City’s Legal Games Cost Taxpayers
Throughout the process leading up to the Open Government lawsuit against the City of Encinitas, the City played games with Cummins’ attorney that drove up the cost.
Read the judge’s review here.
When you keep a completed roads report secret from the public, saying it was a draft document, what do you do when the document actually isn’t a draft and you get sued for the release of the document? You change your legal defense! That is what Encinitas did. That was sign number one that the City was full of bologna.
In court, the City changed their defense from saying it was a draft (it had been finalized all along, but the City kept that secret) instead the City just said it would harm the public to release the document. They did not really explain why releasing the roads report (THE FINAL or the previous draft) would have harmed the public. That guaranteed that when they lost the public was going to see through the Council’s statements. They put up a bologna defense which included all sorts of suspicious statements. They also dragged out the lawsuit and kept Cummins’ side from adequately establishing all the facts and their legal responses seemed to have very suspicious “problems” getting delivered. In the end that cost taxpayers.
Most of the City still has no idea that the City is far behind on scheduled roads maintenance. Most of the rest don’t care much. The City should have just released the report and not worry about what the public would think. But, that means they would also been asked to release the Hall park documents which probably would have shown that the park was being artificially delayed because the City’s budget wasn’t adequate to accommodate building the park.
What do you say when you get caught by a citizen, an open government organization, a judge and an appellate court spinning a bologna story that the Cummins’ case was without merit? Use the political spin playbook if you think the public won’t look into the details and keep saying the case was without merit and use the 4 Ds.
For more history on the Hall park and the roads report, see here.
[Note on the roads report: The report purposely fails to report the projected roads conditions beyond 5 years out from now. The road maintenance cycle is much longer than 5 years. Why did the City not want those number reported? We can never know that because City has admitted to destroying the correspondence with the consultant. The City has demonstrated to not be open to tough questions they know they will have to defend.]