City to release alcohol petitions without redactions - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

City to release alcohol petitions without redactions


A group opposed to the recent alcohol petitions is speaking out against the city. 

Doctor Mike Daniels is the pastor at Landmark Baptist Church in Tyler and is heading up the "Stand Strong for Tyler" campaign. 

"We want the signatures. We filed the Freedom of Information Act request; ten days has lapsed, we don't have them and we want them. They want to wait until after it's already on the agenda to give them to us; that's wrong, that's not fair, that's not playing right," said Dr. Daniels. 

In a press conference on Thursday morning, "Stand Strong for Tyler" said they submitted a public records request for a copy of alcohol petition sheets submitted last month. 

KLTV also submitted a verbal request on June 26, 2012 for the petitions. 

On July 9, the Deputy City Attorney, Steven M. Kean, sent KLTV an email that said under the Texas Public Information Act, information is generally open to disclosure, unless it falls within a specific exception. 

Possible confidential information included in those petitions sheets could be home addresses or current or former city employees, home address of peace officers, and voter registration numbers.

Mr. Kean said the city of Tyler is seeking an opinion from the Texas Attorney General regarding the claimed exceptions regarding the applicability of the Texas Public Information Act to the records requested.

After sending that request, the city of Tyler contacted other entities to get their input regarding information contained in the alcohol petitions. City of Tyler officials said they reached out to Dallas who said they released petitions without redactions when they went through the alcohol process. 

After communicating with other cities and the Secretary of State's Office, the city of Tyler has determined that it will be able to release the requested information, without any redactions, by close of business on July 13, 2012. 

"We want a chance to look at the names and validate them to see who is registered to vote, who might be on there illegally and shouldn't be on there, and we want a chance to look at them ourselves," Dr. Daniels said.

Mr. Kean said city staff was in the process of verifying all of the Alcohol Petitions, which involved the full-time commitment of at least three city employees and which is subject to a state law deadline. The verification of the petitions must be completed by July 21, 2012. 

Thursday, the city of Tyler sent out a press released quoting City Attorney Gary Landers stating, "The City has received two public records requests for copies of the petition sheets that contain 9,000 plus names."

Dr. Daniels said he will attend the city council meeting on July 25 to request they not move forward with certifying the petitions and calling the election until his group has adequate time to review the petitions. 

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved. 


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