Inflated acquisition costs (February 2, 2016)

Among the many flaws in the Town of Apple Valley’s most recent transparency report is the inclusion of costs for responding to public records requests (Acquisition costs top $1 million,, Daily Press, February 1, 2016).

First of all, these are public records, meaning the public should have access to them. If the Town cannot provide public records to the public without taking extraordinary measures, then the Town is either not being run correctly, is not being transparent, or both.

Second, for the Town to present these public records requests as part of some kind of us vs. them contest is tantamount to saying that the Town was just minding its own business, innocently initiating the seizure of a local business for its own purposes, when without provocation residents attacked Town Hall with unwarranted demands for information.

Third, one has to wonder why the Town is complaining about the cost of public records requests when it chooses to consult an attorney before fulfilling them? If Town expenditures are being handled in an honest and straightforward manner, there should be no need for legal advice, and that’s not even counting the fact that the Town has opted for litigation in fighting two writs seeking the production of public records, as opposed to simply turning over the documents as any reasonable person would expect.

Finally and perhaps most important, many of the public records requests listed on the transparency report have nothing to do with the Town’s proposed hostile takeover of Liberty Apple Valley. In essence, that makes this a sort of Town’s enemies list (a la Richard Nixon), rather than any kind of legitimate attempt at transparency, and it serves the dual purpose of running up the tab so that should it ever come time to obtain a bond for this foolish endeavor, the Town will have all kinds of phony receipts to ensure they squeeze every penny possible from the residents of Apple Valley.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.