Inventory of surveillance cameras installed on Seattle City Light utility poles

Phil Mocek filed this request with the Seattle City Light of Seattle, WA.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Phil Mocek

To Whom It May Concern:

In [an e-mail sent at 1:15 p.m. on August 4, 2015][1], Doug Williams, Security manager at Seattle City Light ("SCL"), upon prompting by an inquiry by Scott Thomsen, Sr. Strategic Advisor in the Marketing and Communications Division of SCL, wrote the following message to Todd E. Reeves, Technical Surveillance Specialist at the Seattle office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms ("ATF"), T. J. Appleton at the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), Verner B. O'Quin, Jr. #4920 at Seattle Police Department ("SPD"), and Brad McClennen, Security Manager at SCL:

> Gents,
>
> Occasionally our crews run across cameras that have been installed on our
> poles and they contact me to confirm if these cameras were installed for
> convert needs from your respective organizations on our poles.
>
> Do either of you folks recognize this one at 23rd and Union (or Jackson) on
> SCL pole #137407? This one came from a customer that has taken it upon
> himself to self report these via blog
>
> Just let me know so I can add it to the list. As a reminder please let me
> know of new cameras and ones you take down. As always this is kept
> confidential.
>
> Regards
> Doug Williams
> SCL Security Manager

[1]: <https://www.muckrock.com/foi/seattle-69/seattle-city-light-surveillance-camera-agreement-with-us-atf-scl-20458/>

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request all past and current versions of the list of equipment installed on utility poles to which Doug Williams referred in his August 4, 2015, e-mail to SCL, SPD, ATF, and FBI, along with associated metadata.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Phil Mocek

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Please acknowledge this email as receipt to your public disclosure request dated December 14, 2015 for “all past and current versions of the list of equipment installed on utility poles to which Doug Williams referred in his August 4, 2015, e-mail to SCL, SPD, ATF, and FBI, along with associated metadata.”

Due to the holiday season and a number of our staff out on vacation, I will get back to you on January 6, 2016 with an estimated date that I can provide records to you.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Kind regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image001.png@01D13CB7.B69513C0]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Good afternoon Mr. Mocek,

I am providing you an update to your December 14, 2015 public disclosure request for: “All past and current versions of the list of equipment installed on utility poles to which Doug Williams referred in his August 4, 2015, e-mail to SCL, SPD, ATF, and FBI, along with associated metadata.”

We have identified records responsive to your request. I am attaching one of the records at this time.

In addition to the first attached record, City Light has information regarding cameras placed on poles as part of law enforcement agencies investigations, as reflected in the attached redacted record. We intend to provide third-party notice to the Department of Justice because the responsive information reflects federal law enforcement investigations. We understand that the federal government has a somewhat involved process for obtaining authorization for seeking an injunction that will take a minimum of 120 days. We believe that a court will give the federal government deference regarding the timeline for seeking injunctive relief. This may substantially delay when responsive records could be made available to you. It also means that there is a likelihood of litigation and a court may find that the redactions are appropriate. You may have gone through the litigation and achieved no better result than what we can offer today, which is to provide you the attached redacted record.

The redactions applied to the attached spreadsheet concern active, specific law enforcement investigations, not general surveillance cameras, and are redacted under RCW 42.56.240(1). If you are interested in revising your public disclosure request to accept the attached spreadsheet in response, it would avoid the need to provide third-party notice.

Please let me know if you would revise your request. If so, we will consider your request closed. If you are not interested in revising your request, please let me know and we will update you regarding the estimated disclosure date based on the federal government’s authorization process for bringing injunctive action.
Thanks!

Melissa

MELISSA SKELTON | LEGAL AFFAIRS ADVISOR
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL MANAGER
[cid:image001.png@01D1489B.ABB06550]
melissa.skelton@ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-3179 CELL (206) 549-4047

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Skelton:

More than three weeks have passed since I filed my request with your agency. You have not provided me with the requested records, provided me with the Internet address of those records on your website, provided me with an estimate of when you will provide records, or denied my access to records. Thus, Seattle City Light are in violation of the Public Records Act ([RCW 42.56][1]; "the PRA").

[1]: <http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=42.56>

I believe your agency is acting in bad faith, stonewalling in an attempt to hide publicly-unacceptable and likely unlawful activities by your employee, security manager Doug Williams, from the public. [Seattle City Ordinance 124142][2] prohibits without prior notification to and approval by City Council the behavior in which these records show Mr. Williams and his inter-agency cohorts to regularly engage. In his [e-mail of August 4, 2015][3], Mr. Williams stated to those cohorts that he would keep City Light's inventory of rogue public surveillance cameras confidential. Your staff do not get to decide what is good for the public to know and what is not good for us to know.

[2]: <https://seattleprivacy.org/category/seattle-privacy-issues/ordinance-124142/>
[3]: <https://www.muckrock.com/foi/seattle-69/seattle-city-light-surveillance-camera-agreement-with-us-atf-scl-20458/>>

I received your e-mail of January 6, 2016. In it, you acknowledged your identification of multiple records responsive to my request. Despite your identification of multiple responsive records, you attached just a single record: a three-page PDF file containing images of an electronic spreadsheet that was printed then digitized. All metadata are missing, and you have inexplicably converted the record from its original format. Please do not create new records for me, but rather provide any electronic records in their native electronic format.

You cited [RCW 42.56.240(1)][4] as justification for all redaction you performed of information in the record you provided. The exemption in that paragraph is not applicable. The redacted information is not specific intelligence information; it is the location of public utility poles on which Mr. Williams oversaw the installation of surveillance equipment without receiving City Council approval as required by law. Nor is the information you redacted specific investigative records compiled by an investigative agency, law enforcement agency, penology agency, or a state agency vested with the responsibility to discipline members of any profession. The record was created by Seattle City Light staff, and SCL is a public utility, not an investigative agency, a law enforcement agency, a penology agency, or a state agency vested with the responsibility to discipline members of any profession.

[4]: <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=42.56.240>

You stated in your e-mail that you "intend to provide third-party notice to the Department of Justice because the responsive information reflects federal law enforcement investigations." I am unaware of any requirement for you to notify anyone of anything before providing public access to public records that "reflect law enforcement investigations." Further, I do not know what it means for a record to "reflect law enforcement investigations," and I find no such definition in the PRA. Could you please communicate your rationale for delaying of processing my request in order to provide such notification? Please refer to any section section of the PRA that you believe allows for such delay.

Regarding U.S. DOJ's potential seeking of authorization to seek an injunction: When you choose to notify a third party of your intent to publish records requested pursuant to the Public Records Act, the rapidity with which that third party acts upon such notification has no bearing on your duties under the PRA. The law does not allow you to delay processing of PRA requests based on the whims of third parties. That a particular third party is suspected to move slowly in this situation is not indication that you should delay processing of my request; it is indication that the party may miss their opportunity to take action. If the public learning details of Seattle City Light staff's collusion with outside parties to install surveillance equipment in violation of Seattle's surveillance equipment ordinance truly constitutes an emergency for federal staff, then they should have no problem expediting their efforts to keep those records hidden from the public.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Thank you for your response. As set forth RCW 42.56.540, agencies have the option to provide notification to third parties to whom a record pertains that release of such record has been requested. A third party may request a court to find that the record is not in the public interest, would irreparably damage any person, or would substantially and irreparably damage a vital government function. As it appears you are not amenable to modifying your public disclosure request, the City has exercised the third party notice option and provided notice to the Department of Justice of your request.

I estimate records will be ready for your review around May 20, 2016. This time will allow the subjects of your request time to enjoin the release, if they so desire.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Otherwise, I will be in touch with you in May.

Kind regards,

Stacy Irwin

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image001.png@01D14E19.12F77050]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Irwin:

Could you please cite any portion of the PRA you believe allows you to delay release of public records based on your suspicion that a third party will at some time in the future request and a court will issue an injunction preventing you from releasing those records?

It appears to me that Seattle City Light are still attempting to hid your staff's unlawful actions from the public. Based on e-mails you provided to me, it appears clear that your employee Doug Williams conspired with DOJ staff to commit violations of Seattle Ordinance 124142 (surveillance equipment ordinance). That you now claim to be awaiting assistance from DOJ--the very organization with which your employee conspired to keep the public in the dark about his and their activities--with your efforts to continue hiding from the public just what is going on within our public utility.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Thank you for your question. As noted in our previous email to you on January 6, 2016, RCW 42.56.540 provides that before releasing records, an agency may at its option provide third party notice. The third party may then obtain a court order to enjoin the release of records. If you have further questions about this, please feel free to call Melissa Skelton at 206-684-3179. She said she would be happy to discuss these matters with you.

Kind regards,
Stacy Irwin

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image001.png@01D154FA.6DCD18D0]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

I am following up to your email below. As I explained in my January 22, 2016 email to you, before releasing records, an agency may exercise its option to provide third party notice under RCW 42.56.540. Specifically, RCW 42.56.540 states that “The examination of any specific public record may be enjoined if, upon motion and affidavit by an agency or its representative or a person who is named in the record or to whom the record specifically pertains, the superior court for the county in which the movant resides or in which the record is maintained, finds that such examination would clearly not be in the public interest and would substantially and irreparably damage any person, or would substantially and irreparably damage vital governmental functions. An agency has the option of notifying persons named in the record or to whom a record specifically pertains, that release of a record has been requested. provides that before releasing records, an agency may at its option provide third party notice. The third party may then obtain a court order to enjoin the release of records.”

Again, I estimate records will be ready for your review around May 20, 2016. This time will allow the subjects of your request time to enjoin the release, if they so desire.

Please feel free to contact me or our Legal Affairs Supervisor, Melissa Skelton, at 206-684-3179 if you need further clarification.

Kind regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image002.png@01D052AC.192A9CE0]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

I would like to update you on your public disclosure request for “All past and current versions of the list of equipment installed on utility poles to which Doug Williams referred in his August 4, 2015, e-mail to SCL, SPD, ATF, and FBI, along with associated metadata.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office has informed us that they need some additional time with their review and determination as to whether to seek an injunction. I now estimate that these records can be ready for you on June 13, 2016, if an injunction is not issued.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image002.png@01D052AC.192A9CE0]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Irwin:

You have had my request since December of last year. You notified DOJ of your intent to provide public access to this public record *months ago*. That they have not yet bothered to petition a court to prohibit you from providing that public record of your colleagues' collusion with federal staff to hide your colleagues' and federal staff's actions from the public by now clearly indicates that doing so is not a high priority for them.

There is absolutely no reason other than assisting in hiding your colleagues' unethical behavior for you to further delay processing of this simple request. Please cease attempts to conspire with outside agencies to hide your staff's unlawful surveillance. Please promptly provide the records as required by law.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Irwin:

According to [your own records][1] you provided third-party notification regarding this request on January 13, 2016. More than four months have since passed. There has been ample opportunity for potentially-affected parties arrange for an injunction barring release of the public records I requested, yet no party has so much as filed a request for such.

Please cease delay and promptly provide the records I requested on December 14, 2015.

[1]: <https://www.muckrock.com/foi/seattle-69/seattle-city-light-notice-to-doj-of-intent-to-release-records-of-unlawful-surveillance-cameras-23454/>

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Attached please find a temporary restraining order entered in this matter that prevents the City from releasing some of the data you have requested. We will be reviewing the order and will provide you with the responsive records that are not subject to the order.

Thank you for your patience.

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image002.png@01D052AC.192A9CE0]

From: Nadelman, Jessica

Mr. Mocek:

Pursuant to the temporary restraining order provided to you yesterday by Stacy Irwin, the City has been directed to notify you about the legal action. Attached please find electronic versions of the pleadings filed thus far.

Thank you,

[image001]

Jessica Nadelman
Assistant City Attorney

Seattle City Attorney's Office
Civil Division
701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2050
Seattle, WA 98104-7097
Phone: 206-386-0075
FAX: 206-684-8284
jessica.nadelman@seattle.gov<mailto:Your.email@seattle.gov>

CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT: This message may contain information that is protected by the attorney-client privilege, the attorney work product doctrine, or by other confidentiality provisions. If this message was sent to you in error, any use, disclosure, or distribution of its contents is prohibited. If you receive this message in error, please contact me at the telephone number or e-mail address listed above and delete this message without printing, copying, or forwarding it. Thank you.

From: Nadelman, Jessica


From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Please find attached responsive records. Per the Court’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), we are prohibited from releasing all sensitive law enforcement information which was shared with City Light. This information has been redacted accordingly.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image002.png@01D052AC.192A9CE0]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: Cantrell, Matt F

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Pursuant to court order (see attached), Seattle City Light cannot release any additional records regarding FBI cameras.

This completes and closes your request.

MATT CANTRELL | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE ANALYST
CUSTOMER SERVICE, COMMUNICATIONS & REGULATORY AFFAIRS
[cid:image001.png@01D1109F.C8520D00]
matt.cantrell@ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

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