Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hobbyist, Democracy and Integrity Frustrate Local Tool Sharpener



Encinitas gets record number of records requests

Encinitas city councilman, former mayor and lawnmower blade sharpener, Dan Dalager, is once again confused by the concept of democracy and public access to information.

In today's North County Times story about public records request; the lean, mean quote machine that is Dan Dalager gives us this gem,

curiosity comes at a cost to the public, said Councilman Dan Dalager. Dalager has publicly criticized residents who have filed public records requests.

"The question is, should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?" Dalager said.

While the cost of responding to public records requests is not known, the city must find a way of reducing it, he said.

"We are going to have to figure out a way to scan every public document there is and put it online," Dalager said. "That way you can have people fishing for things to their heart's content. If people want to spend their whole lives digging through them, that's fine, but we have to find some way of stopping this expense."

Dalager said he thinks city resources could be better spent elsewhere.


Dalager has obviously finally lost his mind. The next line of the article should clear things up for him,

Regardless of cost, the general right of records access ---- the freedom of information Americans often take for granted ---- makes government more accountable and more efficient, said Peter Scheer of the California First Amendment Coalition.

Dalager, a longtime member of the so called Usual Scoundrels, is often frustrated by city watchdog Donna Westbrook who made 47 information requests during the last year. At city council meetings when Westbrook takes the podium for her 3 minutes of commentary Dalager often lets out audible sighs and groans and can be seen rolling his eyes.

Normal citizens of Encinitas have come to rely on Donna Westbrook to do the dirty work and uncover the Usual Scoundrels schemes. In fact, Donna Westbrook is taken for granted in Encinitas.

In many cases, city records show Westbrook requested and reviewed information ---- such as recordings of Planning Commission and City Council hearings ---- without asking for copies.

In recent interviews, Westbrook said she listens to Planning Commission recordings because minutes from those meetings provide only minimal information.

"If you have a question about how (an issue) was explained," she said, "you have to listen to the audio." The audio files are not available online.


Dalager, empowered by his big victory in the last election, is hitting new levels of hubris. Recently Dalager called city founder and Korean war veteran Bob Bonde a "whiner" for questioning the city's use of tax funds.

See Leucadia!: "It's the same, usual suspects who have nothing to do but whine,"

The irony of Dalager using the phrase 'should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?' will no doubt be lost on him, Westbrook's "hobby" uncovered the true nature of the Usual Scoundrels attempt to hoodwink the public in subsidizing city capital projects under the guise of the clean water program.

Dalager and the rest of the Usual Scoundrels haven't exactly been frugal before (expect perhaps to starve Leucadia out of a decent infrastructure) so why complain about Americans using their God given constitutional rights to information?

Should Westbrook's labors even be described as a hobby? "Donna does her research for the Encinitas Taxpayers Association," said Bob Bonde, a founder of the association, which led the campaign against Proposition C, the clean-water measure. "She does her research, and it pays off."

Can honesty, intellectual curiosity, and hard work be categorized as "hobbies"? And, if these positive traits are hobbies, then it is alarming that city councilman Dan Dalager views these traits as a negative thing.

Dan Dalager needs a hobby.

*note-putting all information online is a good idea. As long as ALL the information does get put online. Can the city be trusted to do this?

39 comments:

  1. BOB wrote on December 10, 2006 4:34 AM:""The question is, should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?" Dalager said. What exactly is Dalager talking about?"

    Kevin wrote on December 10, 2006 8:04 AM:"Dalager has experienced the power of an informed public. Here are some examples. When the council enacted an illegal and unnecessary tax Donna Westbrooke was able to put together a lawsuit that saved taxpayers millions because we had access to public records. When Dalager and the rest of the council broke the California Environmental Quality Act on the Hall Property, having access to public records helped to ensure that the council couldn't sweep possible health risks under the rug. When Dalager claimed in his campaign literature that the Hall property EIR was done a public records request showed that Dalager had, at best, stretched the truth. That EIR has been delayed for some unknown reason even though it was due this Summer (public records show). One of my favorites was when the council kept saying the city paid fair market value for the Mossy property. That wasn't exactly true. Only a public records request was able to show that the council paid 1 million more than fair market value. There is so much more going on it has become laughable, but only after the shock wears off. I am more than willing to speak to anyone regarding these records requests. There is more. We have some important stuff that really questions the council's oversight, but only through public records can we show this. "

    Sic&Tired wrote on December 10, 2006 11:34 AM:"Has Mr Dalager ever actually tried to get complete public documents from city hall himself? First, you're lucky to actually get complete records of just about anything requested. Secondly, we do pay for the copies made. Finally... Dan: "Public" = PUBLIC!! This is our city and we darn well better be glad there are some people who actually care what's going on here. Argh! These attitudes are so ignorant and frustrating."

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  2. should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?" Dalager said.

    Like how Dan Dalager used public money to fund an event for the charity of his choice?

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  3. I dare Dan to put this issue on the next council meeting agenda.

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  4. Let's make a list of all the wasted tax money in the last four years that went unmentioned by Dalager, shall we?

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  5. In Donna's (aka Pat) case, if you swing at enough stuff, you're bound to occassionally hit something just by chance. If you look at her record, she is almost always wrong. She appears just to be a mean old person looking to inflict her miserable life on others. Remember, even a broken clock is right twice a day...

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. We must reduce the unknown cost. beep.

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  8. Scoreboard DONNA. Attacking a person's appearance is a sign of desperation. The usual scoundrels look BAD right about now.

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  9. Dan Dalager's comments make me want to kill a puppy.

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  10. Dear name caller,

    How does anyone know if Donna was "wrong." Please explain. Do it here, or are you just part of the good old boy's spin team and trying to do damage control for Danny? This city is screwed up and the sheer number of times that Donna daylights problems is so overwhelming that it doesn't matter if she bats two hundred. She has day lighted millions in waste, fraud, and cover up. Just two weeks ago she showed how the council was willing to let a mysterious and unexplained $20 million drop in the City's wallet just slide by unnoticed. The public still doesn't know what is up with that.

    And since the council thinks this is such a problem I think it would be a great idea to put this issue on the City's agenda and put it out in to real public discussion. But that won't happen because this council is too scared that they will end up looking crooked.

    So name caller why don't you lobby the council to put this on the agenda and then you can call Donna names in public but be ready to go down with the ship.

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  11. Danny has made a big mistake.

    BIG mistake.

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  12. As usual, it's way easier to attack the messenger, than to look into the message, our City's overspending and excessive closed session decisions.

    Thank goodness for Donna Westbrook and Kevin.

    I see one post was deleted, for which I am grateful. Probably more name-calling, hateful posts by Council and their pr "strokers."

    I noticed that Solana Beach, which is about 13,000 population, compared to our approximately 63,000, had more public information requests than we have? So suck it up Dan Dalager. We have a right to know what you are doing. Why don't you get another hobby besides labeling good citizens whiners and making a divisive issue out of the Holiday Parade?

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  13. Dan is a weenie. Like I said the other day, he is a little smokehouse weenie. Taliban Dan would prefer that Donna Westbrooke didn't have more than a third grade education. Taliban Dan pisses, sighs and moans at council meetings cuz he doesn't understand what everyone is talking about until after the meeting when his buddy Long Gone explains it all to him. Taliban Dan is a weenie and he's in way over his head. He needs to resign. Taliban Dan is a weenie.

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  14. Many of the record requests were about money paid out by the City aka the taxpayers, for consultants and contractors, like the City's "hired gun" attorney, Glenn Sabine, who reaps the rewards of initiating lawsuits at his excessive hourly rate, when he is on retainer, as well, and works for several other S.D. County cities. City won't tell us how many other cities he works for.

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  15. Dan is the one who should get another hobby. He gets paid to sit on high and pretend like he cares about what "folks" think and feel.

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  16. The citizens have a right to know how our taxpayer money is being spent, or mis-spent. We feel like Dan Dalager's paid "hobby" is being a council member, at our expense. He should stop rolling his eyes, groaning and making public comments about the watch dogs that help us to hold our Council to the standard of integrity mandated by the State and by the People for open and honest government.

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  17. It's obvious...
    Dan Dalager keeps complaining because he doesn't want anyone overseeing what he decides to do in closed sessions. When the City decided to front the money to produce the book tour charity event that was part of Dan's campaign public relations, not even the Council members all knew about it until the bills rolled in and people put in public information requests.

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  18. Donna, Kevin, please, please don't let the name-callers, the mean spirited blog spammers from Council and their "massagers" get you down.

    We support you, and admire your courage. Thank you.

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  19. Dalager should be the poster boy for the Encinitas Taxpayer Association.
    If every bit of public information was put online it would improve democracy, transparancy in government, reduce costs to the government, and increase the ease of obtaining information.

    I do NOT understand you people slamming him for this opinion.

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  20. Dan is not getting slammed for suggesting putting more info online, this is a good idea. Putting more stuff online isn't even his idea, it was suggested years ago.

    Dan is getting slammed because of his snotty attitude. Dan is not a leader anymore, hasn't been for awhile. Taliban Dan is a great nickname.

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  21. "We are going to have to figure out a way to scan every public document there is and put it online," Dalager said.

    Yes, somebody over there please "figure" out how to use one of them new fangeled contraptions called scanners.

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  22. Dan is full of sh_t. We have to scan all the documents? Most of the documents already exist in electronic form. They are written on a computer. It is easy to put them on line. However, don't let this lull us into a false sense of openess. They still will control what they put on line. If you think the lawnmowerman will put everything on line then you are far more trusting than I.

    A public records request puts the city on notice that we are looking and if we discover their deceit they can be sued. We should all request more documents from them. When Gil gets a document he leaves ity at Anderson stationary so we can all go their and get a copy by paying for copying.

    It would be nice if some of our residents that are attorneys would step up and start suing the likes of Dalger and the city for their obvious deceit.

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  23. Get it straight. Dan wasn't behind the move to get basic documents on line AND Dan's quote doesn't mean they are going to add one bit more. I didn't read anyone "slamming" him for this opinion. He exposed his tendency toward not really having a clue what is going on around him.

    The funny way the City puts the doucments archive online means that they can't be indexed by search engines. They should leave the directories open to the original PDFs so that search engines can get to it. This way the public has more access. If you can't find it or don't know to look, the information is useless.

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  24. Somebody please give Dan Dalager a copy of the Brown Act for Christmas.

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  25. Dalager is reaching serious Forest Gump status. Does he really think that they have to print everything out and then scan it? This what you get when you elect a backwards hick.

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  26. someone please send Dan "an Internet" and teach him "the Google"

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  27. Yes, I find the way the City has archived its documents to be difficult to access.

    It was better, before, in my opinion. The documents could be entered in a Word file, seems to me. The pdf files are difficult to search.

    I used to be able to search the Planning Commission minutes, for example, for a phrase. Can I still do that?

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  28. Yes, seems like we are going backwards in our computer technology in some ways. And the posters here are correct. Everything generated on a computer could be saved to the public archive. No one is typing these things up on IBM typewriters anymore. Why do we have to type them in word, then scan them in PDF? That makes more work, makes them harder to access and makes the files more difficult to search.

    If we had a good Internal Systems guy (or gal), he or she should be able to solve a lot of these problems. The citizens would like to be able to find the documents ourselves without going through the City Clerk, waiting ten days.

    Yes, Dan needs an attitude adjustment, for sure. He started out on a very sour note by dissing Maggie, again. His political posturing is obvious, and disturbing.

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  29. Guess who the #3 person was that asked for public documents? Answer- Dr. Lorri. I guess she must be on Dans shit list as well. So for all of you people that think Dr. Lorri doesn't do anything for the City, think again. She has covertly exposed more than you will ever publically know. I hope she keeps it up. She actually might make a good councilmember, along with Teresa and Maggie.

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  30. I saw Dr. Lorri take on Charlie Marvin one time at a city council meeting. I was impressed. She is not a lawyer but had Charlie flustered. He even congratulated her at the end. Not too bad for a "commie bitch" huh?

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  31. I like commie bitches.

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  32. I think it is sad that Dan is so ignorant that he doesn't even realize what he is saying. Calling the very people in this city who work hard on their own time with no compensation "whiners" and hobbiests. He really should keep those thoughts to himself -- it just makes him sound so petty and like that last post "Forrest Gumpish"
    Thanks to the Donna's, Gil's, Bob's and Dr, Lorries of Encinitas!!

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  33. Dr. Lori was #2.

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  34. I cannot believe he got reelected. Perhaps his latest stupidity will help us get Jerome and Jim out next time. There is a lot of stuff on all of them. I feel pretty certain that the City would never put ALL of the documentation on the website. I don't think it is because of our computer people at City Hall. I think it is because Glenn Sabine, Phil Cotton and Council does not want it to be easy for the public to get information. Too many violatons of law.

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  35. The city should post all of its financials and accounting on the web. I mean all of it. It doesn't have to be a mirror, maybe something they automatically update every week or at the end of the month. Wow! then we would know what was going on.

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  36. The city doesn't want to publish the financial information. For this fiscal year the city may be paying out at least 5 million dollars to keep up with their pension funding. This doesn't include the rest of the unfunded liabilities. Kerry Miller bailed out before the total amount will be aired in the next fiscal year. That $20,000,000 bond is covering the $5 million pension payment as the city juggles expenses.

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  37. I would vote for Dr. Lorri, in a heartbeat, if she decides to run.

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  38. "The question is, should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?" Dalager said.

    The honest truth is that this is exactly why his beloved veterans and active serviceman are risking life and limb, for freedom baby.

    Here in this country we have access to our government, we have rights guaranteed by the constitution. By the way, Dan that includes freedom of religious choice and separation of church and state (your "Christmas Sharade" does not abide).

    If you dream of closed government and religious tyrany, move that lawnmower shop to Iran or Iraq (oh yeah, no grass).

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  39. removed from NCTimes.comApril 30, 2008 5:05 PM

    Encinitas gets record number of records requests

    By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer
    ENCINITAS ---- Encinitas has received 200 public records requests so far in 2006, and officials say that sets a record.

    Nearly a quarter of the requests come from one person, a community activist who successfully challenged the city's clean-water fee.
    Normally, the requests for city records fill two, expandable file folders, but this year, the paperwork has filled seven of them, City Clerk Deborah Cervone said in a recent interview.

    This year, for the first time, the clerk's office started to log the information requests because so many of them have come in.

    "We wanted to keep track and make sure we were meeting the 10-day deadline" for providing the information, Cervone said. The log shows the city routinely meets the deadline.

    Using the California Public Records Act, all types of people ---- from activists to attorneys to newspaper reporters ---- have requested everything from consultants' reports to contracts to construction bids.

    Public records requests must be made in writing to the agency that holds the information. A person requesting access to information should cite Government Code Section 6250 et seq, and describe as precisely as possible the record he or she seeks.

    Personnel records and those involving pending real estate transactions are generally exempt from disclosure. Government agencies must respond to records requests within 10 days.

    In Encinitas, the city charges 10 cents a page to copy documents and $15 for copies of videotapes or compact discs. Many documents are available electronically on the city's Web site, and sometimes the clerk can e-mail records to avoid cost.

    There is no fee for the time staffers spend compiling the information, and certain requests can take a long time to fill, she said.

    "It can take just a few minutes to a week," she said.

    While the city clerk is the first to receive formal information requests, staff members from other departments often are the ones who gather the information, she said.

    Cervone said she did not know how much the city of 63,000 residents spends responding to public records requests.

    Information requests run high in some neighboring cities, both larger and smaller than Encinitas.

    So far in 2006, Solana Beach, with a population 13,000, has received 212 formal information requests; Oceanside, with a population of 175,000, has received 256; San Marcos, a city of 77,000 residents, has received 148.

    In Encinitas, nearly one in four of the 2006 records requests came from a single individual.

    City Hall watchdog Donna Westbrook has made 47 information requests during the last year, according to a roster of the requests released to the North County Times.

    Many of the documents provided substance for her challenge of a clean-water fee. The challenge dates to 2004, when Westbrook sued the city for adopting a clean-water fee without a public vote. Months later, to settle the lawsuit, the city agreed to administer a mailed-ballot election. The election was held last spring, and a solid majority of voters rejected the $5 monthly fee.

    Throughout her challenge, Westbrook made multiple requests for records pertaining to the clean-water program, and a number of the requests appear on the 2006 roster.

    "Donna does her research for the Encinitas Taxpayers Association," said Bob Bonde, a founder of the association, which led the campaign against Proposition C, the clean-water measure. "She does her research, and it pays off."

    In many cases, city records show Westbrook requested and reviewed information ---- such as recordings of Planning Commission and City Council hearings ---- without asking for copies.

    In recent interviews, Westbrook said she listens to Planning Commission recordings because minutes from those meetings provide only minimal information.

    "If you have a question about how (an issue) was explained," she said, "you have to listen to the audio." The audio files are not available online.

    Westbrook said she is no different than any other resident concerned by the workings of City Hall.

    "People want to know what's happening," she said.

    That curiosity comes at a cost to the public, said Councilman Dan Dalager. Dalager has publicly criticized residents who have filed public records requests.

    "The question is, should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?" Dalager said.

    While the cost of responding to public records requests is not known, the city must find a way of reducing it, he said.

    "We are going to have to figure out a way to scan every public document there is and put it online," Dalager said. "That way you can have people fishing for things to their heart's content. If people want to spend their whole lives digging through them, that's fine, but we have to find some way of stopping this expense."

    Dalager said he thinks city resources could be better spent elsewhere.

    Regardless of cost, the general right of records access ---- the freedom of information Americans often take for granted ---- makes government more accountable and more efficient, said Peter Scheer of the California First Amendment Coalition.

    Some people will make better use than others of the information they request, and sometimes the information that a person uncovers can genuinely serve public interest, he said.

    Government agencies often complain about how much of a distraction it is to interrupt their work to process records requests, Scheer said.

    "Government can't represent the people unless the people know what government is doing," Scheer said. "While local officials and state agency officials always complain about what a burden it is, I think the more they complain, the more valuable the information is they're being forced to give up."

    Watchdog Kevin Cummins of Encinitas has asked the city to give up environmental reports and traffic studies. The paperwork has provided fodder for Cummins' speeches before the City Council and his written submissions on an Internet blog.

    They now fill a file cabinet, he said.

    Cummins said he requests information formally because city employees aren't always forthcoming. Cummins has made 14 records requests in 2006, according to the city's roster.

    "If we knew we were getting straight answers, why would any of us want to spend our time going down there and getting dragged through a public records process?" he said.

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