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Montebello City Clerk Withholding Campaign Finance Documents Asked Via a Public Records Request by HMG-CN

UPDATE: The City Clerk provided the documents Wednesday morning.


Staff Report

The City of Montebello’s City Clerk is withholding documents requested by Hews Media Group-Community News concerning the campaign finance reports of Mayor Jack Hadjinian and candidate Vanessa Delgado.

HMG-CN called City Clerk Daniel Hernandez Monday morning requesting the latest campaign documents filed a few days ago. The message was left on Hernandez’ voice mail.

HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews indicated that he would come to Montebello and pick them up or that the Clerk could email the documents to the newspaper.

Hews informed Hernandez that time was of the essence given the City Council election is one week away, and that the voters need to know who is donating money to the two candidates.

As of Tuesday at noon, Hews did not receive a response from Hernandez.

Hews immediately emailed Montebello City Manager Francesca Schuyler informing her of his message to Hernandez and how he had not received a phone call back or the requested documents.

In his email, Hews asked Schuyler to expedite the document request.

As of the posting of this article, neither Schuyler or Hernandez had contacted Hews and no documents have been produced by the city.

“Under the Freedom of Information Act, a City does have 10 days to produce documents, and in the case of large requests, 14 days after that,” said Hews.

Hews went on, “however, if a person asked for the documents immediately, they are normally granted, especially if the person requesting the documents travels to the City Clerk’s office. I have been into the Cerritos City Clerk’s office many times, they hand me the documents, I mark them for copy, and the Clerk produces the documents immediately. The Norwalk Registrar/Recorders Office will provide the same service. I don’t see why the Montebello City Clerk will not produce the documents for me ASAP,” said Hews.

“The documents are brought in by the candidates, as a complete report on letter-size paper. The Clerk hole-punches the documents and files under the candidate’s name. This is not rocket science they can produce the documents very quickly, “Hews said.