The parking lot footage from the G-A School District football game needs to be cleared up NOW – not AFTER the election

October 22 – A few Fridays ago, people left the Greencastle-Antrim football game to find flyers on their vehicles attacking a group of people running for the G-A school board as a group.

A video of the parking lot was released through a Right to Know to one of the candidates, but the majority of the two hours was sped-up. Only a small portion of it was slow enough to see anything.

When asked if it all could be slowed down, the answer was it needs to be legally reviewed.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the importance of this footage during the Big Talk on First News.

Jansen said, “So that could delay this until after the election.”

Ryan said, “That’s not going to delay this until after the election. You need to fast track this. What do we say about fast tracking something like this? This is immediately important here.”

Barkdoll said, “If I’m the person requesting it, my advice to them is go ahead and get the CD as it is, knowing that it’s just the raw footage. The district is going to argue that legally when you file a Right to Know request, they’re not required to alter whether it’s paperwork or in this case video to suit the purpose of what the person needs. So I think the way around this could be the requester, just give it to me, we will take care of isolating the information we need. Now I think the concern of course is going to be the district may say well we can’t give you the raw footage yet either. We still need to review things. So they need to try to do what they can to speed this up because again if they’re going to drag their feet until after the election, the issue in question here is going to lose its effectiveness because it appears from the video that there’s enough clues that they have a pretty strong suspicion on who this is based on they can see the person and a vehicle. The other thing that really strikes me and we talked about the last couple of days, could there be some kind of an ordinance violation here for soliciting or distributing materials on school district property? Well the school district, they’ve come out now and said we don’t have a policy on the distribution of materials. So the mere distribution itself is apparently not going to be any kind of a violation of a local ordinance, but I’ll be you see the board get this on an agenda quickly. This clearly I think is an oversight, a blind spot. They probably never had to address it before, but I’m surprised because most districts that I’m familiar with, they’ve had longstanding policies in place about non-solicitation, non-distribution of materials, whether it’s election or commercial materials on the campus of a school district and somehow over the years, Greencastle never addressed that.”

“That’s so bizarre,” Jansen said. “It does have to be addressed and also I think if there was anyone involved with these campaigns directly doing this, that’s got to be brought out to the public’s attention and that person should have to suffer the consequences and their campaign should have to suffer the consequences if they’ve allowed someone to do this. But we should know that before the election. Could he just ask for the small portions of that tape so they wouldn’t have to do two hours of review? Just do where the car is, where the person is and just get those small portions. They should be able to cover that.”

Ryan said, “But the school district’s going to drag their feet on this.”

Jansen pointed out, “But I’m saying if they only have to review ten minutes instead of two hours, that gives them less of an excuse to delay this.”

Ryan said, “You would think the school district would want to get out in front of this and not hold this request hostage. This is an immediate impact. It has direct impact.”

Jansen added, “We hear, oh they have busy schedules. No, this should be priority number one.”

“Right,” Ryan said, “And if you’re in Greencastle, you should be screaming bloody murder on this one because if this is really all connected the way that it appears to be connected, then there’s got to be consequences here.”

Barkdoll said, “What the school district could be doing, too, under these Right to Know laws, they can get an extension of up to 30 days to produce materials in any case and of course that gets you well beyond the election. I do think this case needs to be given different treatment, more priority because of the issue, because of the timing, with the election coming up here very soon. I do think it may be a reasonable request that I don’t need the full two hours. I’m requesting this portion of it. There ought to be a way in today’s tech world that someone could cut that thing very quickly, give them the CD or whatever format that it’s in if it’s going to be an internet link and then let the requester look at more carefully to get to the bottom of it. One other point on this, now we know that there’s no violation of local school district ordinance or policy on materials, there still very much may be a campaign and election law violation. Those flyers do not say who paid for it. It doesn’t say which candidate that it’s from, so again, if there’s evidence that this was done from a candidate or in coordination with a candidate, there very much could be a violation of state campaign and election law.”