City Response to our FOIA Letter (Happy Election Day!)

Will make this quick, because we should all be spending our time today voting, not blogging.
The city has provided a response to our letter regarding the inadequacy of its response to our initial FOIA request and it is an entertaining and somewhat enlightening read.  You can read the city’s full response here – the document also includes some previously omitted emails with JBG (see below).
The highlights:
Of the 704 pages withheld from our initial request:
  • 2 were withheld under attorney-client privilege
  • 98 were withheld records of closed meetings (executive session)
  • 604 were withheld because they were procurement-related
The city continues to defer to WMATA on whether the 604 pages withheld under the procurement can be released at this time (which is an odd delegation of their responsibilities under FOIA).  Regardless, we believe they will be required to release those pages once the contract is awarded (and the city has pre-emptively created a prospective FOIA request for us once that happens…so stay tuned!).
Most entertaining (or annoying, depending on your mood), was the city’s response to our pointing out a missing document.  The document in question was an email request and response with JBG (the main developer for North Potomac Yard).  We only knew to ask for this exchange because the response we did receive included a reference to it, but the actual correspondence was omitted, even though our FOIA request specifically called for any discussion of the station involving JBG.
The city writes:
“Your letter raised concerns about a specific e-mail chain from April 12, 2018.  After investigation, we have found the enclosed additional emails.  City staff has undertaken good faith efforts to provide all responsive documents.  If there are other documents that you have specific questions about, please advise and we can conduct additional investigation.”
So… if anyone has leads on a good psychic or something, who can point out other missing documents that should have been in here but weren’t… send them our way I guess?  Fairly certain that’s not how FOIA is supposed to work, but welcome to Alexandria.
Happy voting today!

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