As per the recent articles in newspapers across southwest Florida, the State Attorney has launched an investigation into the City's practices. Beyond looking into potential "Sunshine Law" violations, the investigation will rightly delve into other areas.
What in part precipitated the State Attorney to launch the investigation was a cache of the City of Marco Island's emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act implementation - known as Article 119. The emails are from the 2005 and 2006 periods.
Any citizen for whatever reason has an expressed constitutional right to know how their government works. This way, as evidenced in municipalities where open government is the norm, those citizens that are desirous of participating in a democratic republic can evaluate the facts and make their own determinations and decisions. In these municipalities, citizen oversight is welcomed and encouraged.
There is an even more important reason to review these emails. Citizens suspect of being the target of perceived and alleged abuses by the present City government should be entitled to review the emails so as to at least attempt to confirm or assuage their suspicions.
To these ends, and with the strongest belief that a government that is not of the people and by the people can not stand, the emails are herewith made available to all. The emails are provided using a process to facilitate searching, since without such a tool it is not feasible or practical to perform logical searches of approximately 9,000 emails comprised of over 528,000 lines and of over 2,541,000 words.
The link to the database of emails is on this blog - SEARCH CITY EMAILS! button on the top of the blog.
To use this database an access code is needed. Access codes are provided to anyone that requests one. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words REQUEST CODE in the subject heading. For a limited time, the access code of GUEST can be used without having to request one.
Why use of an access code? Because this database has been made available to the authorities and to other interested parties, and we therefore must prevent abuses. Your email address is of no interest to anyone associated with this endeavor.
Please note that the emails are not complete. Notwithstanding the absurd non sequitur "national security" and "homeland security" pretexts for not providing all of the emails, the City clearly sanitized the emails it did provide. (As an aside, one has to seriously question the logic by which those purportedly in charge of our national security are sending national security information over email.) Regardless, and as but one example, you will find emails with bodies but no headers - namely there is text but the TO: and the FROM: and the SUBJECT: etc. are missing. The most glaring omission is that of the near 9,000 emails, not one was provided with the attachment when such an attachment was part of the original email. The ruse that the 119 request did not specify the attachments is insulting. Lastly, the convoluted format of some of the emails is not a byproduct of the search engine - that is how they were provided.
Fortunately we still live in a democratic society of the people. Hence, this is your opportunity to exercise that right, that privilege, from the comfort of your computer.