PTSD settles lawsuit over public records

School district is latest hit by legal action from chronically litigious Whidbey resident

Posted 1/29/21

A Whidbey Island man who has made a living on lawsuits over public records against small rural school districts will be picking up one of his latest paychecks at taxpayers’ expense in Port …

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PTSD settles lawsuit over public records

School district is latest hit by legal action from chronically litigious Whidbey resident

Posted

A Whidbey Island man who has made a living on lawsuits over public records against small rural school districts will be picking up one of his latest paychecks at taxpayers’ expense in Port Townsend.

The Port Townsend School Board voted unanimously last week to approve a $12,500 settlement with Eric Hood to have his lawsuit against the school district dropped.

Hood was the subject of an in-depth story in The Leader in December which detailed more than a hundred lawsuits that he has filed against school districts, cities, towns and other small municipalities in Washington state.

“He typically picks on school districts in small towns. He has made quite a good living at it,” Jeffrey S. Myers, an Olympia-based attorney who has represented small cities against lawsuits filed by Hood, told The Leader earlier.

By Myers estimation, Hood has pulled in more than $820,000 from cases involving the Public Records Act since 2014.

Hood filed a lawsuit against the Port Townsend School District on Dec. 17.

It followed the pattern of other lawsuits he has pursued across Washington. 

Hood initially filed a public records request Jan. 5, 2020, noting that the Port Townsend district had been recently audited by the state, and he asked for all documents related to the audit.

The school district released records, and after nearly a year went by, Hood filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County Superior Court, claiming that not all documents he sought had been provided.

After an initial response to the lawsuit in December, the Port Townsend School District decided to settle.

Jay Schulkin, an attorney with the Seattle law firm of Porter Foster Rorick, who represented the school district against the lawsuit, declined to comment to The Leader about the case.

The $12,500 settlement agreement with the Port Townsend School Board was approved with little talk by district officials.

“We are very pleased to announce we were able to reach a conclusion to this litigation just this week,” Superintendent Sandy Gessner-Crabtree told the board at its
Jan. 21 meeting.

She asked for a motion to approve the settlement, adding “and we will be done with this issue.”

Board Member Jeff Taylor lambasted Hood before the vote was called.

“I just want to want Eric Hood and our community to understand this money is being taken away from children,” Taylor said. “That this money is being taken away from the taxpayers to enrich himself and hurting our community.”

“I hope he is proud of himself,” Taylor added.

“And I would like to see that we advocate for our state legislators to make adjustments to a very important public records law, that it should not be abused in this way to hurt the taxpayers,” he said.

Hood, who is not a lawyer but represents himself in most court cases he initiates, also filed a lawsuit against the Chimacum School District in late October.

A database of court records shows Hood has pursued more than a hundred lawsuits against school districts and other government entities in Washington in the last five years — more than three dozen lawsuits in 2020 alone.

Hood did not respond to a recent request for comment from The Leader.

Comments

6 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
...---...

A more important question is, why are none of the public entities providing him with the information he's requesting? It's public information. He has a right to request it and receive it as requested. The information belongs to the public and should be released as requested, in full, with appropriate redactions.

If these public entities would properly release public records to the public, Mr. Hood wouldn't be making a cent. Until these entities can find a way to properly release public records to the public, the lawsuits will continue to shed light onto the hand-shakes and backslaps on which far too many taxpayer-funded entities thrive. We can only hope he files some FOIA requests related to the Ft. Worden PDA. Mr. Hood, if you're listening...

Saturday, January 30
Tom Thiersch

Why does the Leader allow anonymous comments? If you have the courage of your convictions, "...---...", then tell us who you are.

I happen to agree with your comments, but why hide your identity?

Here's the preamble to the Public Records Act, which 72% of the people voted for in Washington, I-276 in 1972

RCW 42.56.030

Construction.

The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created. This chapter shall be liberally construed and its exemptions narrowly construed to promote this public policy and to assure that the public interest will be fully protected. In the event of conflict between the provisions of this chapter and any other act, the provisions of this chapter shall govern.

Sunday, January 31
...---...

It is so fascinating to me, how obssessed white men are with the concept of "threatening anonymity". How 'bout doing some thinking about why a person in any given situation would only feel comfortable participating in a public social media forum, anonymously. Perhaps all participants should be anonymous. Interesting, eh?

Sunday, January 31
...---...

Posted to a GovLoop forum by Lucas Cioffi, CEO of AthenaBridge Inc a provider of online participation services in the US

"Anonymous comments are necessary and should not be discouraged.

Here are some reasons why:

There’s no enforceable solution that would work on a national level which can ensure that someone’s user name is the same as their legal name.

The dialogue would instantly be less inclusive because people are not used to using their real name online in discussion forums– this immediately raises a red flag and rumors start flying (refer to panic about White House collecting email addresses)

Our country has a rich history of brilliant political authors writing with pseudonyms– those people had strong reasons for doing so and those reasons are just as important today.

Allowing pseudonyms decreases the risk of cognitive biases such as the “yes-man syndrome” where people agree with leaders even though the leader’s ideas are not strong.

Some people won’t participate because they cannot contradict the position of their employer. This limits out expert opinion.

Merely suggesting that users should use their real names will automatically place pseudonyms in second-class status and will engender the harms listed above.

A persistent reputation system that rewards good ideas and punishes misbehavior can solve for all the advantages of using real names, such as developing person-to-person relationships and discouraging abusive speech.

Strong, fair, transparent moderation systems should be our focus because they are absolutely necessary and can solve for abusive speech.

An idea should stand on its own merit; if it depends on the credentials of the author to be credible it needs more work. Building a community online that does not rely on credentials gets us much closer to a true meritocracy of ideas. Giving equal status to pseudonyms puts the focus on the idea rather than the author– this can stimulate a more honest discussion.

Features which develop and sustain a sense of community (such as group features and person-to-person messaging) should be our focus rather than this issue anonymity because such features will build resiliency and community norms which, in turn, are essential for fair moderation.

Requiring real names will have no effect on some people who are going to use a pseudonym anyway. Having them break the rules the first minute they sign up can start them off in a negative mindset accentuate their negative behavior.

While we can hope for the best, we have to work in the world that we live in. If an American has a name like Hussein (or many others) they will be discriminated against whether we like it or not.

When people exercise the freedom of the press or the freedom to assemble, they can do so anonymously. Requiring real names limits free speech."

In this town, one of the most important aspects of the discussion is: "An idea should stand on its own merit; if it depends on the credentials of the author to be credible it needs more work. Building a community online that does not rely on credentials gets us much closer to a true meritocracy of ideas. Giving equal status to pseudonyms puts the focus on the idea rather than the author– this can stimulate a more honest discussion."

Sunday, January 31
Tom Thiersch

Anonymous poster == coward.

Tuesday, February 2
HarveyW-Colatteral Damage

I have always been against anonymous comments. Why? Any PT political insider can and have written anonymous comments to put lipstick on pigs and derail discussions with straw men and red herrings.

Anonymous "reviews" on some review sites attack me and my business with lies. The timing of this starting was when I started regularly commenting using my name regarding local PT corrupted thinking. Some terms used even mirror terms I have used, such as the word "unhinged" that I used in a political cartoon featuring a local status quo tool. Think Cherry Street.

A "review" now states that I am unhinged and regularly "yell" at people. There are many similar. They do little to impact a positive reality. It is one cost of speaking up.

The good news is that unlike local corrupted office holders and those that wannabe part of the power, my business does well due to a broad base of customers that seem to like myself and my business. A lot. The local power core is a closed system.

I suspect ...---... is a re branded anonymous commenter that retired a certain attitude. Anyone could have many alter egos in the Leader.

I am Harvey Windle. I stand by what I carefully and sometimes imperfectly write, and am always ready to be publicly corrected or educated. "Unhinged" anonymous locals needing to please their corrupt tribe for cash and prizes (positions and jobs) define themselves and no one else. The Leader enables.

The City of Port Townsends government from City Attorney to City Manager to 3 time appointed mayor and most of the No Term Limit City Council are corrupt. Now they are bringing in new blood as Police Chief expected to ignore parking laws. "The City of Port Townsend" is the laws and codes on the books. Picking and choosing which to follow is simply corrupt.

Shelving the City Manager review after qualification issues were exposed is corrupt. Corrupt city players do more damage than some low life person using the Freedom of Information act to scam the public. I put my name on that observation and cite 17 million in debt, the 1.2 million dollar no public input concrete "park" at the visitor center, roads in decay now past fixing and more, including the illegitimate child of the City, the FWPDA. A corrupted tool of a city manager does not even cover parking in his "Engage PT" PR stunt. Corruption serving some.

By the way ...---... are you related to ...+++... ? The question mark is not part of the name.

Watch this comment space for %!#@^@# who will bring up the threat of bull dozing the ball field if anyone mentions the corrupted parking situation that benefits the Appointed Mayor.

Much respect to Tom Thiersch and others. Real people putting name and point of views on the line. Much disrespect to corrupted players keeping jobs and wanting power.

Wednesday, February 3