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Helping You Submit “Open Records” Requests

February 13, 2007 Media 8 Comments

Ever considered submitting your own request for public records but didn’t know how to go about the process? Well, the first step is to review the excellent ‘Missouri Sunshine Law’ webpage from the Missouri Attorney General. This resource is well organized and informative. To get you started it even includes sample language.

The next step is to know who to submit your request to. With so many departments and agencies it can get confusing. To make life easier, I requested a complete list of the “custodians of record” for the City of St. Louis. I took the 7-page Word document and put it in columns to that it wouldn’t be so paper consuming. You can download the 4-page PDF file here. So now you’ll know, based on which department has the records you are seeking, who you should contact. Sadly, the list prepared in December and just received by me last week is already out of date. A first step before mailing/faxing/emailing off your request for records would be to call that department and confirm the person listed is still the current custodian of record.

Maybe if the city receives enough requests for rumored projects we’ll start to see them being more forthcoming rather than wait until the week the legislation is being introduced? Yeah, I know, probably not but one needs to attempt to be optimistic every so often.


Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. equals42 says:

    At a Southampton Neighborhood Assn meeting I spoke with someone who wanted to know how Alderwoman Donna Barringer spent her discretionary funds. They claimed to have asked Ms. Barringer and were refused. I can’t validate their story and I have had mostly positive relations with Ms. Barringer. It seems like an interesting and reasonable request however. Since the Alderperson can spend funds in a number of categories, who would you request that information from?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Interesting, the Board of Aldemen are not listed on the sheet.  Looks like all the county offices are missing as well.  Great, more work to be done.  Anyway, I suggest this person call the Board of Aldermen and ask who the custodian of record is, then make the request to that person.]

  2. please... says:

    Can we start right now, today, and forever more quit with the use of terms like “the alderman’s funds”

  3. Jim Zavist says:

    . . . and what would the correct term be? alderperson’s funds? aldermans’s slush fund? the people’s money?

  4. please... says:

    City funds would be the correct term. Or taxpayer dollars.

    The idea that funds allocated to wards are “the alderman’s own funds” just feeds the parochial mindset .

    It also fuels the mindset that ward residents are beholden to aldermen for any services.

  5. GMichaud says:

    Actually ward residents are beholden to aldermen. The aldermen operate similar to barons of the 17th century and the people of their ward are their serfs. That is reality. You can call city funds whatever the hell you want but the fact is the aldermen call the shots, irregardless of the needs, desires or demands of the citizens.
    Will that alderman get reelected? That depends on the funding by corporate interests and the lack of ability of the mainstream media to distinguish between payoffs and donations.

    The parochial mindset is set. The aldermen own the ward, that is the way St. Louis is designed, and it is the problem. Pretending if you call it something else will solve that problem is naive.

  6. Thor Randelson says:

    Steve, are we ever going to hear anything more about that new Walgreens and Grocery on Lafayette/=

  7. Chris says:

    ^Yes, the “Georgian Square”, I believe. I read this[ http://www.builtstlouis.net/bohemianhill01.html ] recently after reading about the $80 mil development in the Biz journal. Not much else I can find out about it. Steve- please use your investigative ability to inform us about this if you can. I’m most interested in the Walgreens and if we’re going to see a stand-alone box or if we’re going to get something creative and thoughtful like what is seen in downtown Chicago, where the drug store is incorporated into the architecture as opposed to the other way around. Thanks.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I’m working on this.  I had submitted a request to the city for documents and then the Business Journal came out with their press release, I mean objective story, on the proposed development.]

  8. city says:

    Judging from the sketch published in the business journal, the design will be “urban” in
    name only. It’s not only ugly. It ensures traffic will be mess.
    See the south city journal’s 2/7/2007 article on those residents who will be
    displaced. Why not redevelop the abandoned supermarket just a mile down the street —
    at Lafayette/Jefferson?


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