A Question of Public Safety or Public Access - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/22/02

A Question of Public Safety or Public Access

Communications Director Tony Privett helps the City of Lubbock pass new city laws at the state level. A group of different city representatives make up the Texas Municipal League and help push the state to pass new laws. One of the new laws that has already been approved by the T.M.L. is to block public access to information dealing with homeland security.

The Freedom of Information Act protects the public's right to know what is going on with federal, state, and local governments. It is the law. But since September 11th and more recently, the D.C. Sniper, Councilman Frank Morrison says the city needs to limit public information in Lubbock.

"Other communities across the state are as concerned as I am about protecting security issues that relate to matters which could be used in a terrorist threat against citizens," said Councilman Morrison.

However, Councilman Victor Hernandez says it is not an issue of the public's right to know. He says council should have reviewed the new law before Privett and Councilman Morrison presented it to the T.M.L. "The way I understood, Privett presented this as a city council, City of Lubbock position and that is incorrect. Privett should have brought it back to the council, explained it, had use deliberate, vote on it, if in fact he knew this was going to be presented at T.M.L.," said Hernandez.

City Manager Bob Cass says he did not know the resolution went before the T.M.L. and does agree, it should have gone before city council first.

Councilman Morrison says the T.M.L. has already taken a position on limiting certain public information, without the city of Lubbock's involvement.

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