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The West Linn City Council candidate could have seen my notebooks a long time ago

The Tidings gave Rory Bialostosky over 750 words of space to explain his litigious actions and promote his campaign when other candidates and political supporters are only allowed 200 words during election season. Also, Bialostosky's claim that "his public records requests went unanswered" has been reported multiple times by the Tidings as if it might be true. I would like to balance Bialostosky's opinions with some facts. West Linn City Council voted Oct.1, 2019, to release the Nov.6, 2019 Legal Memorandum RE: Bialostosky Negotiation, in order to verify that the City had answered Rory's public record request and appealed to negotiate with Bialostosky many times, to no avail.

On February 26, 2019, Rory Bialostosky and David Baker sent a public records request to me; Councilor Cummings, at West Linn City Hall for: "A true original of all notebooks used and/or written in during the course of your work as a /city Councilor at City Hall in a room free from obstruction or interference." The City Recorder promptly informed them that the City is not in possession of the notebooks. West Linn does not have a policy to collect and/or retain any personal notes or notebooks from City officials or staff members.

Oregon State Law does not require Cities to collect or archive the personal notes of a member of a public body such as a City Councilor, board or staff member if the notes were made solely to aid the member's memory and were not being prepared, used or retained by a public body.

However, I offered to produce the notebook from my nine years on Council from 2005 to 2019 because West Linn's City Council Rules in 2019 said "notes" were public records in 2019. But I was instructed not to do so until Bialoastosky and Baker officially agreed to modify their request to accept legal redactions and pay the public record fee. They never did.

The Nov 6, 2019 Legal Memorandum, chronicles Bialostosky's consistent refusal to accept redactions in favor of going to court. He states; "I am seeking these records in their full form so that myself and others can inspect them" and reportedly said that because he had put in a lot of work and money into the case, he would rather see it play out in open court "once the right for me and others to inspect the records as a whole is determined judicially."

July 23, 2019, Clackamas Circuit Court Judge Briethaupt ruled that "defendant (Cummings) is not a "public body" and her writings in the notebooks in question are not subject to inspection under ORS Chapter 192." Tidings reporter Holly Bartholomew promptly petitioned Clackamas County DA John Foote for West Linn City Council's April 1, 2019 executive session audiotape, alleging that a final decision was made to use public funds to respond to a case against an individual Councilor. On August 28, 2019, a CCDA Foote formally denied all of Ms. Bartholomew's accusations. On Sept. 9, 2019, Rory Bialostosky and former City Councilor Brenda Perry filed a complaint against me, Councilor Cummings, to Oregon Government Ethics Commission, listing the same allegations CCDA Foote just dismissed. And Mr. Bialostosky also filed to appeal Judge Briethaupt's decision to Oregon State Court of Appeals. OGEC dismissed the entire ethics complaint, Sept 13, 2020 but Rory's appeal is still pending.

It would be difficult to estimate the taxpayer's burden for all staff time, City Council meeting time and legal fees spent on responding to Rory Bialostosky's legal pursuits thus far, ever since the first litigious letter he sent to the City in hopes of turning the residential streets near West Linn High School into an overflow parking lot. To me it seemed only fair that WLWV district should have provided sufficient parking to fit the needs of the students when it expanded the High School.

Rory's next day in court will be at the Oregon Court of Appeals Nov. 10, 2020. The City has a vested interest in defending this case because if Bialostosky's theories become precedent, it will require substantial changes to be made Oregon State Archive rules and will have a major effect on West Linn's budget and administration and every other City and County in Oregon.


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