"President Hall claimed members of Mayor Ashton Hayward’s staff had pressured him—or “threatened” him—warning that he risked a bad portrayal in the press.
“We’d be the whipping boy over this issue and we’d be painted in the worst possible light,” Hall said he was told. “And I did not appreciate that.”
The threats appear to in fact be real and come not only from Staff but from a local journalist. I obtained the following text message via a public information request. It is a text message from Rick Outzen, Publisher of the Independent Weekly, to Councilman Larry B. Johnson.
Due to Mr. Johnson's opposition to the DIB forgiveness, the following appeared in print:
I hope this text message shows the "Independent" Weekly to be what it is, a "marketing solution" and enforcement tool of John Asmar, Chief of Staff.
Additionally, as I previously posted, Mr. Outzen believes that texts messages to or from him and City staff ARE NOT public documents. However, in the below public records request he clearly thinks that text messages between City officials and others ARE public documents. Why is there a difference to him?
From: Richard Outzen [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 1:06 PM
To: Ericka Burnett
Subject: Public Information Request
It has been brought to our attention that Councilman Larry Johnson saves his text messages--thereby making them a public record. We are requesting all of his text messages to and from his cell phone (850-449-1098) from April 9, 2012 through April 27, 2012 regarding the Downtown Improvement Board and its staff, Pen Air Federal Credit Union and its staff, Thiesen Building and its owners, and Mayor Ashton Hayward, his office and any city staff. If there are any questions regarding this request, please contact me. I realize that the legal department may review this request, I am happy to discuss this request with them, too.
Richard OutzenPublisher, Independent News