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When I wrote this story in January, I called Steve Francis’ campaign to see if he’d release his monthly water bills. I was examining the water consumption habits of city officials and wanted to see how much Francis used at his 12,000-square-foot Fairbanks Ranch home, which has a swimming pool and sits on a grassy 2.1-acre lot.
While elected officials’ bills are public documents, Francis has a right to keep his bills confidential. Francis’ campaign manager, Charles Gallagher, promised to release them anyway.
Here’s Gallagher in late January:
We are going to release them. We haven’t decided when we’re going to do it. If we’re out talking transparency, we’re going to live it.
I talked to Francis in early February to see whether he’d fulfill that promise. He said he would, but noted that he didn’t like the idea I was playing “gotcha” with a private resident. Here’s what he said:
I haven’t taken a look at that yet. I think that it’s important to show that at some point, but I don’t have it in front of me right now. When I do, you’ll be the first one I call.
Which brings me to my conversation with him yesterday. I asked when he would release the bills. Francis said he would not release them after all. He continued:
I’m not going to get into releasing my cable bills, my water bills. Those are private issues, private matters. I’m not the mayor. Why delve into people’s private lives like this? I think it’s important to keep some things private. I think that’s a diversionary tactic to not talk about the big issues.