At the 3-12-2012 City Council Meeting, Ludington's Sixth Ward Councilor Gary Castonia remarked at the end of the latest FOIA appeal:
"I think John Shay has went above and beyond the call of duty by trying to figure out what he wanted, as the City Attorney said. And I also feel we got 21 pages of stuff and nobody showed again. What... 21 pages times ten people, that's a lot of paperwork we're wasting for nobody to show up and give their side of the story and I'm just fed up with it and more than happy to uphold the FOIA Coordinator's decision!"
This may sound like a ringing endorsement of John Shay and a barb aimed at the FOIA requester (me, this time), but he is actually making my points.
1) He says that Shay has went "above and beyond the call of duty" an idiom meaning doing much more than expected. Is this not an admission that Shay is doing more than his position of FOIA Coordinator entails, and thereby charging the requesters and the taxpayers for a lot of wasted efforts on his part? Is not he also insinuating that the tens of thousands of dollars the City of Ludington already spent in their defense of a FOIA appeal in Circuit Court goes beyond what a reasonable City would do to illegally block the public records from being seen by the public?
2) He says it was difficult to figure out what I wanted from my request for nine specific records identified by the financial records prepared by Heather Venzke-Tykoski in exactly the way I presented them to Shay. Is he not then condemning the way the DDA and Mrs. Venzke-Tykoski have been keeping their records? I'm with you Councilor Gary.
3) He says "and nobody showed again", knowing full well the requester is blocked from entering the City Hall without the threat of arrest for the misdemeanor of trespassing, and presumably that written permission from City Manager John Shay is required by the law he helped develop in committee and passed one year ago. Is this showing discontent with the Workplace Safety Policy? More on this shortly.
4) His complaining about 21 pages issued to 10 people being an awfully lot of paperwork also shows his agreement with the FOIA requester and contempt for Shay's presentation. Consider, I sent an E-mail with my position known to all of the councilors explaining everything that was germaine to the appeal, at a totally green cost of zero pieces of paper. Neither was there any branch of a tree used in my original E-mail request. But then John Shay and his City Law Firm decides to put out 210 pages in their defense of... providing me all the invoices. By not showing a relevant invoice, only two checks and a statement. As Shay asks for $.25 a copy, the City used $52.50 for copies alone here. Castonia realized this and discretly berated him.
5) He lastly reiterates his displeasure once again of the WSP keeping me out of the meetings, and throws his support behind Shay's decision, as he knows that Shay will eventually be called to task for violations of the FOIA and criminal non-disclosure/destruction of public records, Gary's vote is only expediting the process.
That's my interpretation at least...
But the above is written with my tongue-in-cheek, and I've not seen Councilor Castonia in public deal with any substantive issues as per the FOIA, WSP, and other issues that matter to the common citizen. However, I recently got possession of an exchange he had with the City Manager just shortly after I was disenfranchised in the November election which shows at least a little light bulb going off as far as City policy influencing the behavior of Ludington's most dangerous citizen, as defined by Ludington City Hall. It starts with a confusing bit of logic from City Attorney Richard Wilson (illegally and unethically impersonating a hearing officer) in a decidedly non-binding five page opinion which I seen for the first time on 3-7-2012. This is summarized by the City Manager:
The only City Councilor that noticed a problem was an unlikely civil libertarian, Gary Castonia. He wrote back:
This voice of reason is countered by a voice of unreason:
John Shay and the rest of the City Hallers have not used common sense in the totality of their dealings with this individual. Remember this is all talk amongst themselves, with no relation of their commonsense conclusions to me or my counsel. So as far as I know, the letter served me still has its full impact, while the five page rationale by the City Attorney Richard Wilson is laughably meaningless to my attorney. Gary next throws out another idiom, because he likes doing that:
I don't know what the heck he means, but that doesn't matter-- John Shay does :
So let's review: just after John Shay prohibited me from going to my polling place to vote in November by having a Letter of Trespass placed on me which threatened me with arrest for stepping foot on City Hall property, they revise the policy so that I still cannot get into the City Hall to do any business or attend any meeting, or to vote for that matter without the threat of arrest for a misdemeanor by the LPD next door. But I won't get arrested until I step foot in the lobby of City Hall, not the external property. Hallelujah.
This concept is so simple that even Gary Castonia gets it. But the City Manager, the mayor, six other City Councilors, and at least seven very smart City Attorneys, do not. Thanks for helping me "fight the man", Councilor Castonia, I hope for more of your help in the upcoming federal investigation.
So, they have these emails going on where they say you can go to the basement but not pass through the lobby to get down there without still being in violation of the LOT then when one of the COL councilors points that out they basically say they are aware of that. So they are setting you up to be arrested if you try to pass through the Lobby of City hall. And worse these are not changes to the LOT, for them to change the LOT they would have to formally amend the LOT, which they have not done in the above conversations, nothing formal or procedural at all. If there had actually been any changes made to the LOT they would have to serve a new LOT that had been edited and approved with signatures(even though the LOT is not valid and the Sub-contracted law firm cannot legally act as hearing officers).
You could come in the North door and skirt the coat rack to the Council Chambers. That way you would not be crossing the lobby. :) or just have someone let you in the exit door on the south wall. Where their is a will, there is a way!
New nothing of any LOT at the time I voted to support a WPSP.
Matter of fact I found out about the LOT right here on this forum.
Doesn't that tell you something about Mr. Shay and his way of dispensing information and dealing with City business? It would be nice if the Council would keep track of what their employee is doing so situations like this would not get out of control. As I see it Shay has caused a scratch to fester into and infection with the help of an inattentive Council and Mayor.
I don't think Wanda is trying to be disingenuous, but she actually did vote for the WSP and any corresponding LOTs that are drafted by it. This document attached here is what every single councilor received the night of 2-28-2011. In it is all you need to know about the LOT, how it is to be applied, who administers it and handles its appeals.
If it was read by you or I, it might look innocent enough. But just like much of the recent "anti-terrorism" legislation, it becomes a very big problem when it is applied to those people that aren't causing a problem. Using terrorist labels on news commentators exercising their First Amendment rights is an outrageous act.
If I were in a position of responsibility, like Wanda and six other rubber stampers are, I would read not only the words of the proposed legislation, but the implications found between the words. The WSP takes the protection of civil rights that we all possess, and allows one appointed, capricious man, John Shay, to bar anyone from a public place for the sole reason that he does not want them there to conduct their constitutionally protected behaviors.
This also goes for the other legislation that the new attorneys have drafted, most noticeably the cross connection act, the new beach rules, and the cat ordinance.
The first gives any City employee the right to enter your house at any time to check for cross connections in your plumbing.
The second can have you pay a fine for carrying glass containers onto the beach, so what prevents a beach ranger from looking in that purse of yours after he hears a clinking and writing you up for having two small containers of nail polish therein.
The third can have you fined for feeding a seagull or a cat outdoors. Even if that cat is yours and you are in your yard.
Did we need any of those ordinances? No. Does the WSP cover anything new that wasn't handled by prior laws? Yes, the penalization of private citizens who offend the City Manager, otherwise, no.
It appears that Shay has been telling everyone, except you, that your not banned from attending meetings. This may be the reason why the Council and LDN have not been sympathetic toward you. They figure that you have been allowed to enter City Hall and they think your just ignoring them. This shows a purposeful intent, by Shay, to promote negative responses toward you from officials. This may also explain the Councils and LDN"s insistence that you in fact do have permission to attend meetings at City Hall. Another thing to consider, how would Wilson decide what to put in that letter unless Shay instructed him as to what should be included or excluded. This entire situation revolves around what Shay is telling or not telling people. These letters show a clear attempt to manipulate the Council and the public's opinion against you. This is serious.
EMMM.. Dale? Get your facts straight... Read the past threads showing the ( official and illegal LOT) in this forum. I think it is quite a ways back... maybe a year now.. but it does exist and is published here.
The emails as I posted above only serve to prove deception in the upcoming court case filed on behalf of XL. But I dont blame you for chooseing to ignore me, you have mentioned in the past respect issues.
I apologise Dale... I now got the sarchasm in your above post... I stand corrected.
This is what I get for speed reading months of posting on a forum I am catching up with.
Dale..Anyone reading your posts can see you are out to cause trouble. How many points are you getting when you posts ridicule this site? The only question that remains, who are you really? Part of the Kings court? Based on past posts, I have a pretty good idea who you really are but like you will not state the obvious answer.
I think you guys jump on the Newbies way to fast. It is like some of you hand a person an 1.5in thick college anatomy and physiology book and expect them by the end of the night to be able to recite every system in the human body and understand there functioning.
People are coming into this site after it has been active how long three years, and they have to read and digest that much times' worth of posts. Considering they have been fed the LDN/COL propaganda for all this time I think we need to be careful about judging. Give them some space and time to read and comprehend what has really been going on. Then if after a month or so they are still acting like d-bags, then we know they are trolls. But at minimum give them a month or so to read stuff.
And, I will agree with whoever said that the things here are not organized like on other sites. I have though about starting a thread linking to only the X/COL threads and listing them in order to help newbies get through the stuff, but it is overwhelming, so lets cut people some slack, if it's overwhelming to me to find old threads and put them in order how do you think they feel?