Seattle City Light surveillance camera agreement with US ATF (SCL)

Phil Mocek filed this request with the Seattle City Light of Seattle, WA.
Est. Completion Oct. 31, 2015
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Phil Mocek

To Whom It May Concern:

On August 6, 2015, after revealing that surveillance cameras recently installed on publicly-owned utility poles in Seattle, Washington--seemingly in violation of Seattle ordinance 124142, which requires City Council approval prior to the acquisition or use of surveillance equipment by City of Seattle--were owned and operated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms ("ATF"), reporter Brendan Kiley of The Stranger [reported][1] that ATF spokesman Brian Bennett told him that ATF have an agreement with public utility Seattle City Light ("SCL") that allows them to install covert or overt cameras without notifying other city agencies.

[1]: <https://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/08/06/22659062/22659062-the-mystery-of-the-central-district-surveillance-cameras>

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records: The agreement about camera installation to which Mr. Bennet referred, communications regarding that agreement between ATF and SCL staff, and all associated metadata. Please provide electronic records in their native electronic format (i.e., do not create new records by printing then digitizing electronic records). Please black out rather than whiting out any redactions.

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 fees cannot be waived, 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: Irwin, Stacy

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Please acknowledge this email as receipt to your public disclosure request for “the agreement about camera installation to which Mr. Bennet referred, communications regarding the agreement between ATF and SCL staff, and all associated metadata.”

I estimate it will take approximately six weeks to locate records responsive to your request and to review them for potential exemptions to disclosure. I estimate any responsive records would be available to you around October 1, 2015. If I need to provide records in installments, I will let you know and provide you with an installment timeline.

In addition, please provide me with a time period in which you are requesting records for. Per RCW 42.56.120, we cannot waive fees. We charge 0.15 for each hard copy or 0.10 for each scanned page; however, you are welcome to review the records in our office at no charge. Unfortunately I cannot give you the total cost until I have finished processing your request.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER

[cid:image001.png@01D0DA5E.312E4000]
stacy.irwin@seattle.gov<mailto:stacy.irwin@seattle.gov>
TEL (206) 684-7998
The nation’s greenest utility<http://www.seattle.gov/light>

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Irwin:

In your e-mail of August 19, 2015, you requested that I "provide [you] with a time period in which [I am] requesting records for." I seek records from no earlier than one year prior to the date on which Seattle City Light and United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms entered into their agreement regarding installation of surveillance cameras on public utility poles in Seattle. If you are unable to determine when your agency entered the agreement ATF spokesman Brian Bennett described to reporter Brendan Kiley then please search for any responsive records created at any time in the past.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Aug. 12, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Irwin, Stacy

Dear Mr. Mocek,

No further clarification is needed. As shown in my email below, I expect to have records to you by October 1, 2015.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER

[cid:image001.png@01D0E620.E665AF30]
stacy.irwin@seattle.gov<mailto:stacy.irwin@seattle.gov>
TEL (206) 684-7998
The nation’s greenest utility<http://www.seattle.gov/light>

From: Irwin, Stacy

Dear Mr. Mocek,

After a thorough search, Seattle City Light does not have any records responsive to your public records request dated August 12, 2015 for an agreement about camera installation between ATF and SCL staff.

This completes Seattle City Light’s response and closes your request. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER

[cid:image001.png@01D0FC59.F51494C0]
stacy.irwin@seattle.gov<mailto:stacy.irwin@seattle.gov>
TEL (206) 684-7998
The nation’s greenest utility<http://www.seattle.gov/light>

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

An appeal letter has been sent to your office via standard mail. Should this letter need to be sent to another agency, provision of applicable appeal standards would be appreciated.

Thank you.

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Irwin:

I appeal. You apparently narrowed my request from 1) the agreement about camera installation to which Brian Bennet of U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms referred, 2) communications regarding that agreement between ATF and Seattle City Light staff, and 3) all associated metadata, to simply "an agreement about camera installation between ATF and SCL staff."

The ATF spokesperson's assertion that such an agreement exists was widely reported (e.g., by [The Stranger][1], [Seattle Privacy Coalition][2], [CHS][3], [Crosscut][4], [Seattle Times][5], [KING-TV][6], and [KIRO-TV][7]). I strongly suspect that there was related communication between ATF and SCL staff about an agreement, whether or not SCL have a record containing said agreement.

References:

[1]: <https://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/08/06/22659062/22659062-the-mystery-of-the-central-district-surveillance-cameras>
[2]: <https://www.seattleprivacy.org/fed-fun-with-no-expectation-of-privacy/>
[3]: <http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2015/08/federal-agents-confirm-they-quietly-installed-surveillance-cameras-along-23rd-ave-in-the-cd/>
[4]: <http://crosscut.com/2015/08/atf-confirms-surveillance-cameras-installed-throughout-seattle/>
[5]: <http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/secret-police-camera-program-raises-trust-issues/>
[6]: <http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2015/08/07/atf-surveillance-cameras-central-district/31320713/>
[7]: <http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/atf-confirms-it-installed-two-surveillance-cameras/nnFGh/>

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Skelton, Melissa

Good afternoon Mr. Mocek,

This email is in response to your appeal set forth below. I am assigned the responsibility of reviewing your appeal. You mentioned below you were sending a letter in standard mail – I have not received that yet. When I receive that letter, if it contains information other than what you set forth below, I will follow-up with you.

Your original public disclosure request asked for records related to “the agreement about camera installation.” There is no written agreement between City Light and ATF, and thus no records that are responsive to that piece of your request, nor to the request for communications about “that agreement.” City Light agreed to support ATF, but as there is no written agreement, we interpreted your request in good faith and were unable to provide you records related to a written agreement, as there was none.

I will direct the Public Disclosure Officer, Stacy Irwin, to reopen and modify your original request to “related communication between ATF and SCL staff about an agreement, whether or not SCL have a record containing said agreement.” We would provide you communications/emails between ATF and SCL staff from the time period of January 1, 2010 until the date of your request, August 12, 2015, if that is acceptable. After visiting with Ms. Irwin, I estimate an installment of these records may be available to you on or around October 30, 2015. I will let you know if records can be made available sooner.

Please let me know if this satisfies your request, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks!

Melissa

MELISSA SKELTON | LEGAL AFFAIRS ADVISOR
[cid:image001.png@01D0FF7B.B2814160]
melissa.skelton@seattle.gov<mailto:melissa.skelton@seattle.gov>
TEL (206) 684-3179 CELL (206) 549-4047
The nation’s greenest utility<http://www.seattle.gov/light>

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Skelton:

I received your e-mail of October 5, wherein you reported 1) that an agreement was made between your agency and ATF regarding the installation of surveillance cameras on public utility poles ("City Light agreed to support ATF"), and 2) that your staff narrowed my August 12, 2015, request to exclude communications about the agreement between your agency and ATF regarding the installation of surveillance cameras on public utility poles.

Please do not modify my original request for "[t]he agreement about camera installation to which Mr. Bennet [of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms] referred [in the August 6, 2015, article by Brendan Kiley of The Stranger] , communications regarding that agreement between ATF and SCL staff, and all associated metadata. Please provide all records responsive to that request. If it is unduly burdensome to identify records containing such communications about the agreement to which both Mr. Bennet and you referred, then I am amenable to the alternative of you providing me with all written or electronic communications between SCL staff and ATF staff from January 1, 2010 and the date on which your agency retrieves those records, provided that all e-mail messages are provided in standard RFC 2822 format (i.e., in their native electronic format, not in PDFs of scans of printouts of messages and not in a proprietary format used by some commercial e-mail software, either of which would make the records more cumbersome and thus less valuable to the public).

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Irwin, Stacy

Dear Mr. Mocek,

I would like to give you an update on your public disclosure request dated August 12, 2015.

RCW 42.56.540 provides agencies with the option of notifying persons affected by a public disclosure request before records are released. The City intends to exercise that option on identified records and will be providing notice to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

I estimate that records can be made available to you around November 23, 2015, unless one or both of the agencies serves the City with an injunction prohibiting disclosure. The City will update you if there are any changes to this time estimate.

Thank you for your patience and please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Kind regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER'S TEAM
[cid:image001.png@01D1130A.54A5AE80]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

Pursuant to your public records request dated August 12, 2015 and to Melissa Skelton’s response to your appeal dated October 5, 2015, we have attached responsive records.

We believe we have provided you all responsive records to your request, but we will confirm that there are no additional records before we close this request. We will follow up with you around January 6, 2016 to either close this request or to provide additional records if any exist.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image001.png@01D123AC.01147500]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

From: SCL_CityLight_PDR

Dear Mr. Mocek,

I am writing to give you an update on your request below. After doing further research we have concluded that we have no additional responsive records; however, I will continue to work on your other 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.”

This completes City Light’s response and closes your request.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

STACY IRWIN | PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OFFICER
GENERAL MANAGER’S TEAM
[cid:image001.png@01D14949.92764600]
Stacy.irwin @ seattle.gov
TEL (206) 684-7998

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