Brief in Legal Pursuit of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon’s Security Detail
Judicial Watch filed a new memorandum with the Superior Court for the State of Arizona in its legal pursuit of documents related to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon’s taxpayer-funded security detail (Judicial Watch, Inc. v City of Phoenix (Civil Action CV2010-015452)). The City of Phoenix continues to improperly withhold activity logs related to Mayor Gordon’s security detail, as well as a detailed version of the Mayor’s calendar, citing supposed privacy and safety concerns. The purpose of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit is to determine whether the Mayor’s security detail is wasteful or is being used for “personal purposes.”
On December 11, 2009, Judicial Watch requested that the Phoenix Police Department provide access to the following public records:
All activity logs for Mayor Phil Gordon’s Security Detail. The time frame for this request is December 30, 2007 to the present.
…disclosure of the requested logs will help the public to appreciate the size, scope, and duties of the Mayor’s police detail and the activities of the officers assigned to it, including whether the detail has been used for official purposes only or if it also has been used for non-official or personal purposes as well,” Judicial Watch noted in its complaint, filed on May 17, 2010.
In a letter dated January 4, 2010, the City of Phoenix refused to produce the requested records, specifically stating “the City is not disclosing daily logs…” (The City had previously refused to release these same documents to the Arizona Republic newspaper as well.) Instead, the City offered to release the Mayor’s publicly available calendar from August 2009 to the present, which was an inadequate response to Judicial Watch’s request. Judicial Watch then filed its lawsuit.
The City of Phoenix subsequently disclosed for the first time in its response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit that it is in possession of a version of the Mayor’s “public calendar” that is more than just a calendar. It includes detailed handwritten notes by members of Mayor Gordon’s security detail that may be responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. Nonetheless, the City continues to withhold this version of the calendar, as well as the Mayor’s activity logs described by the City as “Unscheduled Worksheets,” citing alleged privacy and security concerns.
Judicial Watch maintains, however, that the City has “failed to establish a proper basis to withhold the requested records.” As noted in its recently filed memorandum, the records at issue are public records, not private, and are therefore subject to disclosure under Arizona Public Records Law. Moreover, regarding security concerns, the City has failed to “demonstrate why disclosure of records of past activity is significant when many of the Mayor’s planned locations are announced in advance, sometimes even ‘tweeted’ to any interested party.”
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