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Somerville Solicitor invokes “attorney-client privilege” to conceal PR strategy

Posted by a 5:29 pm on March 1, 2014

Redacted portions of at least one Somerville Official’s City Hall email that is in regional news lately (DigBoston and Somerville Journal) is revealed here. The City Solicitor insists that this text, outlining a PR strategy, is protected under “attorney-client privilege.”


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Posted in Civic Action, Civil and Human Rights, Public Records / FOIA Requests | No Comments »

Union Square Transportation Data- Do Performance Measures Include Accessibility, Economic factors?

Posted by a 2:19 pm on August 12, 2013

What kinds of performance measures were examined prior to the recent announcement about Union Square’s upcoming transportation improvements?


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Posted in Accessibility, Civil and Human Rights, Comprehensive Plan, Development and Zoning, Economy & Poverty, Pedestrians, Public Health & Safety, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Seniors, Transportation, Transportation Projects, Union Square | No Comments »

Information request to Somerville Housing Authority

Posted by a 8:35 pm on December 10, 2012

The Community Access Project has submitted a public information request to the Somerville Housing Authority (SHA) to gain Access For All to its 2012 Annual Plan (which is currently online in inaccessible format); and, to gain a listing of the SHA program’s accessible project-based voucher sites and units.


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Posted in Announcements, Civil and Human Rights, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special | No Comments »

How did SOS determine principal arguments for each of the three MA Ballot Initiatives FY12?

Posted by a 5:00 pm on August 14, 2012

Prior to and on statewide Elections Day, the MA Secretary of State’s Office publishes arguments for and against every ballot measure that is placed before the voters of the Commonwealth.  In 2012, Massachusetts voters will…


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Posted in Politics, Public Health & Safety, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special | No Comments »

Current MaxPac Covenant Request via MuckRock.com

Posted by a 2:51 pm on January 14, 2012

A MuckRock.com public information request for a complete and current copy of the amended MaxPac covenant between Developers and City of Somerville is submitted, effective January 17, 2012.


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special | 1 Comment »

Somerville, MA: Millions Wasted on Deficient Walkability Improvements

Posted by a 4:31 pm on November 2, 2011

Over 80% of Somerville’s new sidewalks and curb cuts, installed since 2004, are hazardous for people with various types of disabilities (one-in-five). These infrastructure improvements don’t even adhere to basic, standard building code. See a listing of the first 50 locations that the City of Somerville promises to re-do, equalling about $500K wasted the first time around- for starters.


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Posted in Accessibility, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Environment and Open Space, Government Reform, Pedestrians, Public Health & Safety, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Schools and Youth, Seniors | 8 Comments »

FOI Request: Somerville’s Inclusionary Housing Units, 1991- present

Posted by a 8:51 pm on October 24, 2011

October, 2011:  The Somerville Community Corporation is organizing strategy sessions to get more affordable housing in Somerville by “strengthening our city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance.”

The Community Access Project has placed a FOI request to the…


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Posted in Accessibility, Civic Action, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Economy & Poverty, Housing, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special | 2 Comments »

FOIA to OSPCD: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing?

Posted by a 6:34 pm on September 16, 2011

Disabled residents of Somerville experience disproportionate poverty, substandard housing conditions, and face pervasive exclusion, even in the city’s inclusionary and affordable housing opportunity programs. Today, a FOIA request was lodged to learn how four influential nonprofits guide the City to step up to its obligations to affirmatively further Fair Housing for economically disadvantaged residents.


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Posted in Accessibility, Civic Action, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Government Reform, Housing, Public Records / FOIA Requests | 2 Comments »

Arts at the Armory Still Inaccessible To Thousands

Posted by a 6:49 pm on September 15, 2011

Although the City of Somerville is well aware that the Armory facility is still inaccessible at the entrance ramp, the Mayor continues to hold important events and meetings here. At the same time, the Architect and Owner continue to claim that various City Departments are refusing to accept an accessible design. Who’s benefitting from this back-and-forth?


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Posted in Accessibility, Announcements, Civic Action, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Housing, Neighborhoods and Squares, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Ward 5 | 1 Comment »

Curtatone Administration Not as Transparent and Open as Promised

Posted by a 1:26 am on July 28, 2011

As the following examples indicate, the Curtatone administration routinely ignores, delays, or over-charges for data sought under the state’s public records law, in contrast to what the Mayor calls an “open, transparent and efficient government”.…


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Posted in 311 Requests, Government Reform, Investigative Reports, Public Records / FOIA Requests | 5 Comments »

FOIA: Affordable Housing Waiting Lists for Somerville, MA

Posted by a 12:48 pm on July 24, 2011

Rising rents, increased privately-funded housing development, excessive rental burdens, and physically inadequate subsidized housing stock are contributing to Somerville’s transformation into an less diverse, more expensive place to live.


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Posted in Accessibility, Civic Action, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Housing, Public Records / FOIA Requests | No Comments »

Trends in Parking Ticket Appeals: Uncovered

Posted by a 12:26 am on May 19, 2011

When Watertown, MA resident Mark Pickering received a parking citation during a visit to a friend in nearby Somerville, he figured a simple letter to the Office of the Parking Clerk would result in a scheduled hearing or a ticket dismissal. Instead, he received an anonymous note of rejection with an extra $5 fine. [See Mark's letter in the SJ : Parking ticket appeal system needs work]…


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Posted in City Finances, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Somerville By The Numbers, Traffic & Parking | 14 Comments »

FOIA Request- ADA ramps constructed in 2009

Posted by a 2:55 pm on May 17, 2011

A FOIA request was placed via Muckrock on April 7, 2011 for all documents related to new construction of 12 ADA ramps at 4 municipal locations.

On May 16, 2011, the City of…


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Posted in Accessibility, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special | No Comments »

The Battle for Summer Street

Posted by a 11:05 am on April 12, 2011

A pair of developers with a history of unfulfilled promises, bankruptcy and faulty construction have found a willing partner in the City of Somerville, which will soon enter the final phase of ushering their most embattled plans into reality.

 …


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Posted in Davis Square, Development and Zoning, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Ward 6 | No Comments »

Parking Ticket Appeals Story Update

Posted by a 11:24 pm on April 9, 2011

Following the last update on this story in late February, T&P Director Matt Dias offered and provided the requested data including a column indicating whether each ticket appeal was made online or not. Even better, the cost was $30 less than his original quote.…


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Posted in Announcements, City Finances, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Traffic & Parking | No Comments »

Curtatone’s 2009 Campaign Finance Reports

Posted by a 10:17 pm on January 10, 2011

After obtaining copies of the most recent campaign finance reports for Somerville’s mayor and Board of Aldermen, Post Somerville has begun analyzing the data by putting it into spreadsheets.


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests | No Comments »

Help Uncover Trends in Parking Ticket Appeals

Posted by a 7:41 pm on January 1, 2011

When Watertown, MA resident Mark Pickering received a parking citation during a visit to a friend in nearby Somerville, he figured a simple letter to the Office of the Parking Clerk would result in a scheduled hearing or a ticket dismissal. Instead, he received an anonymous note of rejection with an extra $5 fine.


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Posted in Government Reform, Investigative Reports, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Traffic & Parking | 3 Comments »

A Tale of Two Public Records Requests

Posted by a 5:42 pm on December 5, 2010

This is the true story of how the City of Somerville stonewalled my request for public records and then went out of its way to satisfy a very similar request by BU’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR).…


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Posted in City Finances, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Traffic & Parking | 5 Comments »

Help discover the relationship between ICE and Somerville police

Posted by a 12:50 pm on November 21, 2010

Mayor Curtatone says the SPD won’t “assume the role of federal authorities in terms of immigration enforcement”, but this would mark a departure from how local police have been operating.


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Posted in Immigration, Investigative Reports, Public Health & Safety, Public Records / FOIA Requests | 3 Comments »

Campaign finance reports available online

Posted by a 6:49 pm on November 12, 2010

We at Post Somerville are excited to announce that, through a Freedom of Information Act request facilitated by MuckRock, the most recent campaign finance reports for the mayor of Somerville and members of the Board of Aldermen are now available online.


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Posted in Media, Politics, Public Records / FOIA Requests | 2 Comments »

Public Information request re: West Library Accessibility Study

Posted by a 6:01 pm on November 10, 2010

On October 5th, I submitted the following request to the Director of Somerville Historic Commission:

October 5, 2010

To: Brandon Wilson, Executive Director, Somerville Historic Preservation


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Posted in Accessibility, Civil and Human Rights, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special | No Comments »

Help liberate Somerville’s mandatory financial disclosures

Posted by a 12:14 pm on October 28, 2010

By law, public officials in Massachusetts have to disclose a lot of information regarding where they receive their campaign funding from, and what they spend it on. These reports paint a vivid picture of who scratches whose back, and can help map political connections and motivations. Unfortunately, many of these reports are relatively inaccessible to the general public.


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Posted in Politics, Public Records / FOIA Requests | 2 Comments »

Public Information Request: Municipal Master Facilities Plan

Posted by a 2:27 am on October 20, 2010

Submitted a Public Information request regarding the City’s Municipal Needs Analysis and the Municipal Master facilities Plan again this month (This is the 3rd request since August, 2009.).  Per M. Tintocalis, Principal Planner, Economic Development…


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Posted in Accessibility, Civic Action, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

FW Russell Trash Contract Reveals Options for Aldermen

Posted by a 12:27 am on April 7, 2010

Through a public records request, I recently obtained scanned copies of the City’s trash contracts with the FW Russell company. The fine print challenges the claim made at the March 2nd BOA Legislative Matters Committee meeting by former City Solicitor, John Gannon, that only the Mayor has the power to break a contract.…


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Posted in Investigative Reports, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Workers' Rights | 9 Comments »

Public Records Request for FW Russell Contracts

Posted by a 11:57 pm on March 24, 2010

Residents have a right to know whether the FW Russell Company voided its contract with the City when it was found to have intentionally violated state wage and hours laws by AG Coakley’s office.


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests | 2 Comments »

Public Records Request : 311 Service Requests

Posted by a 10:07 am on August 26, 2009

to Jaclyn Rossetti <JRossetti(at)somervillema.gov>
cc Thomas Champion <TChampion(at)somervillema.gov>,
John Gannon <JGannon(at)somervillema.gov>
date Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 9:16 AM
subject Public Records Request : 311 Service Requests

Dear Public Information Officer Jackie Rossetti, (cc…


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Posted in 311 Requests, Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special | No Comments »

Public Records Request : Parking Meter Revenues

Posted by a 9:56 am on

In preparation for the parking tickets story, I have submitted the following request for public records to the City:

—————–

to Jaclyn Rossetti <JRossetti(at)somervillema.gov>
cc Thomas Champion <TChampion(at)somervillema.gov>
date Tue, Aug…


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special, Traffic & Parking | No Comments »

Public Records Request : Parking Officer Data

Posted by a 9:54 am on

In preparation for the parking tickets story, I have submitted the following request for public records to the City:

—————–

to Jaclyn Rossetti <JRossetti(at)somervillema.gov>
cc Thomas Champion <TChampion(at)somervillema.gov>
date Tue, Aug…


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special, Traffic & Parking | No Comments »

Public Records Request : Car Towing Information

Posted by a 9:51 am on

In preparation for the parking tickets story, I have submitted the following request for public records to the City:

——————

to Jaclyn Rossetti <JRossetti(at)somervillema.gov>
cc Thomas Champion <TChampion(at)somervillema.gov>
date Tue, Aug…


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special, Traffic & Parking | 7 Comments »

Public Records Request : Parking Ticket Appeals

Posted by a 9:47 am on

In preparation for the parking tickets story, I have submitted the following request for public records to the City:

——————

to Jaclyn Rossetti <JRossetti(at)somervillema.gov>
cc Thomas Champion <TChampion(at)somervillema.gov>
date Tue, Aug…


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special, Traffic & Parking | No Comments »

Public Records Request : Parking Ticket Data

Posted by a 9:43 am on

In preparation for the parking tickets story, I have submitted the following request for public records to the city:

——————

to Jaclyn Rossetti <JRossetti(at)somervillema.gov>
cc Thomas Champion <TChampion(at)somervillema.gov>
date Tue, Aug…


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests, Special, Traffic & Parking | 8 Comments »

Public Information Response from ADA Coordinator Raises Red Flag

Posted by a 3:23 pm on August 17, 2009

Thanks to SomervilleVoices for providing this venue to post our Public Information Requests -and to share the responses (or lack therof) that we receive.

Here’s one example of a PIR response that raises red…


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Posted in Accessibility, Civic Action, Civil and Human Rights, Government Reform, Investigative Reports, Public Health & Safety, Public Records / FOIA Requests | 12 Comments »

ResiStat Request for 311 Information

Posted by a 9:17 am on

I just submitted the following query through ResiStat’s public Q/A tool called SomerBlog:
What types of information are stored with each 311 request? (e.g. request, date + time of request / resolution, service…


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Posted in 311 Requests, Public Records / FOIA Requests | No Comments »

Freedom of Information (furthering investigative journalism)

Posted by a 8:31 am on June 12, 2009

These are my notes from the great Freedom of Information conference, held at the Boston Globe, 5/1/09 (Bill Shelton was there and had taken part in the planning of it as a member of the sponsoring New England First Amendment Coalition) As an aside, I will say I’ve already used www.pipl.com a bunch of times since the conference and the information that comes up is frequently quite interesting!…


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Posted in Public Records / FOIA Requests | 1 Comment »