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City Councilwoman Donna Frye e-mailed to pass along this reference from the City Charter, which she said may be helpful in our efforts to get Darren Pudgil, the mayor’s spokesman, to release 692 e-mails the city is keeping secret.

The charter says:

The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.

(Except, apparently, when the city decides it wants to keep them secret.)

Darren Pudgil. When you read this post, call me — 619.325.0529. You’ve got my cell, too. You’re not returning my messages.

Which is why Pudgil Watch continues. I’ve been waiting this week to hear back from Pudgil, Mayor Jerry Sanders’ spokesman, about why the city thinks the public is best served by keeping those 692 e-mails secret.

I requested e-mails sent about the water-cuts plan that Sanders proposed earlier this year. I wanted to know what factored into the misrepresentations that Alex Ruiz, assistant director of the city’s Water Department, made about the challenges of picking other strategies.

The city says the e-mails are drafts and part of the deliberative process. Their argument is that releasing them would keep city employees from candidly discussing policy and therefore harm the public.

My argument is that e-mails are not drafts — the city has an e-mail retention policy — and that seasoned city employees know their e-mails are public records. (The city turned over 736 e-mails to me for that very reason.)

ROB DAVIS

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