Club Manzanita, A Case Study

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How Public Records requests get processed in Manzanita.

Case A. Request by Deb Tinnin for 5 years of emails between myself and our current Mayor and Council, past Councils and the City Attorney. She emphasized that she would like this request filled “as soon as possible”.
City Response: The City Manager sends the Council a notice that “Your immediate attention is needed!” and you have a little more than 48 hours to comply with Ms. Tinnin’s request.
City Attorney Review: 478 pages submitted to Ms. Tinnin with NO City Attorney charges for review.

Results: In the City’s haste to comply with this request, non public information of a citizen is released and disclosed on the internet for all to see. No acknowledgment of this error or public apology is given.

Case B. Request by myself for the City Manager’s current monthly salary and benefit costs.
City Response: I’m initially told that the City does not have that information and am reminded that the City has 15 business days to respond to a public records request. After I suggest to staff where this information can be found, the City acknowledges that it does indeed have the information.
City Attorney Review: My one page document containing this public information will require City Attorney review and I will be charged $329.37 before I can receive it.

I made this exact same Public Records request to Cannon Beach and received all of the information requested within 48 hours. No excuses that they did not have the information, no reminder that there is no urgency on their part to fill a public records request, no City attorney review, no City Attorney charges, in fact no fees of any kind.

This is an example of how Club Manzanita operates. Members in good standing get VIP treatment, non members in essence get told to take a number, get your checkbook out and we’ll get back to you.

The right to equal treatment and to not be singled out due to asking questions or making public observations as to how its local government conducts itself is a foundational right of every citizen. Councilor Kozlowski claims that asking such questions amounts to “harassment and intimidation”. Unnecessary obstacles to the release of public records becomes acceptable and the City Manager advises the Council that individuals who exercise their rights should be “discouraged and even ignored if necessary”.

The advantages of Club membership are obvious. Members first get Committee appointments and when the occasion arises, selection to fill vacant Council seats. Looks like the Council will soon be appointing another citizen to fill a vacant Council seat. If this trend continues, Manzanita may soon have a Council the majority of which were not elected to office and all seem to be Members in good standing. Something to think about.

Randy Kugler