Dear Billy T and Somerville Speakup Line,
Here is a letter that I addressed to Somerville City Council Chairman Ballantyne:
Good Afternoon Chairman Ballantyne and other City Councilors (cc Somerville Matters and Somerville News Weekly),
Councilor Ballantyne, I have attached two redacted emails relating to the Demo Review Ordinance (Subject heading “worth reading regarding demo delay ordinances”)…and I would like to read them.
I made a public records request, and the attached documents were redacted. I pushed the point to find out who the emails were from and to, and they finally (after exhaustive efforts) gave me this information showing it was between the City Solicitor and the Planning Staff. They redacted it under “attorney client privilege” rights.
I wonder if you (as City Councilors) are allowed to see these documents, or if you are not considered clients of the City? Interestingly, in the past 6 months, the City Council has been questioning if they should have their own attorney (separate from the Executive branch)…..and this dilemma may help to answer that question.
Please obtain these documents and release them to us, your constituents….since the are clearly “worth reading regarding demo delay ordinances.”
The attached document is likely containing important facts related to the legal limitations of a Demo Review Ordinance, and this information is probably not being shared with the City Council, because it is being kept inside the executive branch of the City government.
The City should not be knowingly hiding it’s knowledge of facts by asserting “attorney client privilege.” That is simply corrupt. They need to represent the people, the true “client” of government.
Alderman Ballantyne, we all would appreciate a timely and transparentresponse.
Mouhab Z. Rizkallah