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Update: City releases emails of current and former El Paso council members

By: Ruben Veloz, El Paso Times

EL PASO, Texas --  More than 180 pages of emails on personal accounts of current and former El Paso City Council members were released Tuesday after city elected officials had fought to keep them away from opponents of the $60-million baseball stadium Downtown.

They include a variety of topics including the downtown ballpark.

The city originally fought to keep the emails private, but lost that fight earlier this year.

Critics against the ballpark wanted their hands on those personal e-mails, but the city said they couldn't because they had no way of getting hold of those e-mail accounts.

However the fight over the e-mails is still not over. According to our media partner the El Paso Times, the city will be in an Austin court Thursday to fight a request by Stephanie Townsend Allala to have current and former representatives testify in about those e-mails.

As KFOX14 reported, the controversy about the e-mails surfaced during the baseball stadium controversy.

Allala and her attorney Bill Alshire filed the request last year after disagreeing with the way city council went about demolishing city hall to build the triple-A ballpark.

Some El Pasoans wondered why the city wanted to keep them private.

"If they have an issue there, I would think there are other issues, that they probably won't comply to as well," said Jimmy, an El Paso resident who didn't want to give his last name.

The city filed a lawsuit trying to keep those records private, but state Attorney General Greg Abbot ruled that any personal e-mails regarding city business should be released.

"There's a freedom of information act," said Jimmy. "If they want to send it out, they can send it out."

According to the El Paso Times, most representatives released their personal e-mails, except for two.

City representatives Carl Robinson, who said he does not have a personal account, and former representative, and former mayoral candidate Steve Ortega.

Ortega told the times he refuses to release any of his personal e-mails if there is no specific legal reason.

Some El Pasoans are skeptical.

"If there is information that needs to be released to the community than it needs to be released," said West El Pasoan Michael Morin.

The emails were posted on a city's website, and you can find them by clicking here: http://bit.ly/186FKRH

Read more about the emails from the El Paso Times: http://bit.ly/186yjda

 

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