Tempe City Attorney Judi Baumann Gets "A-" in Public Records Law

It's a beautiful day here, outside of the Tempe City Hall and police department, but our blood is boiling because of the PD's ignorance of public-records law.

Tempe police apparently never got the memo Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne sent to the state in December: Taking pictures of public records as part of the inspection process is the public's right under Arizona law.

But after we were kicked out of the police lobby by a couple of mindless bureaucrats...

UPDATE: City Attorney Judi Baumann got back to us soon after we published this article, though we don't think she'd seen it yet. She told us she had no problem with us taking pictures of public records and chalked up the incident in this blog post to mis-communication with PD staff. Based on that, we changed her grade from an "F" to an "A-," marking her down slightly because we wasted all morning trying to educate the PD about Horne's ruling, when that should have been the city attorney's job.

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Alan Korwin Fight With Phoenix in Appeals Court Over Censoring of Pro-Gun Ads

Phoenix officials and one of our favorite local curmudgeons, gun-law expert Alan Korwin, are scheduled for a courtroom showdown next month over banned firearms-training ads.

The case was launched following the city's move to censor 50 bus-shelter ads that Korwin had purchased in October 2010 for his firearms-training website, trainmeaz.com.

"Guns Save Lives," the ad stated in large type. "Arizona says: Educate Your Kids."

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GOP Lawmakers Taking Sides in Feud Between Cochise County and Pesky Publisher

One of several police pictures taken from the Larry Dever crash site in 2012.
The Cochise County Record website and its crotchety publisher have been buzzing around southern Arizona officials for a couple of years now like flies on an old burro.

One of those ticked-off officials, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, has managed to convince several Republican state lawmakers to take sides in the feud by making it more difficult for everyone in the state to obtain certain public records.

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Doug Stanhope Mad About Jesus' Presence at Bisbee's City Council Meeting on Civil Unions

Doug Stanhope talks Jesus.
As you may know by now, Bisbee became last week the first city in the state to give same-sex couples the right to a civil union.

Not mentioned in any of the news coverage, however, was that comedian Doug Stanhope, perhaps the best-known Bisbee resident, showed up to the city council meeting to give a diatribe on Jesus' presence.

See also:
-Bisbee's Civil-Union Ordinance Draws Threat From Tom Horne

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El Mirage Officials Withholding Accident Stats at Intersection with Speed Camera Until After Election, Despite Councilman's Request for Data

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El Mirage has installed cameras thorughout the city to catch drivers speeding.
El Mirage's appointed and elected city officials are not releasing accident data for an intersection with a speed camera -- until after the election.

That, despite repeated requests by El Mirage City Councilman Jim McPhetres for those statistics.

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Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman Drops City Firefighter and Police "Endorsement" (Eight Years Later)

As of the last week or so, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman was not endorsed by city firefighters or police in 2004.
For anyone still trying to vote in the 2004 election for Tempe mayor, we'd like to inform you that Hugh Hallman is no longer endorsed by "Tempe firefighters and police."

Sure, Hallman was elected mayor in 2004, but why not hit him with a complaint while he's on his way out the door?

Stemming from the battle between supporters of Tempe mayoral candidates (for 2012) Mark Mitchell and Michael Monti over whether "your" public employees can endorse people in campaign signs, a city resident submitted a complaint against Hallman for a similar issue.

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Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman's Website Brings Up the Question of Endorsements from City Employees Again

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman
The battle between supporters of Tempe mayoral candidates Mark Mitchell and Michael Monti over whether "your" public employees can endorse people in campaign signs seemed to end with City Manager Charlie Meyer's ruling that it was all pretty much OK.

That question apparently has not been completely answered, thanks to a complaint filed against Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman.

The issue started when Legislative District 17 Republicans chairman A.J. LaFaro, a Monti supporter, filed a complaint over campaign signs saying "your" firefighters support Mitchell for mayor.

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Judicial Watch: Court Opinion Ordering Release of Mayor Phil Gordon's Security-Detail Logs a Victory for Transparency

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Judicial Watch, the Washington, D.C.-based conservative think-tank that went after Phoenix to force them to release logs maintained by Mayor Phil Gordon's security detail, is pleased with a recent court decision ordering their disclosure.

"Judicial Watch is excited by the ruling because it creates more transparency within government," says Greg Collins, an attorney with Kercsmar & Feltus, representing the government watch organization. "This is why Judicial Watch gets involved in these sort of cases."

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Phoenix Officials Must Release Portions of Mayor Phil Gordon's Security-Detail Logs, Court of Appeals Rules

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Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who only has about a week left in office, may be forced to release security-detail logs that track two years' worth of his movements.

The Arizona Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Rea that protected those logs from being made public on the basis they contained confidential and security-related information.

The city has been in and out of court since May 2010 fighting to keep private the logs maintained by Gordon's security detail, a team of four Phoenix police officers.

The documents, created by the security detail, note how Gordon spent his days -- and who he spent them with -- while he was being shadowed by his taxpayer-funded bodyguards.

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Disabled Phoenix Man Wants Sidewalks Along Bethany Home Road Fixed Now, Not in 2015

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Image: Google Street View
The fire hydrant seen here blocking the curb ramp along Bethany Home Road at 3rd Avenue was relocated after Thomas Vickery complained. The scooter-driving disabled man wants the city to address the sidewalk's other problems.

Thomas Vickery lit a fire under the butts of city officials earlier this year, shaming them into finally moving a fire hydrant that blocked a curb ramp on a sidewalk.

Now he wants the city of Phoenix to move up its schedule to do more improvements along Bethany Home Road that will make it easier for people who, like him, can't walk.

Vickery, a Chicago transplant who has cerebral palsy, takes a scooter nearly everywhere he goes. And he's not one to sit at home every day -- he often rides the scooter from his home near Central and Maryland to Christown Spectrum Mall at 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. His "preferred route" is to go up Central to Bethany Home, then take a straight shot to the mall. There are obstacles for his scooter no matter which way he goes, but he's been particularly annoyed with the condition of the sidewalks along Bethany Home.

As the above screen shot from Google Street View shows, a fire hydrant used to sit squarely in the middle of a curb ramp at 3rd Avenue and Bethany Home. The city knew since 2008 that the location of the hydrant was out of compliance with the American Disabilities Act, says an April article in the Arizona Republic, but did nothing to fix it until after Vickery complained.

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