|| UARF's Josh Thompson's Letter to Virginia Beach Mayor Sessoms, Do you want UARF |
Virginia's Unalienable Rights Foundation asks Will Sessoms, Virginia Beach's
he wants UARF to sue the city every time they violate the Freedom of
Information Law or would he prefer to work out the problem.
UARF's Civil Rights Case Manager, Josh Thompson , sent the following letter to Mr.
Sessoms after the Beach's city Rod Ingram wrote Ingram made unreasonable demands
on both Thompson and UARF.
Mr. Ingram told me in his letter that our Freedom of Information Act [VFOIA
and/or FOIA] requests appear to be redundant to City Officials.
While our Freedom of Information Act [VFOIA and/or FOIA]
requests may appear to be redundant to your lawyer they are
actually a straddled effort to obtain the information requested in the initial
We have had to do this as when we appear in person in your
office as you are the public
record custodian’s office as set out in Virginia code Sec. 2.2-3704.A. [along
with Code Section 42.1-77, 42.1-86 and 42.1-87] and ask to examine the public records UARF’s officials have been turned away and not allowed to
examine the records nor at that time are we provided with a response that is in
accordance with Virginia Code Section 2.2-3704.B..
And when we are provided with a written reply to the FOIA
the reply we have received to the FOIA from Rod Ingram and
your office is lacking by the failure of the responders to comply Virginia Code
To make sure that there is a clear understanding of what the
Code requires of you and the city in your responses to a UARF’s FOIAs
we include in our FOIAs the required responses that the Code sets out along with
court decisions that address a responders obligations in making a response to a
In each and every case thus far, when coity officials have
responded to an UARF FOIA request, that reply is not responsive nor complies to
You and every city official we have sent a FOIA request to
have been provided with a copy of Virginia’s  FOIA law,  the Virginia
Public Records Act (PRA),  Virginia Attorney General Opinion 12-052/Bundick,
and the case law set out in White Dog Publishing v. Culpeper Bd. of Sup.,
272 Va. 377, 634 S.E.2d 334 (2006), all of which you and city
officials continuously ignore.
You told Thompson if, what you seem to be calling,
replications of FOIA are coming about because the people at UARF are not in communications with each other.
City officials are
getting what you are calling redundant FOIAs because we are in communications
with each other.
We have communicated with each other that UARF officials are
being turned away when they ask for a record as set out in Code Section
2.2-3704A. without the City's Officials complying with Code section
And any after-the-fact response city officials make is
still not in compliance with the aforesaid code sections.
We had/have a choice, we can file suit at the city official’s first denial of rights given to UARF’s officials by law or go
back and ask the city official again for the public records.
There is another element that would sound senseless to a
rational person, and that is, perhaps there is a personality conflict between
the official responding to the FOIA and the presenter. I can not say if that is
the case, only the responder can and I feel rather than ask that question of the
responder it is perhaps better to have another person ask for the records.
That is what has been done, we have now asked you for the same information that Mr.
Ingram was asker for and was not given [and/or
found the records to be culled by city officials without the official
following the law/authority to cull records as set out in Code Sec. 2.2-3704.B.]
and hopefully the response from city officials will to be to comply with the
PRA and FOIA laws.
You have first hand experience with this. When we asked you
for the Library of Virginia [LVA] form RM 25 your office was/is required to file your
first response was to send UARF a letter saying you may have the document. That
is not a proper response, either you do or you don't and you must say that
either you do or you don't.
When your inappropriate reply to the UARF FOIA was received
we again sent you a request for the same information and included in that follow
up request a cite to the code section requiring you file the form and the
Bundick AGO that details the requirement of your office having a records
Your response seems to say you as the Mayor and in charge of
the Mayor's office have no dea what you have done and are doing. How long
have you been Mayor and how long have you not done your job? You were to
have filed the RM 25 with the LVA. You should have provided us with a copy
of that RM 25 in response to the FOIA for it. Itg appears to UARF that you and
your legal team are unaware of the requirement since you have served your
city as it Mayor. The woman you badmouthed as incompetent that served as
Mayor prior to your being elected to Mayor filed one, why have you done so?
This being said, we, in the alternative, could have filed
suit upon your inappropriate response. Instead we wrote again and request the
same information and provide a few documents with the request and you took the
steps to fix a problem. That is as it should be.
We currently have asked the city public record's officer for documents and
access to documents and the response was not in conformity with FOIA as cited
herein. We have again asked for the documents rather than file a suit. In
addition since the records officer appears to us to be unwilling to follow the law in
responding to our FOIA requests, we have directed that request to other city officials in hope they will provide that information.
Mr. Sessoms, tell UARF what you want it to do,  sue the city and your
office when you fail at the start to comply with the requirements of FOIA or 
have UARF address the issues again in an effort to resolve the difficulty and
avert a lawsuit and cost to the city?
| Related Links|
| Article Rating|