WhitesCreek's picture

Too funny.

Too funny.

Calypso's picture

WOW

The McElroy list:

(link...)

SUBJECT: Public records request for emails

Dear Mr. Jarret:

The Knoxville News Sentinel is making a public records request for any emails to, from or otherwise distributed between Sept. 1, 2010, to present from the attached list of addresses.

The Tennessee Public Records Act, specifically T.C.A. 10-7-503(a)(1)(A), provides "public record or records" or "state record or records" means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, microfilms, electronic data processing files and output, films, sound recordings or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any government agency.

The Knoxville News Sentinel, pursuant to the above provision of the Act, is requesting copies of these emails contained in any file, electronic data compilation, whether on computer, in a storage medium or otherwise, or other system or records, file, records retention storage facility, system or otherwise, whether written or electronic, in any form whatsoever related to this request.

The Knoxville News Sentinel is willing to pay a reasonable cost for the material -- preferably copied on CD -- and ask that it be notified in advance if the cost will exceed $200.

Please email the response to me at chestert@knoxnews.com or contact me at 865-342-6344 when the information is available.

R. Neal's picture

Bummer, I didn't make the

Bummer, I didn't make the list. Sniff.

redmondkr's picture

I got the biggest giggle from

I got the biggest giggle from the background. It suggests that he knows what to do with those things.

50 cents wasted's picture

Seems a bit Nixonian in tone and tenor

Get the distinct impression that McElroy is concerned what people are saying about his newspaper and trying to find some e-mail that they can take out of context and hummiliate the people on McElroy's enemies list.

Randomness 's picture

Funniest part

To me is that the Truth Squat is too stupid to figure out the list is in alphabetical order. He complains about being #7 behind somebody else. Poor guy.
In other news, A virtually unknown local blog, "Brian's Blog" reached an all time high readership today with a total number of views topping out at 16, nearly eight times it's normal daily readership! Congrats Truth Squat "Team"!

Rachel's picture

I have no idea what the KNS

I have no idea what the KNS wants with these emails, but if they went to and from county email addresses, they ARE a matter of public record.

Is that Mark or Mike Padgett on that list?

Dave Prince's picture

Googling the email address

Googling the email address turns up references to Mark's brother Matt.

rikki's picture

That's a strange list. I

That's a strange list. I wonder if it's derived from the KNS commenter database. Or maybe they padded the list with a bunch of decoys to obscure the true target.

Bbeanster's picture

Could it have been provided

Could it have been provided by their original source?

R. Neal's picture

KAG spotted some interesting

KAG spotted some interesting email addresses and has filed her own open records request:

Mr. Jarrett:

Please consider this email to be a formal Open Records request made by a Knox County citizen, pursuant to T.C.A. 10-7-501 through 10-7-515.

I am the mother of Henry Louis Granju, whose injuries and subsequent death were the subject of a criminal investigation handled by the Office of the Knox County Sheriff's Office and the Office of the Knox County District Attorney, beginning on April 27, 2010. It is in that context I am writing to request that Knox County provide me with legally defined access any communication dated between April 27, 2010 and January 1, 2012 to, from or otherwise distributed by any Knox County email address, or any email address within the KnoxSheriff.com server and email system that in any way references. mentions or includes any of the following email addresses:

[Redacted]

If you are not the appropriate individual within Knox County government to address my Open Records request for emails to and from the KnoxSheriff.com email system and server, I ask that you please proceed with processing my request related to Knox County email addresses, but that you also direct me to the legally defined records custodian within the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

Pursuant to Tennessee's Open Records Act, I am requesting copies of these emails contained in any format, electronic or physical (printed copies), and contained within any storage or file medium, including but not limited to desks, filing cabinets, storage rooms, lockers, mobile devices such as Blackberries, netbooks, laptop and desktop computers, external drives or servers, and any type of cloud based digital file or storage, including those hosted by vendors or contractors of Knox County government and/or the Knox County Sheriff's
Office.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this written request within the seven (7) working days required under Tennessee's Open Records Statute. Please let me know by return email when I can come by your office and pick these records up at a time convenient for your staff, as well as what the cost to me will be for their reproduction (costs defined by T.C.A. Section 10-7-506(a) ). If mailing the documentation to me would be more convenient for your staff, I will be happy to provide my USPS mailing address.

Please let me know if you have any questions related to my Open Records request.

Thank you for your time and public service.

Katie Allison Granju
Knoxville, TN

R. Neal's picture

Katie gets a response

Knox Co. Law Director Joe Jarret's office responds to Katie's open records request...

They are basically saying that some of the material requested is personal in nature and cannot be provided, and they will have to hire a lawyer to sift through it all to determine which part is personal and which is public and Katie will have to pay for it.

Which is odd, because her request involves Knox Co. government computers and Knox Co. government email servers. The Law Director is say county employees are conducting personal business on county computers and time, or...?

kag's picture

There are several interesting

There are several interesting things about the response I got from Mr. Buuck, to which Randy has linked above. The first is that when Law Director Jarret (who, by the way, has always been extremely polite to me, even when we have disagreed as I've worked to gain information related to Knox Co. authorities' investigation into my child's death) first responded to my initial Open Records request with an email reply, Mr. Jarret told me that:

A - I would need to contact Knox County's IT Director, Dick Moran regarding the emails I'd requested to and from KnoxCounty.org email addresses.

and

B - The KnoxSheriff.org email addresses are part of an email server/system entirely separate from Knox County's, and thus, Mr. Jarret had forwarded my Open Records request directly to the Sheriff.

Then, a day or two later I got this second response from Mr. Buuck, who works for Mr. Jarret. I am not sure why Mr. Jarret told me that I'd need to deal directly with Mr. Moran as Knox County's Open Records custodian if it is, in fact, his office that serves in that role, per Mr. Buuck's follow-up letter.

Mr. Buuck starts his letter to me by seemingly repeating what Mr. Jarret had already stated in his email response to me. Mr. Buuck writes that since KCSO maintains its own servers, my Open Records Request has been forwarded from the county Law Director's office directly to the Sheriff's Office. However, Mr. Buuck's wording is different in an important way from the words Mr. Jarret used in his response to my request a day or two prior, in which the Law Director stated that he'd forwarded my request directly to the Sheriff himself.

The reason this distinction matters is that Tennessee's Open Records Law is set up so that all government entities are supposed to name one or more individuals working within the agency or on its behalf (like the county law director) as the "official records custodian." Best practices recommend that only ONE person serve in this records custodian role for each government agency (See: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/openrecords/pdf/BestPracticesGuidelines(final)12.pdf ).

It's clearly much harder for a citizen or journalist to try to communicate effectively with the faceless, monolithic " "Sheriff's Office" than it is to communicate directly with "Fred Smith, who serves as the records custodian for the Knox County Sheriff's Office."

However, even though I specifically asked Mr. Jarret in my initial Open Records request to direct me to the actual email records custodians for both Knox County and the Knox County Sheriff's Office, he only directed me to Knox County's records custodian, whom he said was Mr. Moran. Mr. Jarret did not provide the name of anyone within KCSO acting as that agency's official records custodian; however, he suggested that this person is the Sheriff himself when he wrote that he'd forwarded my request "to him."

But in Mr. Buuck's letter, following the one his boss had already sent me, he describes "the Knox County Sheriff's Office," as the "records keeper." I don't know what a "records keeper" means in a technical sense, but I do know that state law requires KCSO to have one or several named individuals designated as "records custodian," and so far I can't get an answer as to who that person is within KCSO. The Sheriff's Office cannot be the records custodian. KCSO is not a human being. It's an agency.

Sadly, this is just the latest development in two years of my unsuccessful attempts to communicate directly with Sheriff Jones and his leadership staff via email.

See: (link...)

And also: (link...)

And also: (link...)

Furthermore, and as a separate issue for discussion, it is my personal belief that Mr. Tramel's dramatic accusation of email "hacking" is a total red herring designed to deflect community and media interest away from the real and important story suggested by the email addresses on that list published by Mr. Hornback. The story that the KNS and Metro Pulse and every other local journalist and blogger needs to be pursuing is to discern whether Sheriff Jones, Mr. Tramel and others within KCSO have been utilizing the personal email addresses on that list ("sheriff@esper.com," etc) in a purposeful attempt to circumvent Tennessee's Open Records laws (a la Sarah Palin - see: (link...) ), and also whether KCSO employees have been using KnoxSheriff.org email addresses to conduct personal business (corresponding with the email addresses on that list) on the taxpayers' dime. Either way, that's not okay.

Also, if Mr. Jarret forwarded my Open Records request directly to Sheriff Jones on the day he said he did (August 13, 2012), and if we generously assume that Sheriff Jones did not read the email from Law Director Jarret until the next day, that means that whomever KCSO's official records custodian is is required by state law to respond to my request - directly to me - within the next 3 days. Based on my two years of heartache and frustration in attempting to communicate with KCSO, I'd say the odds of me receiving a legally appropriate response in that time frame are low. However, I will keep hoping until the deadline passes. I also wonder which of the Sheriff's multiple email addresses Mr. Jarret used to convey my request.

Last, I'd be curious to know whether the KNS received the same response I did from the Law Director's office regarding their nearly identical Open Records request, a response in which it was made as clear as possible to me that the actual dollar cost to me as a citizen to gain access to the open records materials I've requested would be astronomically high. The Law Director's office is saying in that letter to me from Mr. Buuck that if I really want to see these emails to and from taxpayer-funded KnoxCounty.org email addresses, I will have to pay for their attorney's time to look at each email to determine which ones are "personal" in nature. Basically, I would pay a lawyer not of my choosing for the right to ultimately be denied access to emails indicating that Knox County employees are using their government-provided computers, electricity, server space and other IT resources to conduct personal business. That's pretzel logic if I've ever heard it. And I can't afford to pay for that right now, so I guess I've been effectively blocked from access.

These issues I've raised for discussion and inquiry should concern everyone in our community. And for the record, before I end this lengthy comment, I want to say that I totally and completely support the right of the journalists at the KNS to make as many Open Records requests of Knox County government as they feel are necessary to research and report the news. This is how journalists do their jobs, and its a primary reason why we have Open Records laws in the first place - to allow them to do their jobs.

-Katie

Bbeanster's picture

I heard one extremely funny

I heard one extremely funny theory that McElroy unknowingly got hold of Lee Tramel's email list -- hence the addies of his wife and family.

Pam Strickland's picture

Good for kag.

Good for kag.

Average Guy's picture

Curious

Anybody know how many hard drives will fit in a microwave at one time?

R. Neal's picture

I use a high-speed drill.

I use a high-speed drill.

Tyler Harber's picture

I'm back

Just kidding. I'm not Tyler. But Jack McElroy may be.

Here is the latest in the McElroy wannabe Murdoch hacking.

(link...)

Can Moxley Carmichael and Rick Hollow save what is left of the last daily paper?

Tell us Jack, how did this seem to be a good idea?

Rooster2's picture

Hornback is claiming they're

Hornback is claiming they're getting another list:

(link...)

What gives with McElroy? Looks like the newspaper man is on his own witch hunt.

Are him and Strickland just trying to hassle Burchett, claiming the actions are unrelated?

Bbeanster's picture

AHEM: (link...) Evidently my

AHEM:

(link...)

Evidently my source was correct.
So who hacked Tramel's email account, and why did Jack Mac want it?

Calypso's picture

weird and weirder

So you're not supposed to pick a fight with the guy that buys ink by the barrel, it's better to pick a fight with the guys with the badges and guns? Guess Jack Mac can't give up old habits.

Allison Burchett must have Jack Mac hypnotized.

Rachel's picture

Can someone summarize for me

Can someone summarize for me what's happening? I'd prefer not to click on those links.

Calypso's picture

to date

"Can someone summarize for me what's happening? I'd prefer not to click on those links."

Someone hacked the Chief Deputies email and somehow that email address book got to Jack McElroy who filed two FOI's to search those emails for reasons McElroy won't reveal.

Now you know what little everyone else knows. Ask Jack McElroy.

Rooster2's picture

I have a feeling it has

I have a feeling it has something to do with
school budget loss + jack McElroy = political retribution.

And throw Allison Burchett in there to be on the safe side.

I have a feeling it's all inter-connected. I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but hey, this is Knox County.

Rachel's picture

"To expedite this request and

"To expedite this request and to avoid the time and expense of reviewing every email, this superseding request is only for the following information from the "header field" of each email: "From:," "To:," "Sent:," "Cc:," "Subject:" and the names of any attached files. We are NOT requesting the bodies of the emails or the contents of any attached files."

Ok; THAT seems a little weird. Maybe they plan to follow up with a second FOIA request for emails with certain subject lines?

50 cents wasted's picture

Me think Allison Burchett has copies of emails as well as checks

Could possibly have been printing out whatever e-mails along the way she thought would have similar value as would copies of the checks which appered in the KNS.

McElroy drops the FOIA request for identification of e-mails which he already has copies of and if the ones he has copies of are not identified, they he filed a complaint with somebody showing the e-mail he has a copy of. Classic game of Gothcha, all in an effort to continue to smear Burchett since he brought their "agenda" to a screaching halt.

In my opinion, it doesn't do much to improve government unless McElroy thinks the county should have an email retention policy to eliminate all e-mail more than X many days old unless stored and retained for legal purposes. In that context, there are a number of ways to suggest that rather than these inconsequential games that do nothing except cost the taxpayers money that could have been used for other legitimate county purposes.

The target of this Gotcha may actually be the new law director Uncle Bud. KNS wasn't a big fan of his in the beginning and his official duties will begin in a couple of weeks.

Rachel's picture

Classic game of Gothcha, all

Classic game of Gothcha, all in an effort to continue to smear Burchett since he brought their "agenda" to a screaching halt.

Well, here's an idea: what about using Occam's Razor and assuming that the KNS asked for these emails because they are pursuing some kind of story?

Nah, that'd be boring.

Bbeanster's picture

Whoa!

R. Neal's picture

Heh. McElroy needs to learn

Heh. McElroy needs to learn the art of non-denial denials. He doth protest too much and too often. Maybe it's the difference between Journalism 101 and PR 101, which maybe he skipped?

Bbeanster's picture

Also the part about not

Also the part about not becoming part of the story....

Roscoe Persimmon's picture

McElroy's agenda is impaired by his desire to make the news

In my opinion, keeping an eye on the actions of state and local government is a fundamentally different first amendment responsibility from McElroy's flawed desire to demonstarte journalistic relevence by playing Gotcha with an email account/e-mail copies that the editor probably should not have in the beginning.

If the Sheriff's department initiates an investigation into whether or not an officer's computer has been hacked, McElroy may be interviewed as a prospective witness and the shield law and first amendment privileges do not apply to criminal investigations.

We may see McElroy in jail for refusing to comply with a judge's order compelling him to answer questions/provide requested documentation sooner rather than later.

Given the absence of any real original newsreporting at the News Sentinel, I doubt they are working on any in depth story regarding the involved e-mail or e-mail account. In my opinion, the editors and reporters covering Knox County government routinely get a bag on their head and take whatever the county spokesperson throws up and the reporter simply rewrites the press release.

Rooster2's picture

All this being hush hush is

All this being hush hush is what's worrisome and suspicious.

If they have something then why would they hide it?

Only 2 reasons:

They don't have anything, they just want to act like they do.

They don't have anything, but they hope they will find at least something they can spin together in hopes the public might buy it as wrongdoing.

I think somewhere in this campaign/check mess, McElroy crossed an ethical line, and he's trying to cover it up.

Rooster2's picture

It seems odd that McElroy has

It seems odd that McElroy has not editorialized about the email addresses, or at least in general why he wants them, as he did about the video and Shield Law.

It's not as if he would leak a potential story to competitors, or that he is trying to surprise someone.

Everyone knows he has them, but no one knows why.

His credibility suffers each day he is silent.

Barker's picture

mcelroy explains records request

Average Guy's picture

At least it explains the list

At least it explains the list and how the KNS got it. But no idea on any story line.

Hopefully the explanation will head off the Feds coming in on a potential "hack". I'd hate to think the public would once again be deprived of information, like with Baumgartner, because of an "ongoing investigation" tactic.

Rachel's picture

But no idea on any story

But no idea on any story line.

Look, for all I know this will turn out to be nefarious doin's by the KNS. But for now, I'd again turn to Occam's razor:

McElroy isn't discussing the story line because he doesn't want someone else to scoop the KNS.

Rooster2's picture

Scoop? Like Jake Mabe did

Scoop?

Like Jake Mabe did with the story claiming that McIntyre alledgedly had teachers' names written down who attended and protested the school budget?

Or that teacher morale is low under McIntyre?

Scoops like those?

fischbobber's picture

Scoops

McElroy isn't discussing the story line because he doesn't want someone else to scoop the KNS.

That has been happening rather frequently lately, odd for a one newspaper town but that's another thread. I think you may have hit the nail. The other obvious observation is that given the recent lack of cross-referencing sources, he may be looking for avenues of verification.

Rachel's picture

That's supposed to read "I

That's supposed to read "I have no idea on any story line."

How my fingers typed "but" when my brain was thinking "I have" is one of those middle-aged mysteries.

Rooster2's picture

It's still not clear. Did the

It's still not clear.

Did the county throw in the email list as a freebie, a buy one get one free, or is it something that was specifically requested?

JCB's picture

he appears

You've been pretty quite Barker. Is there a gag order?

So is it true this was about an Obama email from Tramel that pissed off your diminutive boss? What kind of fool drags people through the dirt because of a joke email?

Barker's picture

ha!

I'm assuming you mean "quiet" and not "quite." There's no gag order. It's just that we don't write about stuff until we have the information. In this case, our news folks have asked for information. It remains to be seen whether there is anything to report. Everybody should relax until then.

Rooster2's picture

This is

This is troubling

(link...)

Is McElroy stating he's used an FOIA 50 times, or that he's looked at other people's emails 50 times?

He needs to explain himself.

McElroy and KNS are beginning to make the Dept of Homeland Security and users of the Patriot act look like a bunch of pikers.

Average Guy's picture

Emails because of the

Emails because of the recipient or sender are a matter public record. If these were typed up paper memos to government officials, would it make you feel better?

They or anyone has the right to this correspondence.

And if the KNS had Dept of Homeland Security (or any agency under their umbrella) data mining capability, they wouldn't have been public with a FOIA.

Rooster2's picture

True. And it states that

True. And it states that when you send them. But how many people in a fit of political agitation or frustration that would cause one to email a public official would remember that?

I'm guessing not a lot.

Plus, it still creates a chilling effect knowing someone can just pull your emails out and put them on page one, doesn't it?

Average Guy's picture

When G.W. Bush gave us the

When G.W. Bush gave us the Patriot Act, all I heard from Republican corners was how "if you're not doing anything wrong..."

Guess that doesn't apply here, or you're not a Repulican.

Rachel's picture

What does this have to do

What does this have to do with the Patriot Act? The KNS is asking for govt records covered by FOIA.

Average Guy's picture

Nothing, it has to do with

Nothing, it has to do with hypocrisy. If this were about people in and around the Rogero administration comments on the KNS site, some on this site and Hornbeck's site would sound a lot different.

Barker's picture

FOIA

A lot of people are throwing aroung the term FOIA, but the KNS request has nothing to do with FOIA. FOIA is the Freedom of Information Act, which is a federal law dealing with federal infromation. Our requrest was made under the state Public Records Act, which covers state and local reocrds. Two different laws.

Rooster2's picture

You're exactly right, my

You're exactly right, my mistake.

Now why does the News-Sentinel want the information?

Thanks.

Barker's picture

The state does not require

The state does not require that anyone (including you) give a reason why they want to review public records. The records are supposed to be available, and all you have to do is ask to see them.

Rooster2's picture

I could care less what the

I could care less what the "state requires."

Aren't you obligated to your readers anymore?

You know:

"Give light and the people will find their own way."

When you've a history of demanding transparency and accountability from other entities, and you use an excuse like "the state doesn't require us to give a reason," it sounds worse than hypocritical.

It's just lame.

Barker's picture

If

If there is a story in the records, we will write it. If there is not, we won't. That's what we owe our readers.

Rooster2's picture

So you ARE just fishing,

So you ARE just fishing, right?

While you've got the line out, why don't you swing it over to Central Office and see if any of those public officials were in contact with SOS, the Chamber, or any soon to be exes during the work day?

I mean school administrators aren't supposed to be lobbying and politicking during the work day, are they?

They're supposed to be running the schools.

Emails might show that they were planning their lobbying and politicking, or were actually lobbying and politicking during the work day.

Of course that might just be uncomfortable to find out if Central Office staff were in contact with certain people, wouldn't it?

In violation of the schools own policy would be embarassing to boot!

And no, my email address isn't on the list.

Pickens's picture

Do you know you can make the

Do you know you can make the request on your own for that information (assuming it exists)? Call the county law director's office.

Rooster2's picture

What would I do with it? I'm

What would I do with it? I'm not the KNS, and I don't have its resources. The problem with living in a one horse town.

Barker's picture

post it

Anyone - even you! - can make a public records request. They are required by law to respond. And you can post the results of your investigation right here, for free. No big, lumbering printing press required. Get with the times, man. You would be doing a public service. And it would give me the opportunity to, um, appreciate someone else's reporting.

JCB's picture

real reporting

Why would you need 50 FOI's in a year? You never reported on the school board graft. Or the real school board budget. Or the real Central Office. Or the real Baumgartner. Or the real Raynella Dossett. Or the real Midway. Or the real Chamber. Or the real TDC. And so on and so on.

With all the things you don't report on, why the fishing expedition? It really isn't a newspaper is it? More like an attack newsletter for your enemies and PR puff pieces for your cronies. With some ads, crappy cartoons, and bipolar editorials.

S Carpenter's picture

Maybe you'd allow me to ask you, JCB & rooster2

Why would you object to any public records request?

metulj's picture

Because their emails are in

Because their emails are in that list?

JCB's picture

"Why would you object to any

"Why would you object to any public records request?"

Because it was Tramel's private email account. Read the 4th Amendment. What is the reason for the request? To get even over an Obama joke email? What a cry-baby.

Rachel's picture

Sorry - I should have been

Sorry - I should have been more clear. I actually did know the difference.

I was just trying to get the Patriot Act out of it.

DanteMalebranche's picture

What was in the other 50, Jack ?

Is anyone curious about the other 50 Open Records requests in 2012? Jack said this is "normal" operations and not related to a pissing match with Timmah.That means normal is 51 requests in 30 weeks or 1.7 per week.That projects to about 88 per year.I suppose that average would have held for the last 5 years of "normal" operation. Therefore, we likely had 88 x 5 = 440 over that period.If each request revealed 500 e-mail addresses,as 2012/51 is said to have done,then the total of examined e-mail contacts could be 440 x 500 = 220,000. Wow...Is this reporting or NSAesque data mining?

Barker's picture

Actually

Actually, that's an understatement of our public records requests. Tom Chester gave Jack the number of our formal, written requests. Reporters on the beat ask for public records all the time, usually in an informal way (the Public Records Act does not require a written request - all you have to do is go to the office and ask them for records). My guess is that we submit hundreds of public records requests every year.

JCB's picture

"Actually, that's an

"Actually, that's an understatement of our public records requests. Tom Chester gave Jack the number of our formal, written requests."

How many FOI/Open Records requests in the last year for the Knox County BOE?

None?

Seriously, why do you not report on your friends? That last school budget was the most fraudulent event of the past ten years after Baumgartner and Black Wednesday. But you looked the other way and rubber stamped it.

Barker's picture

Actually

Actually, that's an understatement of our public records requests. Tom Chester gave Jack the number of our formal, written requests. Reporters on the beat ask for public records all the time, usually in an informal way (the Public Records Act does not require a written request - all you have to do is go to the office and ask them for records). My guess is that we submit hundreds of public records requests every year.

Sandra Clark's picture

How so?

JCB: Don't understand what was fraudulent about the BOE budget. In fact, it was the most transparent budget I've seen. You could agree or disagree with its components, but to call it fraudulent is wrong. -- s.

JCB's picture

chicken feather

"JCB: Don't understand what was fraudulent about the BOE budget. In fact, it was the most transparent budget I've seen. You could agree or disagree with its components, but to call it fraudulent is wrong."

Uh Sandra, it was so fraudulent Commission Chair Hammond and School Board Chair Deakins had to change it. History is inconvenient, but that is what happened. It was a fraudulent manipulation of maintenance of effort and they got caught.

DanteMalebranche's picture

Jack, Scott Barker does not

Jack, Scott Barker does not deny that the KNS has obtained many private e-mail address books and their tens of thousands of associated links and info.He goes on to say ,..." My guess is that we submit hundreds of public records requests every year.".... Therefore the KNS spends a lot of time going through literally hundreds of thousands of data group entries looking for something to print.I love newspapers and look forward to reading several every day. I love the feel, the smell, and the great detail of newspapers.Some of my happiest memories are reading the Times on Sunday morning in bed.The notion that the KNS is reduced to dumpster diving through private electronic debris and civil minutiae ,hoping to find a nugget around which to build a story is sad.Where are your reporters ? Jack, we expect better of you.

Barker's picture

Wrong

You are fundabmentally misreading what I wrote. I wrote that we make hundreds of public records requests each year. Some of those records are reports or other documents that have nothing to do with emails. But some of them do include emails, and any email addresses obtained that way are public information. Sorry about that.

JCB's picture

"Where are your reporters ?

"Where are your reporters ? Jack, we expect better of you."

How many KNS reporters are left? 4? 5? When you don't have feet on the street you have hands in the dumpster. Otherwise you just print press releases.

Barker's picture

Now you're just being

Now you're just being offensive. Bugger off.

JCB's picture

Bugger off.

Very British now, down to the hacking of emails. Rupert Murdoch buy the Sentinel?

Barker's picture

Nobody hacked anybody's email

Nobody hacked anybody's email account. If you read McElroy's blog posting, you would know how the addresses were obtained -- a basic public records request. Please do your best to stay at the grown-ups' table.

fischbobber's picture

Presumption of competence

In fairness to the Sentinel, broad sweeping FOIA requests are definitely going to be the smartest,quickest, easiest and cheapest way of verifying information. Creepy as it may seem, it is a necessary, and I believe, good check on out of control and potentially abusive uses of power.

I think it would be a mistake to change the act based on what may or may not turn out to be a journalistic slump. Despite anyone's emotional reaction to anything the Sentinel has done lately, any and all local newspapers are a vital part of their community and the freedom to operate and report freely is key to their effective function.

I think it would be a mistake to equate , for lack of a better term,"a misreported story" for broad based incompetence. Like most large institutions, one can point at good or bad. In other words, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Rooster2's picture

While I can understand

While I can understand requesting documents relating to a story, the problem with this is that the requests and the responses on here by Barker make the whole thing seem...arbitrary.

More so than I even imagined it was.

And that brings up another point.

We know the paper has political allies within Knox County, and we can guess that those allies have attempted to use the KNS for their own purposes.

Or perhaps the KNS would willingly help out those who they consider to be their allies.

Which ever it may be, it is intimidating.

Well, I guess if KNS becomes the new Pravda, there's TOR.

Barker's picture

journalism lesson (free of charge)

Rooster2,

If you think my comments make the request seem arbitrary, too bad. We don't typically comment on pending records requests because it would be irresponsible. We investigate, then report; we don't report, then investigate. Surely you can see the wisdom of that principle.

Sometimes public records requests are prompted by tips from trusted sources. Even then, there's no guarantee they will result in news stories. Facts are stubborn things. I have spent big blocks of time on stories that didn't materialize, and it's frustrating, but I'd rather pull the plug on a story than publish something that isn't accurate. On the other hand, sometimes the records lead to fantastic stories that serve the public interest. You don't know ahead of time.

Sometimes reporters do go fishing. When I was a police reporter, every evening I wasn't working on a breaking news story I would go to KPD and KCSO to review their incident reports. It was just a routine examination of public records with absolutely no promise I would find anything. Most often, I didn't (though I would recommend this exercise to anyone with some curiosity about the strange things humans do). Sometimes I did uncover something. Jamie Satterfield does the same thing when she reviews court records. Other reporters do it, too. We often check the court records of candidates for public office, for example, even when there is no reason to suspect they have had any legal issues. On occasion, these fishing expeditions, as some call them, yield good catches.

Sometimes public records requests lead to articles; sometimes they don't. So, basically, it's folly to read too much into a public records request one way or the other unless and until the articles are published.

fischbobber's picture

FOIA

Regardless of it's arbitrary nature, public business is just that, public. If the newspaper wasn't constantly looking through these records they would be derelict in both their ethical and community responsibilities.

God knows I don't agree with the way the Sentinel handles every story, but I'm missing the pieces for all these grand conspiracies I keep reading about. I think the Sentinel is likely understaffed and as such, there have been editorial decisions relating to stories that may well have been different with the input of people that typically would have been there in a pre-internet business model. I can honestly say I don't think the Sentinel has gotten a free ride on those decisions, nor do I think they should.

If the Sentinel is playing politics over journalism, they are doing a pretty good job of hiding that. It's a small town and those sorts of things tend to leak with verifiable info rather quickly.

I think what the Sentinel is doing is struggling with a business model that is caught in the middle of a shifting paradigm. Media in general and newspapers in particular are struggling with ways to maintain their relevance. Oddly the downsizing of old school newsrooms appears to have been a massive error within the industry, simply because of the avalanche of available information. The result can, and often is stilted pieces with incomplete information.

If there was a problem with the editorial content, I would suspect it would involve the influence of a major advertiser (no, I don't have any reason to think that is happening) rather than some nefarious plot involving McElroy, Barker, local politicians in trench coats and dark glasses and of course, silent helicopters and space ships.

Just because I don't agree with everything the Sentinel does, doesn't make gutting their first amendment rights and responsibilities the right thing to do. Let them do their job, and hold them accountable for their errors. It's pretty simple.

P.S. Speaking of which, I noticed that the little comment box has been deleted from the bottom of the comments box below the articles. I presume that means I've been banned and that is chickenshit.

P.P.S. It appears just to be the Volunteer Medical Clinic story and it would seem that all comments have been shut down. That's both chickenshit and explainable by lack of staff. It's a huge loss for the community.

Rooster2's picture

I don't think it's a grand

I don't think it's a grand conspiracy, I just think it's another GOB group where many of the players are from Sequoyah Hills and think Burchett has too much popular support for THEIR own good.

I mean there is still plenty of news out there isn't there?

Baumgardner and all that mess.

Marilyn Roddy's new job with STEM for $77K, paid for with Race to the Top money, but approved by McIntyre. What will she do?

Is McIntyre buying friends?

Rooster2's picture

Tor.

Tor.

Rooster2's picture

I'd stay off the Silk Road,

I'd stay off the Silk Road, though.

Treehouse's picture

Another paper

The News Sentinel got the story about the Knoxville abortion clinic closing from AP and the Nashville Tennessean. That's pitiful. It is definitely a huge loss to this community. The anti-abortion folks are really anti-women. They are trying to make sure no caring, professional doctors are available to do abortions which leaves desperate women at the mercy of hacks and profit makers.

My midwife-backup doctor also performed abortions and they tried to run him out of town by publicizing his address and harassing him. That meant the midwife ran the risk of no doctor backup. Now how can that be anything but anti women and babies?

Calypso's picture

WOW, McElroy busted big time

This is the reason Jack McElroy is snooping on private emails?

(link...)

Looks like Betty's source was right. That is pretty weak tea to go snooping with. Not a single government email was used. Ivan Harmon's email was with the City of Knoxville not Knox County. And Harmon didn't work for the City at that time.

So does McElroy really believe that the Open Records Act of Tennessee trumps the 4th Amendment. I want to see Rick Hollow argue that in court.

Fisch, I think McElroy is wrong. You can't go after private emails. State law doesn't trump the 4th. McElroy should be turned down for not following the Open Records Act. So what else did McElroy fudge on?

Barker's picture

Calypso

Emails sent to and from private addresses are public records if one of the correspondents is a public official conducting public business. For example, if a county commissioner sends an email to a constituent regarding a zoning issue, it's a public record, regardless of whether it was sent from a private or public account.

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures conducted by the government. I hope you understand the difference between a government agency and a privately-owned newspaper (or an individual such as kag).

It is up to the government agency to comply with the Public Records Act, not the person seeking the record.

Calypso's picture

Uh

Bull. You can't take a private email sent to other private emails addresses that contains a movie of Obama's Aunt and go on a fishing expedition for two years worth of emails from over 80 private citizens. There is no basis for the Open Records request. There is nothing public in that email from Lee Tramel. There were no public email addresses except for Ivan Harmon at the City and he didn't even work there then.

Is that what your paper does, just sends lists of emails to the Law Director to waste taxpayer money on? Why don't you hire some reporters rather than force the taxpayers to subsidize your reporting?

Private doesn't mean public. This is an abuse of the Tennessee Open Records Act and you and your paper look like fools right now. You can save your breath, I don't see that you have any credibility. It wasn't enough to cheat the taxpayers on your move to your shinny metal building? Now you want welfare? Pay for your own reporters. I wish your paper had moved. You aren't worth it.

I hope someone breaks this wide open so we can see what the Sentinel is doing. Of course, we'd have to read it on Brian's Blog and KnoxViews, or watch it on WATE. Or listen to WNOX. McElroy has yet to say what the reason for this fishing expedition is. Your paper won't even cover the story.

Barker's picture

Learn about the Public

Learn about the Public Records Act and get back to me.

fischbobber's picture

Uhhhhh........

You're right, you can't. But you can check on correspondence from all public e-mail addresses, regardless of whether or not one of the correspondents is communicating from a private e-mail address.

Perhaps if we burned all the witches.........

(link...)

Calypso's picture

Electronic Communications Privacy Act?

"But you can check on correspondence from all public e-mail addresses, regardless of whether or not one of the correspondents is communicating from a private e-mail address."

Bizgrrl had it right. The KNS had to have had help to get those private email addresses. Illegal help?

Fisch, how did the KNS obtain the private email addresses? Please explain to me how a public records request can be made using illegally obtained private email addresses?

The KNS has difficulty understanding what "private" means. The only way McElroy could see the hidden email addresses was to go to Michael Patrick's or Ansley Haman's computer. Because they got the original Tramel email. When you forward those emails you lose the email address. You see only the email name. But if you go to Patrick's or Haman's computer you see both the email name and email address. Nice people. Data mining like this is hacking. Is that what you want your newspaper to do. Invade people's privacy?

Private isn't public.

(link...)

And that isn't all. Do you defend this? Look at who got a pass.

From Brian's Blog:

Of that mass email distribution list 15 names were dropped off the Jack McElroy "McElroy List".

Let's see who they are. Jimmy Haslam, brother to TN Governor, new owner of the Cleveland Browns, son of Big Jim Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J and purchaser of thousands of News Sentinels every Friday. Big Metal Shed on the Hill (KNS) employees Ansley Haman and Michael Patrick, Mike Cohen, then with Ackermann PR (now owner of Cohen Communicaions), Tracy McBroom with SRW Associates (SRW being Susan Richardson Williams, which Jack sits beside on a weekly talking heads tv show on WBIR), Randy & Robin Brown, Monica Chrysandreas, Kevin Desmond, Angela Hatcher, Kevin Lusby, Brad Mayes, Knox County Sheriffs Office employees Melinda Lynch, Kelvin Moxley and Les Mullins and April Tomlin with Knox County.

Barker's picture

Nice try

Jack wrote that we got the addresses from the county as part of a previous records request. Your beef, if you have one, is with the county. If you think what they released to us was exempt from the Public Records Act, then complain to them. All we did was ask for records.

Nice try with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act reference. You might have had a point had anyone actually done any hacking. You're beginning to sound a lot like my old pal Number9.

Miss the Journal's picture

Nice try, do you tell the truth ever?

"Jack wrote that we got the addresses from the county as part of a previous records request. Your beef, if you have one, is with the county. If you think what they released to us was exempt from the Public Records Act, then complain to them."

Barker, you take the cake. Have you read Brian's Blog? You should. Because it is obvious Jack McElroy is lying. Those private emails could have only come from the Tramel email.

My beef is with you lying and McElroy lying. And your employees shouldn't have given private email addresses to McElroy. That is unethical. I don't know if that breaks any laws, but it does speak to the lack of character of all those involved at the Sentinel.

Barker's picture

insults

It's hard to take an insult seriously when the person making the insult cowardly hides behind a pseudonym.

Calypso's picture

Reading assignment - right thing to do

"Jack wrote that we got the addresses from the county as part of a previous records request."

I guess McElroy thought people would buy that. I doubt he thought Brian Hornback would be such a good investigative reporter.

Both you and McElroy should study your ethics policy Barker. And Patrick and Haman should too.

(link...)

Page 18:

Ethical Decision Making
All employees encounter ethical challenges in their work. This code is intended to help you
recognize and resolve those challenges. We suggest the following process in identifying and
finding appropriate resolutions to ethical challenges.
When considering any business problem, you should always ask yourself these four questions:
1 Are there laws and/or regulations that apply to this situation?
2 Are there Scripps policies and/or procedures that apply to this situation?
3 Do Scripps core values apply to this situation?
4 Does my own sense of the “right thing to do” apply here?
Answering “yes” to any of these four questions suggests that there is an ethical issue and that
the ethical issue should be considered when addressing the problem.
When considering a solution to such a business problem, ask yourself these seven questions:
1 Is your solution legal and ethical?
2 Who will be affected by this solution?
3 How will they be affected?
4 Is there a good business case for this solution?
5 Is this solution consistent with how Scripps defines the “right thing to do”?
6 Is this solution consistent with how I define the “right thing to do”?
7 Will the company’s reputation and standing in the community be affected by this solution?
The answers to these questions help determine if the solution is consistent with the company’s
ethical standards, with society’s standards for ethical conduct in general and with you, the decision
maker, in particular.

Barker's picture

again

I don't care if you buy it or not. You've demonstrated a keen misunderstanding of the law, of journalism and of common sense.

It's pretty simple. We made a public records request of the county and they released Tramel's email to us. Then we made another public records request for emails contained on the county's (the public's) servers for the recipients of Tramel's email. No hacking required. I don't blame Tramel for initially thinking he'd been hacked, but all he had to do was check with the county to see that the email was released as part of the initial records request. Or he could have called Jack. Again, all we did was ask for the records. The county released them. If anyone has a problem with that, I suggest yet again that they complain to the county law department.

I have no idea why Ansley Haman should study the Scripps ethics policy -- she hasn't worked for the News Sentinel in about four years. To my knowledge, Michael Patrick (who is a photographer, not a reporter) didn't have anything to do with the public records request. Even if either one of them had shown the email to Jack, so what? Tramel sent the email to journalists. And by the way, Ansley and Michael are two of the most ethical people I've ever known. Neither needs a written ethics policy to know right from wrong.

Calypso's picture

corrections

"Again, all we did was ask for the records. The county released them."

Barker, I cannot find the email address for Jack McElroy anywhere on the Sentinel website. Will you list it here please? Since you see no harm in that. While you're at it, include Patrick Birmingham's email address too.

On WNOX Friday Mayor Burchett said nothing had been released yet for the Tramel open records request and that an outside attorney would be hired to screen what would be released to make sure they complied with the open records act.

Also, Brian Hornback announced Friday on WNOX he had filed an open records request with the County Law Director to see all 51 open record requests the News Sentinel had made to the county in the last year. So the public will soon see what Sentinel fishing expeditions have gone on.

Barker's picture

reading comprehension

Since reading comprehension is not your forte, I will type slowly.

Some time ago, we submitted a public records request to the county.

The county released the records.

Tramel's email was among those records.

We then submitted another records request seeking emails on the county servers associated with email addresses contained in Tramel's email.

Hornback found out about the request and posted the list on his website.

In other words, it was Hornback who published the email addresses, not KNS.

I have twice posted a link to a state opinion about what the custodian of records must do in response to a public records request for emails.

The responding agency must review the emails for information that by law is not public, such as an information covered by HPPA or the attorney-client privilege.

The state opinion cites a court ruling that purely private communications that do not deal with government business are not public.

This means that the responding agency is responsible to redact information that does not involve government business before releasing the emails.

This means that only government-related correspondence is to be released.

This means that private messages are not to be released.

By the way, the law allows the responding agency to charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs of compiling and copying records.

This means that KNS will be footing the bill, not taxpayers.

McElroy wrote that KNS has made an estimated 50 formal public records requests.

McElroy did not write that those requests were made only to Knox County.

Anyone can make a public records request to the county to review our public records requests.

That seems a silly exercise to me, but anyone can do it.

You must not have looked very hard for McElroy's email address because it is posted with his weekly column.

People also can send messages to McElroy, Birmingham or any other KNS staff member via the website's staff directory, which can be found by clicking on "Contact Us," located at the top of the page.

I hope I typed slowly enough for you.

fischbobber's picture

Fisch

Fisch, how did the KNS obtain the private email addresses? Please explain to me how a public records request can be made using illegally obtained private email addresses?

They were attached to an e-mail.

bizgrrl's picture

Seems like it would be hard

Seems like it would be hard to get "public" correspondence sent through private emails, unless someone on the other end of the email assists.

R. Neal's picture

Similar to Katie's request,

Similar to Katie's request, yes, any citizen can file an open records request.

We have filed several with state and local officials regarding road projects, and have gotten prompt replies almost every time.

One local agency balked when we asked for copies of public feedback regarding a road project. They said the people who responded didn't have any reason to think it would be public record. Plus, they said we were just trying to identify people to carry out a "vendetta" against. (In fact, we knew they were fudging the "for/against" numbers to the local media and just wanted evidence.) We cited state law, they talked to their lawyers, and produced the records. A subsequent request for public feedback about the project had a big bold notice that responses would be public record.

Anyway, the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Office of Open Records Counsel has everything you need to know, including forms and instructions.

(And you don't even need forms. Katie's letter above is an excellent model, except you don't even need to state why you are requesting the records.)

Barker's picture

Office of Open Records Counsel

I wish I'd thought to direct people to the Office of Open Records Counsel. Here's a link to a relevant opinion from said office:

(link...)

Pam Strickland's picture

What amazes me is that this

What amazes me is that this law has been on the books for decades and people still fuss and carry on about it.

When I was an undergrad for one of my classes -- I think it was a survey class, but this was the late 70s and I can't swear to that -- my partner and I did a project where we went to several local government offices and asked to see certain records. All were public records. The catch was how many initially told us that they couldn't hand over the records, and had to ask their boss. So here we are with slightly different details -- fussing about who is responsible for the emails from the sheriff's office -- and not wanting to hand them over.

Public records are public records are public records. Period.

Barker's picture

records

The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government did the same kind of survey a few years ago. I and a handful of my colleagues volunteered to help. It's amazing how government workers in different towns and counties vary in their understanding of the law. Volunteers went to places all over the state asking for the same four documents, all of them unquestionably public records. About one-third of the requests were denied outright. Unacceptable.

Rooster2's picture

Not necessarily correct when

Not necessarily correct when it comes to kids and juveniles is it?

The problem is that the KNS has seemingly used every excuse to justify what it has done.

Fact is if the KNS had more credibility it would be dealing with these questions and suspicions.

But that's its own damn fault.

It's brought this on itself, and once the engine jumps the track, the rest is sure to follow.

Rooster2's picture

"Not necessarily correct when

"Not necessarily correct when it comes to kids and juveniles is it?"

Refers to public records being public.

Barker's picture

exemptions

There are exemptions to the Public Records Act but lectronic messages are not among them. However, whenever an agency releases emails, they typically review them to make sure they do not contain exempt information. They look for things that would violate HPPA or are covered under attorney-client privilege. They redact those portions and release the email unless the email contains purely personal information and has nothing to do with public business. Again, this link is most enlightening.

(link...)

Pam Strickland's picture

Yes, the law is clear, and

Yes, the law is clear, and it's really no big deal.

As for Brian Hornback, I can assure, having been the subject of one of his recent blog posts, that he makes up 99 percent of what he claims to be reporting.

anotherreporter's picture

Lack of understanding

The lack of understanding of common journalistic practices and well established regulation such as the state open records act by people on this blog is not unusual. After all, you folks only"play" journalist a few hours a week and you're not held accountable.

What is harder to understand is that you criticize professionals journalists, any of which have more more experience than you in this regard, without even trying to get your facts straight. Why not look up the information about FOIA or the open Records Act and engage your brain before you start running off at the mouth.

If there is something illegal or improper about the KNS open records request there exists a cadre of educated, highly motivated individuals at the city, state and county government who could make and prove such allegations. The reason the county complied with the request is because it is a simple, legal request of the type they respond to much more often than 50 times a year.

If the posters on this blog or on Hornbeck's blog were held accountable for their false and misleading accusations they would probably consider more carefully what they write. Rest assured, the KNS is held accountable for everything it publishes.

fischbobber's picture

(not verified)

Occasionally some News-Sentinel commentators decide they want to have dinner at the adult table so they can show off their learning. Sadly their conversations with big people often lead to head shaking and tsk tsking and they generally go back to their playroom in short order.

That being said, the Sentinel people tend to be full of their own righteous indignation, and it remains to be seen what will happen in their recent endeavors to participate in as well as report the news.

Calypso's picture

another so called expert

"What is harder to understand is that you criticize professionals journalists, any of which have more more experience than you in this regard, without even trying to get your facts straight."

We are trying to get the facts straight. It's difficult. Not because we are dimwitted but because the story the KNS is pitching is not believable. What Barker and McElroy claim does not agree with Betty's source or Brian's reporting. It is that simple. And Barker's claim Saturday doesn't make sense to anyone who has ever used email.

Barker wrote Saturday, "Some time ago, we submitted a public records request to the county. The county released the records. Tramel's email was among those records. We then submitted another records request seeking emails on the county servers associated with email addresses contained in Tramel's email."

Like Bizgrrl said earlier, "Seems like it would be hard to get "public" correspondence sent through private emails, unless someone on the other end of the email assists."

What I have heard is that the Tramel email on "Auntie Obama" angered Jack McElroy greatly and McElroy decided to use it to make an "enemies list". Anyone who received that email would be targeted. In journalism that will cost an editor his job. It is a breach of ethics that no paper will tolerate. Cincinnati will fire Jack if they find this happened.

Since you and Barker are so smart. How did Knox County search for "emails on the county servers associated with email addresses contained in Tramel's email" when the email address were hidden by Tramel's address book?

How would they know what to search for? Is Knox County's computer department clairvoyant? No county employee received the Tramel email at knoxcounty.org. So it wasn't on the Knox County email servers. They can't search for something that is not on Knox County email servers. What Barker claimed is not possible.

The only way to see those email addresses is to sit at a computer and look at the original email. An email that two Sentinel employes had at their desk.

This is what is claimed to have drove Jack McElroy to create the enemies list:

(link...)

That movie of Obama's Aunt has nothing to do with Knox County. And even if Barker's claim were technically possible, then the Open Records request involved people who did nothing other than be a recipient of Lee Tramel's email. For that they are put on an enemies list because Jack McElroy found something offensive about the movie of Obama's Aunt? That is another ethical breach. The KNS goes on a witch hunt for email recipients? Have you really sunk to that level?

So call us stupid and type slow as you need to. Your cover story has holes in it.

Keep in mind, Hornback will receive all 51 News Sentinel Open Record requests. Time will tell.

R. Neal's picture

Since you and Barker are so

Since you and Barker are so smart. How did Knox County search for "emails on the county servers associated with email addresses contained in Tramel's email" when the email address were hidden by Tramel's address book?

Let me try to help. If you send out an email to a list of recipients, and you put that list in the CC instead of the BCC, anyone and everyone who reads it can see the list.

At any rate, if the story KNS was investigating was supposed to be that a public official sent out a "racist" email about Obama, the video was not racist. An attack piece, and disrespectful, yes, and one that wingnuts could glom on to for possibly justifiable reasons.

Whether it's in good taste or even proper for a public official to send out such a partisan video using an official email account during an election cycle is another story. But I'm guessing it won't turn out to be much of a story, and this will be the end of it.

Barker's picture

thanks

Concise explanation, Randy.

I don't know the date of the initial records request, but apparently the county released Tramel's email to us some time ago. If the news folks had thought it was a story, I imagine it would have been published a long time ago.

Calypso's picture

one step at a time

Most importantly, Brian Hornback reported that not a single person on the Tramel email had an email address at knoxcounty.org. All Knox County employees received the Tramel email on their private emails. How can Knox County find those emails when they are not on Knox County email servers?

So it would be impossible for Knox County to find out the "requested" email address as they were not searchable because they were not there.

What Barker claimed happened Knox County computer people cannot do. Nor can anyone. How can Knox County search a Gmail or Yahoo email account? They can't. Barker is wrong.

R. Neal writes, "Let me try to help. If you send out an email to a list of recipients, and you put that list in the CC instead of the BCC, anyone and everyone who reads it can see the list."

Yes, I understand that.

Let me give an example.

Anyone who receives the original email can see both the address book name and the email address. You can't see the email address when the email is forwarded. You can't see the email address when the email is printed out. Or printed to a PDF.

My point was that in Tramel's email address book a person was listed, for example, as Lastname, Firstname. So on the original Tramel email you could hover over that address book name and see the email address. If the email were forwarded or printed, you would not be able to see the email address. You would only see, Lastname, Firstname.

Most Open Records request are printed to paper or PDF. A CDROM of original native emails is not provided.

Barker is wrong again. His story doesn't work. It doesn't hold water.

Make sense now?

Also, the election cycle of the Tramel email was when Madeline Rogero was elected Mayor. The Tramel email was in 2011. It was not this year.

Barker's picture

again

You don't know what you're talking about, Calypso.

We often ask for, and receive, electronic versions of public records.

R. Neal's picture

Wrong. Maybe you need a

Wrong. Maybe you need a better email client. Or a different venue with more gullible readers.

Calypso's picture

How is it wrong?

"Wrong. Maybe you need a better email client."

Okay, forget the email client. And the address book.

R. Neal, can you explain how Knox County can find an email address on Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or Comcast if all they have is the persons name?

Brian Hornback wrote on August 16th, "The question is since the only government address on the mass email address was a City of Knoxville email address, what right does Jack have to open record request of the county regarding personal email addresses."

(link...)

There were NO KNOX COUNTY EMAILS ON THE TRAMEL EMAIL. Okay?

Scott Barker wrote today, "Some time ago, we submitted a public records request to the county. The county released the records. Tramel's email was among those records. We then submitted ANOTHER records request seeking emails on the COUNTY SERVERS associated with email addresses contained in Tramel's email."

How is that possible? Barker says the search was on the COUNTY SERVERS. How can you search for something that is on someone else's email server? Answer, you can't.

You don't have to be a techie to get this. But you are a techie R. Neal. So why is this hard to understand?

R. Neal's picture

Sorry, Calypso, I'm not

Sorry, Calypso, I'm not technical enough to follow what you are saying. Your computer forensic abilities have left me behind in the dirt. I guess we'll have to wait and hope that the FBI is able to sort it all out and get the bottom of it.

Barker's picture

Yes

His brilliance blinds us all.

Miss the Journal's picture

"R. Neal, can you explain how

"R. Neal, can you explain how Knox County can find an email address on Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or Comcast if all they have is the persons name?"

They got it the first three times. They don't like Brian Hornback so they don't believe his reporting. You are wasting your time.

Barker's picture

reading comprehension again

RNeal gave a good explanation of how it can happen. I can't add anything to it.

Calypso, you wrote: "The only way to see those email addresses is to sit at a computer and look at the original email. An email that two Sentinel employes had at their desk."

For the second time, Ansley Haman is not a News Sentinel employee. She left several years ago to attend law school in DC. After receiving her law degree and serving internships with the Wall Street Journal, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Federal Communications Commission's Office of General Counsel (among others), she went back into journalism by taking a job with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. She is a phenomenal reporter who won four national journalism awards when she was at KNS. As anotherreport said, you should get your facts straight before tossing out wild accusations.

That said, so what if a KNS employee did show the email to the editors? Tramel of all people should know that anything he sends to a journalist could be used in a news story unless both parties agree it is off the record. Reporters share contact information - phone numbers, email addresses, etc. - all the time. Knowing how to contact someone is one of the basics of our business.

Calypso's picture

my facts are fine Barker

"For the second time, Ansley Haman is not a News Sentinel employee. She left several years ago to attend law school in DC. After receiving her law degree and serving internships with the Wall Street Journal, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Federal Communications Commission's Office of General Counsel (among others), she went back into journalism by taking a job with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. She is a phenomenal reporter who won four national journalism awards when she was at KNS. As anotherreport said, you should get your facts straight before tossing out wild accusations."

Barker, have you gotten anything right today?

Below is the April 7th 2012 story from "missing in action" KNS reporter Ansley Haman.

(link...)

Barker's picture

wrong again

That story is one that Ansley wrote for the Times Free Press (note the content and the dateline - again, we're talking reading comprehension). We have a content sharing agreement with all the major papers in the state, including the Times Free Press. They use our stories, we use theirs.

Here's Ansley's Times Free Press bio: (link...)

Again, get your facts straight.

Miss the Journal's picture

"That said, so what if a KNS

"That said, so what if a KNS employee did show the email to the editors?"

Because it is very unethical. Those people on that email had nothing to do with the content of that email. To search their emails to the county for just receiving an email is wrong.

While you do all this you give John Duncan III a free ride and hide from the public important news. It does look like you protect some elected people and stalk others. Your ethics need to change.

Barker's picture

anotherreporter

Thanks for chiming in. Some folks who post here have some journalism experience and understand. Others are active in certain areas and have some experience with public records requests. The most vocal in this thread, however, are those who don't have a clue and apparently won't learn. I suspect at least one or two are on the list of requested emails and are more interested in lashing out than understanding how the law (or journalism, for that matter) works.

Bbeanster's picture

Agree with Randy. Having

Agree with Randy.
Having finally seen the Tramel email, it's not overtly racist, it's just a typical election year "embarrassing relative" smear. If he let the recipients' addresses show, he wasn't much concerned for their privacy, so that's on him.
Apparently the 'story' is GOP political operative/cop sends kind of creepy, sort of dumb political email to friends and family and political allies. Not exactly a newsflash, And since no story ensued, I'm not sure what the problem is, although I don't know why the NS would be interested in those email addresses.

R. Neal's picture

The only possible story here

The only possible story here is whether public officials are using private, "off the record" email accounts to conduct public business out of the public eye. There's no evidence of that in this case, and it's totally reasonable for public officials to maintain personal email accounts for personal business. As long as that's all they are used for.

Barker's picture

well

Well, there are other possible stories, but that's one of them.

SnM's picture

Yes. And yes, I'm a

Yes. And yes, I'm a contractor to the Sentinel too. So obviously I have no credibility. But, despite the chorus from the willfully ignoranti's misunderstanding, it's clear the Sentinel obtained the emails from a regular request for government information. The efforts so far expended here to make it appear something sinister suggest the posters have some beef, a desire to steer the conversation away from the actual issue.

The other misdirect is the video in the original email, if indeed, it is the first. It isn't a story. So if reporters are still asking for records, something else was noticed. And all this huffing and puffing and - and amazingly, trying to make the media into a bully - seems like a smokescreen to distrast from something else.

Miss the Journal's picture

"it's clear the Sentinel

"it's clear the Sentinel obtained the emails from a regular request for government information."

Then why are so many KNS people here circling the wagons to protect Jack McElroy?

fischbobber's picture

Do what????????

Then why are so many KNS people here circling the wagons to protect Jack McElroy?

You ain't from around here are you?

Miss the Journal's picture

Another scoop from Brian Hornback

How is it that the News Sentinel did not report this story?

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

Bbeanster's picture

Hey, Miss the Journal-- Those

Hey, Miss the Journal--
Those documents are so tiny I cannot decipher them. What's the story?

Miss the Journal's picture

"What's the story?" Somehow

"What's the story?"

Somehow Duncan III avoided a $10,000 civil penalty fine by the State of Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance's Ethics Committee.

I had to use Ctrl + to zoom up so I could see them.

rikki's picture

grounding

The Sentinel's request specifically said they do not want the content of emails. They just want to see how often mail from the county's mail system goes to those addresses, information that can be extracted from the county mail server.

No remote mail servers need to be contacted. No one's inbox has been violated or needs to be accessed. They want to see whether Tramel uses his county account for personal or political mail often or just now and then.

What's going on with this records request is quite simple if you remain grounded in what is factual.

Miss the Journal's picture

To various Scripps reporters here

When Brian Hornback had printed the McElroy emails last week I saved the list in an Excel file. There were 84 names. This morning I counted the number of email addresses without proper names. 27 of those emails were cryptic email addresses. They were non-names. For example, tvcsrr@something.com.

Much has been made ignoring Calypso's posts. Too technical and whatnot. You can play dumb. But even a computer illiterate like me understood the point.

On the Upfront Page Jack McElroy said, "The truth isn't quite so nefarious. The News Sentinel obtained the list from the county when it responded to an earlier public records request. Tramel had used the list to distribute some political material from his personal email address. On the list was at least one county government address. So the information entered the county's computers, and it popped back out in response to our unrelated query."

That is a falsehood. There is not a single county email address in the Tramel email.

So various Scripps employees had gone to great pains to allege that the Tramel email is not the source of the email lists.

It is the source.

You may not like Brian but he broke the story and the facts are not disputable.

I will be making a complaint to the Scripps Ethics Program Director at 513-977-3899 Monday. And on (link...) today. It is one thing for McElroy to deceive the readers. He has a lot to lose for his actions. But for every single Scripps employee that posted in this thread to play dumb and add in that falsehood shows the ethics problem is company wide at the News Sentinel.

While the News Sentinel stalked those on its enemies list Trustee John Duncan III is not reported on. I find that offensive. That $10,000 ethics fine that Duncan III escaped from is the same ethics fine that the News Sentinel is pushing for Mayor Tim Burchett. That is unethical.

I'm not on the McElroy enemy list. But the fact that a list like that exists has moved me to do something about it. Scripps owns the News Sentinel and it is their job to clean it up.

Barker's picture

Miss the Journal,

Feel free to call the ethics director if you believe there has been an ethics violation. That's why Scripps publishes the number. I am confident there has been no ethics violation.

To my knowledge (since many of the posters here don't use their real names), Bbeanster, Sandra Clark and I are the only Scripps employees who have posted on this thread. None of us is a reporter, and they don't work a KNS. A couple of freelancers who write columns for us have posted here, but they are not Scripps employees.

I have consistently said the Tramel email was the source of the email list. Typically, I don't even know about what the news folks are doing and in this case I did not know beforehand about the records requests. However, I do know now. You can call me a liar all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that we obtained the email as part of a records request. Anyone who doesn't like that should complain to Knox County, because Knox County was the organization that released the records.

I don't know anything about the Duncan situation, but we have not shied away from reporting on the trustee's office. After all, we broke the story on the improper bonuses paid by Duncan. I do know that for some reason we did not report Burchett's first campaign finance violation in 2006, when he was not fined, until he was fined for his second violation in 2008. At that time, Drew Rawlins, who is the director of the campaign ethics office, said first-time offenders typically do not get fined.

The editorial board has NOT called for Burchett to receive a fine; we have called for an investigation to find out whether the irregularities uncovered by our reporting constitute violations that are subject to fines. That investigation is now under way.

MisstheJournal2's picture

Duncan Burchett assessed fines

Isn't this something, we the public, should have heard from our local paper Scott and not from a blogger? The two people that are responsible for our local tax money can't handle their own shoe box campaign funds and reports.

Barker's picture

Yes

Yes, absolutely. Kudos to Hornback for reporting it, though his reporting was woefully incomplete (he did not, for example, post what exact violation Duncan committed -- I know, but Hornback's readers don't. Plus, he didn't bother getting comment from Duncan or anybody else). Of course, he was able to post even what he did because of his access to public records. Access to public records, including an email passing through public computer servers (which Tennessee courts have ruled are as much a public record as a memo in a manila folder in a filing cabinet), is a vital part of keeping watch over state and local government.

Calypso's picture

Sentinel not

"is a vital part of keeping watch over state and local government."

But the KNS couldn't be bothered to report it could they? Over 50 Open Records Requests but the big one for Duncan III falls through the cracks.

Bull. The KNS knew. Makes you wonder what they know about the other people like McIntyre, Haslams, and so on that get a free pass.

But Burchett, that is a different matter. Over 30 front page stories on the very same offense. That is how enemies list work. You're on the list, you get the front page. You're on the friends list, no story.

Who watches the Watchers? Hornback and Neal. And the watchers don't like it very much.

Missthejournal2's picture

Duncan Burchett Assesed fines

Scott can you share with us what did Duncan do to warrant that maximum of a fine?

Barker's picture

Duncan

I think I'll wait to see what the news desk will do with the information. In the meantime, you can play journalist and do what I did - I spent about 10 minutes at the Ethics Commission website and figured out what the violation was, why the fine was the maximum and why it was waived. If you REALLY want to play journalist, you could call Drew Rawlins and ask a few pertinent questions and request a key document (yes! by invoking the dreaded Public Records Act. You don't even have to put your request in writing!). It would probably be good to get a comment from Duncan too. Happy hunting.

Mike Cohen's picture

Open records

I believe that if something goes through a county server or a county computer, even if it a Yahoo, G-mail etc., it is still legally a public record.

metulj's picture

Finally. This is absolutely

Finally. This is absolutely the case. If you, for the sake of argument, send a picture of a certain person's children playing the front yard from an "anonymous" email address to a utk.edu email address, that bit of stupidity is now public record. Just saying....

Knoxcentric's picture

like to see the law on that

"I believe that if something goes through a county server or a county computer, even if it a Yahoo, G-mail etc., it is still legally a public record."

Don't think there is a law on the books that says that. Or even an opinion from the State AG. If that were so, any wi-fi use in the City County Building could be subject to an ORA request. I've never seen a sign in the City County Building to that effect.

You have a lot of people in that building using private email accounts that would be very upset if that were the law. Many of them are attorneys and law enforcement officers. During meetings Commissioners, Council members, and School Board members check their personal email. You can imagine what hell would break lose if those private accounts were probed by a news group or citizen.

You make a good case for a complete overhaul of the Tennessee ORA. It needs to be modernized to protect privacy.

Barker's picture

law

The Public Records Act specifically states that electronic files are public record. And there is at least one state court decision that specifically addresses emails. This is at least the third time I've posted this link on this thread:

(link...)

In short, the court ruling (Brennan v. Giles County Board of Education) is that "Any information stored on a computer is as much a public record as written documents in official files."

Barker's picture

Oh

Oh, and if you bother to read the link, you will find that not all electronic records are automatically considered public. The responding agency has a duty to review the records and not release any private messages.

As I've said till I'm blue in the face, it's all about the content. An email sent from a public works employee to a resident addressing a flooding complaint is public. An email sent from the public works employee to his wife saying he will pick up the kids from football practice is not.

Calypso's picture

"Oh, and if you bother to

"Oh, and if you bother to read the link, you will find that not all electronic records are automatically considered public."

Jack McElroy lied about the Tramel email. And so have you. It was the source of the enemies list. Not open records requests. You can deny it until you are blue in the face. The reason people are made is that the KNS has an enemies and friends list. You should all lose your jobs.

Rachel's picture

The reason people are made is

The reason people are made is that the KNS has an enemies and friends list.

Stupid me. I thought people were made cause somebody decided to have sex. :)

Rooster2's picture

Not if someone is a made man.

Not if someone is a made man.

Pam Strickland's picture

I was going to say this was

I was going to say this was the best post of the thread, but then I read Dave's below.

Barker's picture

I'm out

My time is better spent on other, more productive endeavors. Thanks, Randy, it's been fun and I've enjoyed trying to explain what we do and answer questions about journalism, but this has just degenerated. If anyone has any questions about this or other topics, you can email me at barkers@knoxnews.com.

Dave Prince's picture

But how will people too

But how will people too afraid to leave a return address deliberately waste your time and insult your intelligence now?

reform4's picture

+1

bwahahahahah

fischbobber's picture

Enemies List

Do I get to be on the enemies list? I can be quite the fearless, biting smartass when I want to be. I would wear my badge of skullduggery with pride, I swear.

Michael's picture

"Jack McElroy lied about the

"Jack McElroy lied about the Tramel email. And so have you. It was the source of the enemies list. Not open records requests."

Let me get this straight. McElroy enlisted Tramel to compile an enemies list for him?
~m.

South Knox Remembers's picture

memories

I remember back years ago when McElroy invaded someones privacy and put their address in the paper. People here didn't like it much. So laugh it up and have fun. But this man has a history you shouldn't forget.

fischbobber's picture

Privacy

Their address? Really? Do you think he googled it? Live in fear or don't.

South Knox Remembers's picture

McElroy also put a picture of

McElroy also put a picture of his neighborhood in the paper. Really cheap intimidation stuff. It made a lot of people angry. This person was and is a prominent progressive. Had a popular blog at the time. You weren't around to make jokes about it.

R. Neal's picture

I believe the poster was

I believe the poster was referring to this.

kag's picture

While we are on the subject

While we are on the subject of whether the KNS treats specific subjects of its news coverage differently depending on the personal, social or political opinions of those overseeing the newsroom, I'd like to raise the issue of how the Sentinel decides which stories are opened up for online commenting, and which are not.

The ability to allow or disallow aggressive public commenting on specific stories is a very, very powerful bullyclub that the local newspaper now wields in this community. For example, how is it that Commissioner Ownby is treated with compassion and respect by KNS management in its decision to disallow commenting on stories about Mr. Ownby's current difficulties, yet others of us who have been the subject of the newspaper's reporting over the past year or two have not been offered the same compassion? (Let me be clear that I support the KNS's decision to disallow commenting on the Ownby stories; I only wish that all of us facing painful news coverage of sensitive issues in our lives were offered the same respect.)

Here's something I wrote about this topic recently:

(link...)

I don't know about an enemies "list," but it's difficult not to question the objectivity of the newsroom when some subjects and topics of news coverage are intentionally protected from the newspaper's publication of a barrage of hurtful, inaccurate and often pointless anonymous commentary, while others are not afforded that protection.

-Katie

metulj's picture

They are building community!

They are building community!

Rooster2's picture

"objectivity of the

"objectivity of the newsroom"

I don't think it is so much the objectivity of the newsroom in question, as it is the objectivity of the editor, which is even more troubling.

As far as public access goes, state employees have been warned that supervisors can search for their Facebook accounts, even if they never access those accounts from a work computer, which is against workplace rules, at least in some departments.

But they were told sometime ago that their personal Facebook accounts could be reviewed.

Rooster2's picture

Just got an email stating I

Just got an email stating I am on the list.

Not sure why, unless McElroy is deriving a list from the first private email addresses he obtained.

I never received an email from Lee Trammel.

What's McElroy up to trying tyo put a chilling effect on the electronic sharing of ideas?

He crossed the line sometime ago.

metulj's picture

What do you have to hide? ;)

What do you have to hide? ;)

Bbeanster's picture

Most anybody would be shocked

Most anybody would be shocked to get such a notification, and would naturally wonder why.

metulj's picture

Yeah. I would be pissed ....

Yeah. I would be pissed .... for about 2 seconds, then I would go back to not giving a shit what that ridiculous excuse for a newspaper was up to viz that email list.

Rooster2's picture

Well for one thing, I did not

Well for one thing, I did not receive, nor have I EVER received an email from Lee Trammel.

I have received and sent private emails to some of the private emails contained in the first list.

Barker claimed: "Some time ago, we submitted a public records request to the county. The county released the records. Tramel's email was among those records. We then submitted another records request seeking emails on the county servers ASSOCIATED (emphasis mine) with email addresses contained in Tramel's email."

So somehow, my private email came up because it is "associated" with other private emails?

I've sent emails about the school budget to county commissioners county email addresses knowing those were public record . Is that what they're after?

Or did they get my private email from someone else's private email?

metulj's picture

OK. Here's where you might

OK. Here's where you might want to understand that if the private email address you sent to was a public official using that private email to conduct public affairs outside of scrutiny, then I figure some good lawyer would be able to make the case that you had no expectation of privacy. If it were just "Let's grab a beer" or "How's your wife?," then I can see your beef. But it's tenuous ground to stand on if it were the former.

Rooster2's picture

I understand that but "not

I understand that but "not created or received "in connection with the official business" of the City or "in connection with the transaction of official business" by the City"

(link...)

is not as clear as people want to think it is.

Is giving your opinion as to how something should be done, and your representative listening "official business," or "a transaction?"

Is it on the campaign trail?

metulj's picture

Is giving your opinion as to

Is giving your opinion as to how something should be done, and your representative listening "official business," or "a transaction?"

I am going to say "Yes." It's the business of a municipal official to listen to a citizen's complaint. That being said, I don't thing you are going to see anybody "outing" you for saying "I disagree with the current budget and here's why." Citizen complaints are not special in that regard. It would be special if the person you were complaining to via email were to say "Well you are an idiot and I am going make you pay dearly for questioning my judgement." or "Hey, don't worry I am going to take care of you on the contracts in the next budget." (NOT THAT THIS WAS EVER SAID).

Rooster2's picture

No it wasn't, but at what

No it wasn't, but at what point does it become a "guilt by association style witch hunt?"

I'm afraid McElroy's in a spiral.

He may be getting to the point where he believes a threat to release information is his only way out.

I mean we've got a Trustee's office about to implode, an ex-judge where we still haven't probably heard the full story and all his dealings and connections, and then we have the KNS, which is at least being perceived that the editor is putting together an enemies list at the instigation of a soon-to-be ex-wife, add that to the editor's support of a political Establishment that suffered a severe loss of face over the school budget, and I think it's a pot ready to boil over.

I still haven't figured out, if Barker is to be believed, why I wasn't on Trammel's list but somehow my email list came up.

Is it a new list?

Barker stated on here the list came from Trammel, but not receiving the email, never receiving an email from him, it's clear McElroy has another source.

And I think we know who that is likely to be.

Calypso's picture

"Well for one thing, I did

"Well for one thing, I did not receive, nor have I EVER received an email from Lee Trammel.

I have received and sent private emails to some of the private emails contained in the first list."

More holes in the McElroy coverup story. Why don't you call the Scripps Ethics Program Director at 513-977-3899 and let them know? Ask them why they allow this kind of ethics?

Rooster2's picture

I think I will use my time

I think I will use my time more productively: I'll tell my cat.

Calypso's picture

"I think I will use my time

"I think I will use my time more productively: I'll tell my cat."

If no one complains to Scripps how do they know it is happening? Enemies lists are not tolerated at major papers. Apparently Patrick Birmingham the publisher doesn't care. They will care in Cincinnati.

Rooster2's picture

I've complained before about

I've complained before about something. Nothing happened.

Scripps doesn't care. If yellow journalism sells, all they care about is the selling part.

There's hardly any journalistic ehtics in this town, if any.

Sunday evening, Sean Dreher announces he's taking a PR position in Knox County schools.

Monday he's doing a story on the "Reward" schools in Knox County.

No conflict of interest there I guess, or a perception of a conflict of interest.

metulj's picture

Consider this

Rooster2's picture

If that's in reference to

If that's in reference to Trammel's purported email, I never got it. Either directly or indirectly.

In fact, I've never gotten an email from Trammel. Oh I've gotten some from school board members and county commissioners and city council members thanking me for my input when I emailed my thoughts on some issue.

But, if I have a problem with the government I email my elected representatives knowing full well those are public record.

What I find odd about this is that I wasn't on the first list. I may have been on someone else's private email contact list, on that list. Or someone has given my name to McElroy and he gave it to the county to see if there was a record of my email ( I guess they can do that.)

Whatever. If KNS is investigating something that they think may involve me, they should man up and give me a call.

Otherwise it looks like they're just on a fishing expedition, and that so far they have failed to catch anything.

Rachel's picture

Whatever. If KNS is

Whatever. If KNS is investigating something that they think may involve me, they should man up and give me a call.

If I were on that list, I would probably "woman up" and give THEM a call to ask wassup.

Rooster2's picture

I've read on another blog

I've read on another blog that it's a waste of time.

If Strickland says they're fishing they couldn't tell me anyway, even if they wanted to.

Why would I call the editor? I'm not the one involved in questionable activities.

The use of the Open Records Act is one thing. But if the editor believes it gives him carte blanche or an open warrant to print whatever he wants to, he had better do some fact checking before he thinks he has a story.

Pam Strickland's picture

Can you not read. I did *not*

Can you not read. I did *not* say they were fishing. I said that they were allowed to fish. There's no law against it. A reporter or editor is curious about something so they ask questions, they make an FOI request. Most people would call it doing research. You would probably call it fishing. Whatever. They are looking for answers to curiosities. Let 'em. That's how news, real news, is made.

And for the record, I haven't a clue as to what they are doing. I'm a freelancer who does not work in the office. I have only sporadic contact with the news people, if that. I might exchange a one or two word email with McElroy every four or five months, usually when I've forwarded him an email of particular interest from a reader. My only regular contact with anybody at the paper is Scott Barker, who is my editor. We usually talk about deadlines and such, not news operations.

Pam Strickland's picture

Newspapers are allowed to

Newspapers are allowed to fish. Sometimes they get results. What they are doing is the public's business. And as long as you were communicating with a public official, whether it was via an official email account or not, I figure you might as well figure that communication is subject to some public scrutiny. Those folks are afterall, going about the public's business, so they should be doing it publicly. Yet some if them have proven that they'd rather work in the shadows. They make it harder on everybody, including the citizen. And all this feather ruffling makes me believe that somebody has something to hide.

Rooster2's picture

Strickland your ignorance of

Strickland your ignorance of what constitutes "official business" is startling.

Reporters don't have a right to open private citizens' mail no matter what they may think.

"In this case, however, "private" or "personal" e-mail simply falls outside the current definition of public records. Such e-mail is not "made or received pursuant to law or ordinance." Likewise, such e-mail by definition is not created or received "in connection with the official business" of the City or "in connection with the transaction of official business" by the City...."

(link...)

McElroy better make sure he has a clear understanding of what constitutes official business, and he better make doubly sure what constitutes an invasion to the right of privacy and publicizing in a false light.

Seems like those conducting witch hunts always have a way of "publicizing in a false light." In fact, it's their MO.

"Those folks are afterall, going about the public's business, so they should be doing it publicly. Yet some if them have proven that they'd rather work in the shadows."

Who has proven "they'd rather work in the shadows?"

And what proof do you have?

You do know there are laws about printing false statements. It's called libel.

fischbobber's picture

Rulings

While the Supreme court rulings on internet usage haven't even been decided, my guess is they will appear to be much more similar to driving laws as oppose to the rights you have about people going through your mail. Whether you like it or not, the internet is a public thoroughfare and to demand you right to privacy through such a venue seems somewhat contradictory. Once you put it out there, it's there for all to see.

Rooster2's picture

Really? On emails? Ever

Really? On emails?

Ever consulted with a doctor through emails? Has anyone in your family?

Share them with us, after all, the Internet is one big public thoroughfare, and we can all see what kind of car you drive on the highway.

Yes, that's how ridiculous that statement sounds.

fischbobber's picture

E-mails

I don't use e-mail or the internet for things I don't want people to have access to. Medical issues, banking, etc. The reason is that, like an interstate, the internet is a public thoroughfare.

There is risk involved in distributing information over that thoroughfare.

That is why we have the post office.

Rooster2's picture

YOU may not use the Internet

YOU may not use the Internet for medical records or communication, but the ACA authorized the use of a patient's lifetime medical history being put online, and I know a fair number of people who have relied on emails rather than playing phone tag or trying to get an appointment that may not be availble for weeks, or may not be needed at all.

While the availability of the openness of someone's emails received or sent at a work station system is not in question, the lack of laws regarding the technology should not be seen as a greenlight for those in the business of collecting information to do as they please, whether they think they have a First Amendment right to or not.

reform4's picture

The Supreme Court says we have no rights

unless you incorporate yourself in the Caymans.

Pam Strickland's picture

I've been called worse by KNS

I've been called worse by KNS posters, I think I'll survive your assessment of my knowledge.

I once successfully sued the McMinn County School Board for violating the Open Meetings Law, and and while in Arkansas I was on the statewide taske force that worked on defending the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

During my time in law school (one year, University of Arkansas at Little Rock), as luck would have it for mock trial my partner and I drew an FOIA case. We won. I left law school because Vince Goster's death made me realize that I was there for all the wrong reasons, but that's for another discussion.

Do you still want to call me ignorant?

Rooster2's picture

Of what constitutes "official

Of what constitutes "official business?"

Yep.

The request for a list can be seen in two ways: as a legtimate request for needed information as the basis for a story, OR to send a chilling effect through the politically active in our community who are not considered, and do not wish to be, part of the Establishment connected with the Haslams, the Chamber, and other powers-that-be within the community.

I realize that KNS is now obsessed with finding something about BUrchett, and that even in defense of your own filed complaint, you admitted that it was filed in a quest for trying to find more information, not necessarily that you had evidence of any wrongdoing.

While the KNS's own branch publication, the Shopper News, reported that teachers were afraid to speak out about the budget because they would be retaliated against by McIntyre, and he supposedly had informants taking names at budget meetings, the KNS finds this not worthy of an investigation.

The KNS has taken upon itself to choose sides in political battles, not with its often ignored editoralizing, but more frequently, with its "objective" news reporting.

The real question is is how much more can the KNS discredit itself?

Pam Strickland's picture

I'm not discussing the

I'm not discussing the complaint here or in any other online forum where people are hiding behind screen names. That's my official stand. Anybody who wants to discuss the complaint can do it face-to-face once they've identified themselves. Or I will do legitimate media interviews. I've also been invited to talk to a civic group.

rikki's picture

wake up, dumbasses

Y'uns can keep chasing Rooster down rabbit holes, or you can stay in contact with reality by recalling what KNS actually requested: "To expedite this request and to avoid the time and expense of reviewing every email, this superseding request is only for the following information from the "header field" of each email: "From:," "To:," "Sent:," "Cc:," "Subject:" and the names of any attached files. We are NOT requesting the bodies of the emails or the contents of any attached files."

Allow me to repeat that last line for morons: "We are NOT requesting the bodies of the emails or the contents of any attached files."

Rooster2's picture

rikki- Here's the problem I

rikki-

Here's the problem I have with the issue.

Barker has swore up and down that the emails on the list came from Trammel's list.

"The truth isn't quite so nefarious. The News Sentinel obtained the list from the county when it responded to an earlier public records request. Tramel had used the list to distribute some political material from his personal email address. On the list was at least one county government address. So the information entered the county's computers, and it popped back out in response to our unrelated query.

The bottom line was that Tramel sent the list to the county, making it a public record, and Hornback, mistaking it for one I'd created, released it to the general public."

That's horseshit.

I wasn't on the original list. I didn't receive Trammel's email with the video in it directly from Trammel or indirectly from ANYONE on the original list. Except for receiving emails from 3 county commissioners, and probably as many school board members, I haven't received any emails from "the county system," except for notices from the public library.

So either they mined emails from the contact lists on the private emails they first had, or someone has supplied them with a list of names, and they went looking for their emails.

For Barker to claim "uh, we just ask for records, and it's up to the law office what we get," are we just supposed to believe that the Sentinel makes a weekly run to the law office asking for the latest records?

That's beyond credulity.

And do you think that simple record of who emailed whom and when would provide enough basis for a story without looking at the emails.

"Well, lets see Rooster emailed rikki on September 10, 2001, so they must have been coordinating 9/11."

Really? That would be their story? Of course they would have to look at the emails or any story would be based on just the transaction of emails. And how credible would that story be?

metulj's picture

If you use email to

If you use email to communicate anything private and confidential other than through a hardened and certified secure email service like PatientAlly or the like for other industries, you might as well shout "I have the piles" on Market Square.

Rachel's picture

I dunno. Seems we've

I dunno. Seems we've discussed this issue to death and now this thread has turned into the complaint litany of one person.

No longer interesting - to me at least. The complaint is obviously of concern to the complainant, and hearing about it once was useful, but I really don't need to read it again.

PM me if something worth reading pops up.

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