New York City Freedom Of Information Requests Fail Miserably

from the doesn't-Bloomberg-own-an-information-company dept

Interesting timing on this one. As you may recall, back in May we filed three Freedom of Information requests, two with NYC and one with Homeland Security’s ICE division. To date, we’ve only received one complete response, from NYC telling us that they didn’t have the documents in question — which actually revealed some interesting info about how Homeland Security was posting NBC propaganda as if it were done by itself.

However, we’re still waiting on the other two. ICE has said that they’re still processing our request (though I believe it’s now past the legal limit to do so). Similarly, NYC is way past due in fulfilling our request under NYC’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

It turns out that this is par for the course for New York City. Reader Stephen points us to a report that says that, even though Mayor Bloomberg has promised to be much more transparent, the city government regularly witholds information or ignores requests altogether, according to amNewYork. The NY Times has even sued the city over this. amNewYork ran some tests itself, sending out 38 requests, and detailing the responses. Here are a few of the lowlights from NYC:

  • Eight agencies failed to respond within the five-business-day deadline they are given to make the information available, deny the request with a reason, or provide an approximate date when the documents will be ready.
  • Some agencies expressed disdain for answering queries. Concerning a related question on FOIL requests, a city Housing Preservation and Development staffer wrote in an email to a records officer that ?this is the kind of crap I have no patience for.? Incidentally, HPD was the fastest agency to respond to amNY?s initial FOIL request, taking two days.

The report has a lot more information and details, but it sounds like folks working for the NYC government really just don’t care and so they don’t really follow the law.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “New York City Freedom Of Information Requests Fail Miserably”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: ...up with I will not put

Normally I’d be riding the grammar-nazi train right there with you but that’s an arbitrary and bloody stupid rule. It’s not practiced in common speech, literature, the press, most text books, or even by English teachers. TD regulars should be quite familiar with the idea that a rule that nobody obeys should be abolished.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ...up with I will not put

Problem is that the 1/2 that aren’t working are the ones in charge, so eliminating 1/2 of the government force would result in a non-working government, since there would only be “Managers” and “Directors” left, and with no one left to manage or direct there would be nothing for them to do, so they would just play golf and drink while complaining that nothing ever gets done….

Jeff says:

NY lottery

You should also not play the lottery in New York. When Dateline did a story on the lottery in California where retailers were ripping off people: (saying your ticket is a loser when in fact, you won $500 or a jackpot, then they give the ticket to a friend to cash.)

California Lottery with Dateline cracked down on people. When Dateline tried to do something with New York lottery, NY refused, and they even SENT messages to all retailers to beware of dateline trying to crack down on them.

Mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, they way he made up an excuse to start a massively expesive and unfinanced war in the Middle East.

Thirty years? Hard left? That’s a picture of you smoking a reefer, right? Jeeze, Obama annoys me, too, but find valid criticisms. (like flip-floping on lobbyists, less transparancy, coming down harder on dissenters/whistleblowers, cow-towing to industry and Hollywood, etc.)

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Relative to any other President in the past thirty years? Yep, hard left. Then Carter and his epic economic failure and the thirty-ish years going back to FDR? Still hard left relative to the rest. I’m fine with that choice of words.

The money spent on the “massively expensive” war is chump change compared to how far in debt we’ve been run in the past four years. Yeah, that includes Bush’s last year. Which is why I said most rather than anyone.

Finally, I’m not criticizing the guy. I’m quite happy with how well he’s done in seeing that we won’t be electing another like him to the highest office in the land for another thirty years or so.

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:


He’s an asshat, he lied about transparency and accountability. When people scream “commie”, “leftist” etc… at him it drowns out the VALID complaints about his actions and lends credence to the idiotic notion that politics is a uni-dimensional spectrum.

Disentangle yourself from the 24 hour news narrative, it’s wrong.

People elected him because he promised hope, change (whatever those mean), accountability and transparency (things sorely lacking under Bush), not because of some perceived socialist bent. That he failed to deliver on them are some of the best and most poignant criticisms of his presidency. Screaming “STALIN!!!” every time he tries to spend money simply drives the discussion to shrill emotional knee jerk territory, and away from rational debate (where it should be).

If you voted for him because you wanted to “teach the country a lesson about lefties”, there are so many things wrong with this I’m not sure where to begin. Voting for a guy you think will bugger the country to demonstrate the problems with one end of an artificial spectrum… I dunno. You must have a lot of time on your hands?

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

See just above for a response to most of that.

Voters who’ve never lived through an epically bad President on fiscal matters are like children who think bees are pretty but’ve never caught one. They’re never going to believe how much suck is involved until they elect one or catch their first bee. And get stung.

Yeah, I could have voted for who I thought would do a better job for the nation but I’d rather we have 4-8 years of pain and learn a lesson that we hopefully won’t have to repeat for a long time.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

No, I know our current debt level is mostly his fault. That’s just simple math.

What I believe is that rather than doing anything that would actually help the economy, or even just leaving things be and trusting the economy to fix itself like politicians usually should, he spent money hand over fist on boondoggles, political pseudo-payoffs, and idealogical money sinks and has actively hurt the economy. Yeah, I know every President wastes money but Obama has taken the gold in it.

Seriously, check your history books and public records. Every single time we elect a no bones about it, died in the wool liberal they spend like drunken sailors and try to lay the bill at the feet of those who they think have too much money. When that doesn’t work, and it almost never does, they give it to our children.

Yeah, there are a fair number on both sides of the aisle who do the exact same thing but when ever single member of a subset do it, you’d think we’d have sense to stop electing them. But we forget history and we’re forced to repeat it every thirty years or so. Them’s the breaks.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Trails -> “You believe the US’s current economic woes are primarily Obama’s fault? “

The Mighty Buzzard -> “No, I know our current debt level is mostly his fault.”

Remind me again …. which president was in office and signed off on the bailout? Umm, does it really matter?

“President George W. Bush signed the bill into law within hours of its congressional enactment, creating the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to purchase failing bank assets.[13]”

Also, how many times was the debt ceiling raised under the Bush43 presidency? Well, lets just look then.

With no complaints or games, and with little notice, the national debt grew more than $4 trillion during George W. Bush?s Presidency.

Wow – is that correct?

“With no fanfare and little notice, the national debt has grown by more than $4 trillion during George W. Bush’s presidency. It’s the biggest increase under any president in U.S history.”

Hmmmm, that’s interesting.

“Every single time we elect a no bones about it, died in the wool liberal they spend like drunken sailors”

Libreral – Really?

“Obama as a Centrist. Really”

I was hoping you post was sarcasm, if it was I missed it.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Remind me again …. which president was in office and signed off on the bailout? Umm, does it really matter?

Bush signed off on the first bailout, all the rest hold Obama’s signature. None of which am I happy about. There, you’re reminded.

That aside, nice strawman tactics there. I am not a Bush fanboi. Going back to post FDR days, I’d have to go with Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton as my personal favorites. Carter and Obama as my least favorites. Yeah, that means I even like Nixon over either of them. If you want to argue Bush vs Obama, do it with someone who likes one of them.

A Centrist? Obama? Clinton and Kennedy were Centrists. Even Bush went left of them in several instances and lefties all but want him publicly tortured. Medicare Prescription Drugs, Bank bailouts, a huge whopping lump of money to combat HIV in Africa, the largest public funding of alternative fuel research ever, and several others. Obama, without finishing a term yet, has Green Jobs (wtf?), Yet Another Tedious Bailout, the healthcare bill that was far enough left it couldn’t get through a Democrat controlled House and Senate until they watered it down significantly, ad nauseum attempts to raise taxes, and enough more that this could easily turn into a page rather than an overlong paragraph.

I’ll grant you he’s not George Soros or Huffington Post reader left but for a President he might as well be sitting in FDR’s lap.

txpatriot (profile) says:

38 FOIL requests for “test” purposes?

No wonder the overworked gov’t staffers are frustrated. Of course they can’t tell a legitimate FOIL request from a “test” inquiry, and it’s no excuse (all inquiries s/b processed timely in accordance with the law), but how do you think 911 operators would react if TD readers started placing “test” 911 calls to see how quickly they are answered?

Maybe the FOIL / FOIA s/b re-written to prevent such abuse.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...