for personnel changes.

10) Given the KHOU report reveals, "Drag Queen Storytime’s creators say it’s part of a national program that aims to promote love and acceptance," I note the following. Love and acceptance is nice but it's not the issue. The issue here is "Drag Queen Storytime" is part of a "national program," in other words, it's a business. I am certain the library has a policy on how businesses may or may not promote their business within the library. Provide that policy. I am certain the library has a policy on not promoting individual businesses by providing free time, free space, free advertising, free promotion, etc., to certain businesses. Provide that policy. Provide all documentation about allowing a business to repeatedly use a library in a manner that violates library policy. Provide all documentation about what services where provided to such businesses and the potential costs for those services were they to be purchased in an arms-length transaction instead of gifted by the library, and by library I mean the library, any library related friends group, any library related endowment group, or any other means for such businesses to benefit without direct involvement of the library by itself. Also, provide documentation of all publicity and other benefits and services given the Drag Queen Storytime business by the library.

11) Given Texas law Sec. 24-5 - Rules and regulations - states, "(a) The director shall have authority, subject to the approval of the mayor and city council, to prescribe rules and regulations for the administration of the department and for the orderly government and use of the library system, provided that such regulations shall not conflict with valid laws or ordinances. Without limitation, the director is authorized to include provisions that govern the use of library premises by the public, including the use of the property around the library, in order to promote an environment that is protective of the health and well-being of patrons and children while at the library facility. A copy of such rules and regulations shall be maintained for public inspection in each library within the system, in the office of the director and in the office of the city secretary," please provide a copy of "such rules and regulations" "maintained for public inspection."

12) Further, provide documentation where allowing businesses to repeatedly present as library programs instead of in the public meeting rooms per public meeting room polices is done "for the orderly ... use of the library system," as required by Sec. 24-5.

13) Further, with regard to Request #12, provide documentation where the director has obtained "the approval of the mayor and city council," as required by Sec. 24-5, to selectively promote a specific business as has been done in the present debacle where the business obtained so many benefits that tossing aside security concerns was part of the package deal, showing more concern for the business than for the safety of the community.

14) Further, provide documentation where a business featuring drag queens reading to children "promote[s] an environment that is protective of the health and well-being of patrons and children while at the library facility," as required by Sec. 24-5.

15) Further, with regard to Request #14, provide documentation where the director has obtained "the approval of the mayor and city council," as required by Sec. 24-5.

16) Provide all documentation of legal advice provided to the library to allow the library to act outside the law of Sec. 24-5 or otherwise in any manner involving Sec. 24-5.

17) Provide all documentation of legal advice provided to the City of Houston to allow the library to act outside the law of Sec. 24-5 or otherwise in any manner involving Sec. 24-5.

18) Provide copies of all liability policies ensuring the library against various losses, including litigation.

19) Given the KHOU report reveals, "A media spokesperson for the library," provide documentation on the library's limiting media exposure to a single media spokesperson. Provide all documentation on media attempting to speak with all library employees, trustees, or librarians, other than the media spokesperson. Provide documentation where that media spokesperson is involved with library trustee decisions or librarian meetings or in any way has any knowledge or experience with the library, other than having little direct knowledge except how to use words like "appropriate" or "oversight" to mollify the truth. It is quite likely that the PR person did not handle this matter properly from the start, that's why is grew bigger and bigger, so I'm unsure why such a person can be trusted with the media now or why the media should not attempt to speak with someone having real authority and experience.

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

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Dan Kleinman, Owner of SafeLibraries® brand library educational services
....

Dated: 16 March 2019 (Saturday)

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


NOTE ADDED SAME DAY 16 MARCH 2019:

The above publication has been cited/linked by another publication:

NOTE ADDED 17 MARCH 2019:

Another publication cites/links me:
Even Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas, is now engaged in this debacle at HPL:



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Houston Library Forced by Texas Attorney General to Release Documents on Drag Queen Story Hour - During Sunshine Week

The Houston Public Library had to be forced by the Texas Attorney General to release public documents on drag queens reading to small children during library-endorsed programming.  This during Sunshine Week and Open Government Week.

The leading question is exactly why did the library go all the way to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to try to delay and quash three separate requests for public documents relating to drag queens reading to children?  I do not know yet, but it seems apparent they have something to hide.  We are talking about a public library that supposedly supports freedom of speech and intellectual freedom, yet this library suppressed just that, spending who knows how much money in legal fees, even though sunshine laws compel production of such documents, at least in my case.

[Note added 15 March 2019: It appears I was spot on.  The library admitted to allowing a registered sex offender to read to children at Drag Queen Story Time.  This may be related to why the library acted as it did.  The library is quoted on KHOU to have said, "“WE DEEPLY REGRET THIS OVERSIGHT AND THE CONCERN THIS MAY CAUSE OUR CUSTOMERS. WE REALIZE THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER.”  Just an "oversight."  I see.  More Drag Queen Story Times are scheduled.]

I have not seen the other two FOIA requests on that library (called TPIA in Texas), but mine was directed toward whether the library was following the law and its own policy.  I cannot yet say much else because I have yet to receive the documents the Attorney General ordered to be released to me and others.  And I may have to file additional FOIA requests.

By the way, here's the Bible of filing FOIA requests on libraries that have something to hide, and I recommend this book as a result:
So that's all I have now.  More as news develops.  And the documents I received today are republished before after conversion to text format.

Here's what I wrote in the past on this issue:
See also:
My secure email (that only I get and that no company like Google, Facebook, Twitter can read) is SafeLibraries@pm.me, should anyone wish to contact me via that means.  LIBRARIANS WORKING AT HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY are welcome to contact me there or to send documents to me there, especially ones your library may be ordering you to destroy.



CITY OF HOUSTON 
Legal Department
Sylvester Turner 
Mayor 

March 13, 2019 

Sent via electronic mail to: 
Dan Kleinman 
safelibraries@gmail.com 

     Re:    Your Texas Public Information Act request received on December 26, 2018, for various information regarding the City of Houston Public Library and Drag Queen Story Hour; Attorney General Informal Letter Ruling OR2019-06437. GC No. 25685 

Dear Mr. Kleinman: 

As you are aware from your copy of Attorney General Informal Letter Ruling 2019-06437, the City has received a response to our request for an opinion from the Attorney General. Because the Attorney General has determined that we must withhold portions of the information you requested, may withhold other portions, and must release the remainder of the responsive documents to you, we are closing our file on this matter. 

By copy of this letter, we are requesting that the Houston Public Library provide the responsive documents to you in accordance with the Attorney General's ruling.  If you have a question about your public information request, please contact Marjorie Gonzalez at (832) 393-1340. 

Sincerely,

/s/

Jill Bradford 
Senior Paralegal 

Enclosure 

cc:    Marjorie Gonzalez, HPL 

Z:\GENERAL\JMB\WH-19\Kleinman 25685.docx /ORF/



KEN PAXTON 
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS 

March 7, 2019 

[[RECEIVED - MAR 11 2019 - GENERAL COUNSEL]]


Ms. Danielle R. Folsom, Mr. Rahat Huq, & Ms. Nneku Kan 
Assistant City Attorneys 
City of Houston 
P.O. Box 368 
Houston, Texas 77001-0368 

OR2019-06437 

Dear Ms. Folsom, Mr. Huq, and Ms. Kanu: 

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act (the "Act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Yourrequest was assigned ID# 753435 (GC Nos. 25665, 25685, 25693). 

The City of Houston and the Houston Public Library (collectively, the "city") received three requests from different requestors for information pertaining to specified policies of Houston Public Library (the "library") and the Drag Queen Story Hour during specified periods.[1] You state the city does not have information responsive to portions of the requests.[2] You claim the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.103 of the GovernmentCode. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted 
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     [1] We note you sent the first requestor an estimate of charges pursuant to section 552.2615 of the Government Code. See Gov't Code § 552.2615. The estimate of charges required the requestor to provide a deposit for payment of anticipated costs under section 552.263 of the Government Code. See id. § 552.263(a). You inform us the city received the required payment on December 6, 2019. See id. § 552.263(e) (if governmental body requires deposit or bond for anticipated costs pursuant to section 552.263, request for information is considered to have been received on date governmental body receives bond or deposit). 

     [2] We note the Act does not require a governmental body to disclose information that did not exist at the time the request was received. Econ. Opportunities Dev. Corp. v. Bustamante, 562 S.W.2d 266 (Tex. Civ. App.-San Antonio 1978, writ dism'd); Attorney General Opinion H-90 (1973); Open Records Decision Nos. 452 at 2-3 (1986), 342 at 3 (1982), 87 (1975); see also Open Records Decision Nos. 572 at 1 (1990), 555 at 1-2 (1990), 416 at 5 (1984). 
--------------------

Ms. Danielle R. Folsom, Mr. Rahat Huq, Ms. Nneku Kanu- Page 2 

representative sample of information.[3] We have also received and considered comments from the third requestor. See Gov't Code § 552.304 (interested party may submit comments stating why information should or should not be released). 

Initially, we note the first requestor asks the city to answer questions. The Act does not require a governmental body to answer factual questions, conduct legal research, or create new information in responding to a request. See Open Records Decision Nos. 563 at 8 (1990), 555 at 1-2 (1 990). However, a governmental body must make a good-faith effort to relate a request to any responsive information that is within its possession or control. Open Records Decision Nos. 561 at 8-9 (1990), 555 at 1-2. We assume the city has made a good-faith effort to do so. 

Next, we note the third requestor asserts the city failed to comply with the procedural obligations under the Act with respect to his request. Pursuant to section 552.301(b), a governmental body must ask for a decision and state the exceptions that apply within ten business days of receiving the written request. See Gov't Code § 552.301(b). The request at issue was sent to the city after business hours on December 21, 2018, and you state the city was closed on December 24, 2018, and December 25, 2018. Therefore, for purposes of section 552.301, the city received the request for information on December 26, 2018. This office does not count the date the request was received or days a governmental body is closed for the purpose of calculating a governmental body's deadlines under the Act. The city also states it was closed on January 1, 2019. The envelope in which the city submitted to this office the information required by section 552.301(b) bears a meter-mark of January 10, 2019. See id. § 552.308(a) (prescribing rules for calculating submission dates of documents sent via first class United States mail, common or contract carrier, or interagency mail). Thus, we conclude the city's correspondence to this office was timely mailed. Consequently, we find the city complied with the procedural requirements mandated by section 552.301 of the Government Code with respect to the third request. 

We note the city seeks to withhold, among other things, fliers, library event calendars, and library policies that may have been released to the public. The Act does not permit selective disclosure of information to the public. See id. §§ 552.007(b), .021; Open Records Decision No. 463 at 1-2 (1987). Informationthat has been voluntarily released to a member of the public may not subsequently be withheldfrom another member of the public, unless public disclosure of the information is expressly prohibited by law or the information is confidential under law. See Gov't Code § 552.007(a); Open Records Decision Nos. 518 at 3 (1989), 490 at 2 (1988). Although you raise section 552.103 ofthe Government Code for the information at issue, this section does not prohibit the release of information or make information confidential. See Dallas Area Rapid Transit v. Dallas Morning News, 4 S.W.3d 469, 475-76 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1999, no pet.); Open Records Decision Nos. 665 at 2 n.5 (2000) 
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     [3] We assume the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of the requested records as a whole. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988), 497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach, and therefore does not authorize the withholding of, any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than that submitted to this office. 
--------------------

Ms. Danielle R. Folsom, Mr. Rahat Huq, Ms. Nneku Kanu- Page 3 

(discretionary exceptions generally), 663 at 5 (1999) (waiver of discretionary exceptions). Thus, to the extent the city voluntarily released any of the submitted information to the public, the city may not now withhold such information under sections 552.103 but must instead release it. However, to the extent the city has not voluntarilyreleased any of the submitted information to the public, we will consider your argument under section 552.103 of the Government Code. 

We also note some of the submitted information is subject to section 552.022 of the Government Code. Section 552.022(a) provides, in relevant part: 

     (a) [T]he following categories of information are public information and not excepted from required disclosure unless made confidential under this chapter or other law: 

          (1) a completed report, audit, evaluation, or investigation made of, for, or by a governmental body, except as provided by Section 552.108; [and] 

          ...

          (17) information that is also contained in a public court record[.] 

Gov't Code § 552.022(a)(l), (17). The submitted information includes a completed report that is subject to section 552.022(a)(l), and a court-filed document subject to section 552.022(a)(17). The city must release the completed report pursuant to section 552.022(a)(1) unless it is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108 ofthe Government Code or made confidential under the Act or other law. See id. § 552.022(a)(l). The city must release the information subject to section 552.022(a)(17) unless it is made confidential under the Act or other law. See id. § 552.022(a)(17). You seek to withhold the information subject to section 552.022 under section 552.103 ofthe Government Code. However, section 552.103 is discretionary in nature and does not make information confidential under the Act. See Dallas Area Rapid Transit v. Dallas Morning News, 475-76; see also ORD 665 at 2 n.5 (2000) (discretionary exceptions generally), 663 at 5 (1999) (waiver of discretionary exceptions). Therefore, the city may not withhold the information subject to section 552.022 under section 552.103 of the Government Code. As you raise no further exceptions for the completed report, which we have marked, the city must release this infornation pursuant to section 552.022(a)(l). However, because section 552.101 of the Government Code makes information confidential for purposes of section 552.022, we will consider the applicability of this exceptions to the information subject to section 552.022(a)(17).[4] Further, we will consider your argument under section 552.103 for the information not subject to section 552.022.
----------
     [4] The Office of the Attorney General will raise a mandatory exception on behalf of a governmental body, but ordinarily will not raise other exceptions. See Open Records Decision Nos. 48 1 (1987), 480 (1987), 470 (1987). 
--------------------

Ms. Danielle R. Folsom, Mr. Rahat Huq, Ms. Nneku Kanu- Page 4 

Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure "informationconsidered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Gov't Code § 552.101. Section 552.101 encompasses section 560.003 of the Government Code. Section 560.003 provides that "[a] biometric identifier in the possession of a governmental body is exempt from disclosure under [the Act]." Id. § 560.003; see also id. §§ 560.001(1) (defining "biometric identifier" to include fingerprints), .002(1)(A) (governmentalbody may not sell, lease, or otherwise disclose individual's biometric identifier to another person unless individual consents to disclosure), .003 (biometric identifiers in possession of governmental body exempt from disclosure under the Act). Section 560.002 of the Government Code provides, in part, however, "[a] governmental body that possesses a biometric identifier of an individual . . .may not sell, lease, or otherwise disclose the biometric identifier to another person unless . . . the individual consents to the disclosure[.]" Id. § 560.002(1)(A). We have marked a fingerprint. In this instance, the first requestor is the individual whose fingerprint is at issue. Accordingly, the marked fingerprint information must be released to the first requestor pursuant to section 560.002(1)(A). Therefore, the city must release the entirety of the court-filed document to the first requestor pursuant to section 552.022(a)(17). However, there is no indication section 560.002 permits the disclosure of the marked fingerprint information to the second and third requestors. Therefore, the city must withhold the information we have marked from the second and third requestors under section 552.101 in conjunction with section 560.003 of the Government Code. The city must release the remaining information in the court-filed document to the second and third requestors pursuant to section 552.022(a)(17) of the Government Code. 

We will now address your argument under section 552.103 of the Government Code for the remaining information. Section 552.103 of the Government Code provides as follows: 

     (a) Information is excepted from [required public disclosure] if it is information relating to litigation of a civil or criminal nature to which the state or a political subdivision is or may be a party or to which an officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision, as a consequence of the person's office or employment, is or may be a party. 

     ...

     (c) Information relating to litigation involving a governmental body or an officer or employee of a governmental body is excepted from disclosure under Subsection (a) only if the litigation is pending or reasonably anticipated on the date that the requestor applies to the officer for public information for access to or duplication of the information.
Gov't Code § 552.103(a), (c). A governmental body has the burden of providing relevant facts and documents to show the section 552.103(a) exception is applicable in a particular situation. The test for meeting this burden is a showing (1) litigation was pending or reasonably anticipated on the date the governmental body received the request for information, and (2) the information at issue is related to that litigation. Univ. of Tex. Law 
--------------------

Ms. Danielle R. Folsom, Mr. Rahat Huq, Ms. Nneku Kanu- Page 5 

Sch. v. Tex. Legal Found., 958 S.W.2d 479, 481 (Tex. App.-Austin 1997, orig. proceeding); Heard v. Houston Post Co., 684 S.W.2d 210, 212 (Tex. App.-Houston[lst Dist.] 1984, writ ref'd n.r.e.); Open Records Decision No. 551 at 4 (1990). A governmental body must meet both prongs of this test for information to be excepted under section 552.103(a). 

You state, and provide documentation showing that at the time the city received the first and second requests, the city was a party to pending litigation styled Christopher, et. al v. Lawson, et. al, Case No. 18 CV3943, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. You also inform us the city's motion for summary judgment was granted and the claims against it were dismissed before the third request was received. However, you also state the deadline for filing an appeal had not passed as of the date the city received the third request. Based on your representations and our review, we find the city was a party to pending litigation at the time it received the instant requests. You also state the information at issue pertains to the substance of the lawsuit claims. Based on your representations and our review, we find the information at issue is related to the pending litigation. Therefore, we conclude the city may withhold the remaining information under section 552.103 of the Government Code. 

Generally, however, once information has been obtained by all parties to the litigation though discovery or otherwise, no section 552.103(a) interest exists with respect to that information. See Open Records Decision Nos. 349 (1982), 320 (1982). Thus, information that has either been obtained from or provided to all parties to the pending litigation is not excepted from disclosure under section 552.103(a) and must be disclosed. Further, the applicability of section 552.103(a) ends once the litigation has concluded. See Attorney General Opinion MW-575 (1982); see also Open Records Decision No. 350 (1982). 

In summary, to the extent to the extent the city voluntarilyreleased any of the submitted information to the public, the city must release it. The city must release the completed report, which we have marked, pursuant to section 552.022(a)(l) of the Government Code. The city must release the entirety of the court-filed document to the first requestor pursuant to section 552.022(a)(17) ofthe Government Code. The city must withholdthe information we have marked inthe court-filed document under section 552.101 ofthe Government Code in conjunction with section 560.003 of the Government Code and release the remaining information in the court-filed document to the second and third requestors pursuant to section 552.022(a)(17) of the Government Code. The city may withhold the remaining information under section 552.103 of the Government Code. 

This letter ruling is limited to the particular information at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other information or any other circumstances. 

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For more information concerning those rights and responsibilities, please visit our website at http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/open/ 
--------------------

Ms. Danielle R. Folsom, Mr. Rahat Huq, Ms. Nneku Kanu- Page 6 

orl_ruling_info.shtml, or call the Office of the Attorney General's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at (877) 673-6839. Questions concerning the allowable charges for providing public information under the Act may be directed to the Office of the Attorney General, toll free, at (888) 672-6787. 

Sincerely, 

/s/

Matthew Taylor 
Assistant Attorney General 
Open Records Division 

MHT/gw 

Ref: ID#753435 

Enc. Submitted documents 

c:   3 Requestors 
     (w/o enclosures) 





NOTE ADDED 14 MARCH 2019:

My secure email (that only I get and that no company like Google, Facebook, Twitter can read) is SafeLibraries@pm.me, should anyone wish to contact me via that means.  LIBRARIANS WORKING AT HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY are welcome to contact me there or to send documents to me there.  I'm weaving this paragraph into my reporting above.


NOTE ADDED 15 MARCH 2019:

BREAKING @KHOU @HoustonTX: @houstonlibrary ADMITS REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER READ TO KIDS AT DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR!!

“WE DEEPLY REGRET THIS OVERSIGHT AND THE CONCERN THIS MAY CAUSE OUR CUSTOMERS. WE REALIZE THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER.”


URL of this page: 
safelibraries.blogspot.com/2019/03/houston-library-forced-foia.html

On Twitter: 
@HoustonLibrary @HoustonTX @KenPaxtonTX
@MassResistance @SunshineWeek @TXAG

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Public Libraries Must Unblock Social Media Participants

Public libraries must unblock social media participants.  For reporting truthful news about libraries that library directors or library boards do not want people to hear, I have been blocked by a number of libraries, including @BKLYNlibrary, @BPL, @ElyriaLibrary (an association library, meaning a private non-profit, despite the name), @KCLibrary, @LHPL, @NorthbrookPL, @OrlandPkLibrary.  For example, "You are blocked from following @bpl and viewing @bpl's Tweets. Learn more."

Blocking means I cannot read anything published on that particular site, such as Twitter or Facebook, and that blocks my First Amendment rights and my ability to report on activities at that library that might have helped the community.  In other words, blocking harms the community generally as voices are illegally cut off from the conversation.  Blocking also makes a mockery out of any library's claim to value free speech, intellectual freedom, and the First Amendment.  So blocking harms the libraries themselves.  Blocking, in the case of public entities, simply hurts everyone.

I have even been blocked by libraries because individual employees who do not agree with my reports about the American Library Association run the social media accounts and block me on their own accord, like @CHPLNJ.  When I informed the library director, I was immediately unblocked.  I have since been occasionally but regularly retweeting that library to help bring attention to its programming.  And that's what I might do with the other libraries were I to regain access.

The ACLU and its state affiliates have recently won a string of legal matters showing that public entities may not block social media participants.

Further, my co-author Kevin DuJan and his partner Megan Fox won a $55,000 settlement from the Orland Park Public Library [OPPL] (that still blocked me until I wrote the email below) in part for blocking them on Facebook.  They wrote a book about the ordeal, about how OPPL allowed and hid child p—rnography from the public with the active help of the American Library Association [ALA].  The book is highly readable and is like a bible of open government and FOIA actions and counteractions needed to expose public corruption and harm.  Buy and read, "Shut Up!: The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment," pictured at top right.  "I hope someone writes about this someday," said Barbara M. Jones, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the ALA.  Well, there you go.

Finally, for those who need more convincing, even ALA sides with free speech on this issue. "Nonetheless, there is a strong argument that opening social media for public comment creates a designated public forum as it does in the analogous situation where a governmental entity opens a meeting room or exhibit space for public use.  ....  A social media account serves as the digital face of the library and should maintain the same level of customer service provided in the physical library."  Source:
Here are the reasons ALA says is okay to remove content—I never crossed the line—notice "temporary blocking," not the permanent blocking I've experienced:
Unacceptable behavior that may result in the removal of a post or the temporary blocking of a user could include speech that is not protected by the First Amendment, such as copyright violations, obscenity, child p[—]nography, defamatory or libelous comments, or imminent or true threats against the library, library staff or other users.  ....
A library can urge its users to adhere to the established acceptable use policies of the host platform and to engage in civil discourse, but as a governmental entity subject to the strictures of the First Amendment (unlike the private entity that may be the host platform), the library will have an obligation to regulate its social media pursuant to First Amendment law and cannot restrict speech on the basis that the private entity might do so.  Courts likely would find that the library or other governmental entity could not avoid its obligations under the First Amendment by using a private platform.
Bingo:
Best practices include developing a procedure through which libraries notify patrons of why they are being blocked, provide an appellate process within the library for the patron to challenge the removal, and determine an acceptable time period for the patron to proceed through a reinstatement procedure.  Permanently blocking a patron from the social media site based on prior comments could be considered a prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment.
90-minute workshop,
10 Jan 2019, 2:30pm ET
None of the libraries that blocked me notified me.  Zero.  Now I have ALA as a reliable source to prove, "Permanently blocking a patron from the social media site based on prior comments could be considered a prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment."  Thank you.

And regarding open government FOIA issues, ALA holds:
The social media content of a public library or publicly funded academic library can be subject to an open records, or Freedom of Information Act, request.  All user’s posts that are removed for any reason whatsoever should be securely retained in accordance with your organization's retention schedule.  The policy for how long a library retains these social media posts should be clearly stated in its social media policy and reviewed by legal counsel.
So all libraries should clear out their social media block lists and avoid placing blocks in the first place, especially if the reason for the block is that they don't like what reporters are reporting.  I recommend librarians, library directors, and library boards of trustees read this ALA source and write good social media use policies based thereupon: "Social Media Guidelines for Public and Academic Libraries."  Free tip from SafeLibraries® brand library educational services that could save lots of time and trouble.


Below is one of the emails I wrote to the various libraries to try to clear the blocks—and let me note that in less than a day since I sent these messages, the First Amendment was respected by 1) Brooklyn Public Library @BKLYNlibrary, 2) Elyria Public Library @ElyriaLibrary, and 3) Orland Park Public Library @OrlandPkLibrary, so kudos to them:



Request for Unblock per First Amendment Jurisprudence


Dear Orland Park Public Library Director Mary Weimar,

Your governmental digital media including your Twitter account @OrlandPkLibrary blocks my digital media reader/commenter accounts including my Twitter account @SafeLibraries. Given recent legal decisions requiring governmental digital media to be open to all and to not block anyone, I am hereby asking you to unblock my digital media accounts. I will then be able to read and comment upon your public statements again.

I am writing this email in support of the First Amendment in an effort to end the governmental censorship as quickly as possible with the least amount of effort for all involved. Simply unblock and unmute me.

My next step would be to file a FOIA request for block lists, something that would take more time and money to address and that must be addressed. So here's your chance to voluntarily support free speech quickly with a minimal amount of effort and money expended. A win-win for everyone.

Thank you.
--
----------
Dan Kleinman, Owner of SafeLibraries® brand library educational services
Email:          SafeLibraries@gmail.com
Reportage:  SafeLibraries®
                     Sexual Harassment of Librarians
Twitter:        SafeLibraries
Facebook:   Dan Kleinman
About Me:   tinyurl.com/AboutDan
Address:     641 Shunpike Rd #123, Chatham, NJ 07928
Phone:        973-610-8296; 845-397-7233
Donations:  tinyurl.com/SafeLibrariesDonation



Steven Bell
NOTE ADDED 9 JANUARY 2019:

See also:


NOTE ADDED 9 JANUARY 2019:

Kudos to Birmingham Public Library @BPL that has now unblocked me as well.  Thank you.


NOTE ADDED 10 JANUARY 2019:

One graphic replaced with another featuring an ALA webinar on drafting social media policies that being given today:
Also, today I have been unblocked by Liberty Hill Public Library @LHPL and by Northbrook Public Library @NorthbrookPL, so kudos to them as well.

I remain blocked by only @KCLibrary.  And I'm also blocked by the Nebraska Library Commission @NLC_News.

Let me add that my being unblocked as I was is very gratifying mainly because the unblocking was done so quickly and at so little cost to any community, basically $0.  Where I stay blocked may result in escalating efforts to comply with First Amendment law or not that will be only the library's own doing.


NOTE ADDED 11 JANUARY 2019:

I have been unblocked by the Nebraska Library Commission @NLC_News, so good on them.  They did not know why I was on the block list with obvious spam accounts.  So I responded as follows, and they responded that they appreciated the heads up:
Thank you!

My experience tells me that individual librarians having access to the public accounts act on their own to block me, likely in violation of any existing social media policy.  At least one library director told me this.

Background is that I am have for almost two decades been critical of American Library Association policy.  As a result, one prominent librarian sent out word that other librarians should block me on any social media so that I would get a black mark and be censored by that social media.  Hundreds blocked me, still do.  Some platforms blocked me as a result of all the negativity, the heckler's veto, as it were.  It is more than likely that some of those hundreds of librarians took advantage of their ability to access the social media sites of government entities to block me there as well to increase the power of the heckler's veto.  I suspect that's how I ended up on your block list.  Who knows, it may be an issue to look into so it doesn't cause further headache, especially in light of the recent ACLU litigation finding that public entity accounts should not be blocking people.

So now that I'm unblocked, I will add @NLC_News to my public list of state libraries.  Done.  Hopefully you'll get a few more eyes now.  By the way, ALA Midwinter starts soon, and if you add #alamw19 into your tweets, many people will view them at that time.

Thanks again.
@KCLibrary still blocks me.

Let me add that many in ALA itself block me, including top leadership, including the president herself, and even though she had been extraordinarily nice to me in the past when I met her at FTRF45 at Scholastic in New York City and she insisted on introducing me to Barbara Jones, then head of OIF.  But ALA is not a public entity so I'm not asking them to unblock me.  Still, for an organization so dedicated to free speech and intellectual freedom, blocking legitimate criticism looks inconsistent, at the least.  It looks like, in their own words, it "could be considered a prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment."  If you mean things, you need to be held to account.


NOTE ADDED 15 JANUARY 2019:



NOTE ADDED 16 JANUARY 2019:

Yay!  The last library to block me has finally unblocked me.  Kudos to Kansas City Public Library @KCLibrary (that's the one in Missouri).

ANNOUNCEMENT


And now, an announcement.  I am very happy that all this was resolved with a minimum of time and effort for the libraries concerned.  I did this with a few emails or a few online forms or even a phone call here and there, always politely, and without the need for filling any freedom of information act requests that can cause some libraries to run for legal advice that only drives up the costs for the communities.  This is the way I usually try to solve problems.

I say this because some of those librarians who block me say defamatory things about me just to convince others to silence me as well.  I mean sick, sick stuff.  Once my wife was in a library when a librarian, not knowing her patron was my wife, began telling really disturbing things about me that my wife knew were not true.  My child was there too listening.  No kidding, the effort to defame me is so widespread that some librarian randomly told my wife how awful I am without even knowing she was my wife.

Another time a reporter told me he didn't want to take my call because of what ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom told him about me.  But he suspected he may have been misled so he was willing to give me a chance.  When what I reported to him and when the reliable sources I supplied turned out to be 100% true, his words, then he believed me and then he did the media report and I appeared on television as a result.

ALA itself even defames me, sometimes openly and sometimes by just sticking the knife in my back without my knowing.  No honor at all.  Openly, ALA's head of its Office for Intellectual Freedom, then named James LaRue, mocked me on Twitter: "ALA in Orlando: blood drives, school supplies, many contributions. We stand by the victims, we offer aid. @Safelibraries does ... nothing."  Oh yes, @jaslar blocks me on Twitter, the then head of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.  Not joking.


Behind my back, ALA's OIF tells all librarians that if I should try to attend a lecture where ultimately ALA trained librarians to be homophobic using a homophobic teacher they knew was homophobic but still rehired, ALA should be informed so they could excise the obviously harmful parts of the training.  Ultimately ALA #2 at OIF, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Esq., now the Acting Director for the second time, used her private email dcs47@hushmail.com to order all librarians to destroy any notes or recordings of the homophobic training.  But first, she sent this, emphasis hers: "IF Dan Kleinman or some of our detractors attend, we will need to change our content.  We've dealt with this before, so if it is an open webinar, we just need to know that."

So librarians and the American Library Association are adept at defaming people who report on ALA's harmful policies and practices, such as homophobia.  They never debate honestly, it's merely smear after smear.  Because they know they would lose.  So this is likely part of how I ended being blocked by so many free speech librarians and libraries and even a state library.

All this so people won't hear my message, backed up by reliable sources, that ALA intentionally harms communities including children via dangerous policies and intimidating tactics.  But I won't go into more detail here.  Just read the "Big Picture" section of this page in the upper right and you'll get the idea.

I handle all interactions with libraries and librarians in about as friendly and non-confrontational a manner as possible, as seen in this case.  So if you're a librarian still blocking me, like the ALA President herself, Loida Garcia-Febo, perhaps it's time to think for yourselves and remove the blocks!


URL of this page: 
safelibraries.blogspot.com/2019/01/public-libraries-must-unblock.html

On Twitter: 
@ACLU, @ALAlibrary, @BKLYNlibrary, @BPL, @CHPLNJ, @ElyriaLibrary,
@KCLibrary, @LHPL, @NorthbrookPL, @OIF, @OrlandPkLibrary