No hearing date has yet been set.
Monahan said he hadn't received the ruling, yet, but said he wasn't surprised by it.
"It's unfortunately a continuation of what I'm seeing as a reluctance by the city government to provide the information that we need as citizens to make a decision about the real cost and benefit of Section 8 housing in Ames," he said.
Assistant City Attorney Judy Parks said the next move for the city would be to sit down with all parties and work out a resolution, outside of court, if possible.
Parks said the temporary injunction gives the city time to review Section 8 participants' information. One of the sticking points of honoring the information request, Parks said, was that some Section 8 housing recipients have protection orders in place, and releasing address information may put those clients' safety in jeopardy.
"We don't ask for that information when they apply," Parks said, "and they are not required to tell us, so we don't know which Section 8 recipients have them. There is a real risk people could be hurt by the release of that information."
Monahan had initially sought a decade's worth of data on Section 8 addresses and on criminal activity in the city, and said he intended to map the two to see if there were any patterns. He said he was initially told that the city wouldn't release the addresses, but it later relented and began to examine whether the addresses were public information.
Unknown to Monahan, the city sent letters to all of its Section 8 recipients informing them of the Freedom of Information Act request and asking them to contact the city if they were subject to any restraining or protective orders that would make it illegal for their addresses to be known.
City attorney Doug Marek said he received a number of concerned phone calls based on this letter, and that city officials advised callers that if they were concerned about the release of the addresses, they could file for an injunction through the court system.
Monahan said he understands why the city may be reluctant to release the information, but maintained it was necessary for the public to understand the Section 8 program and how it is being administered locally.
"I think the city is erring on the side of caution in a way," he said. "I give them credit for not wanting to step on anybody's privacy. But at the same time, they could have worked with me from the get-go in a spirit of cooperation rather than resistance.
And I think now that we're finding that there are some real discrepancies in the way the program is being managed and how it's being described to the public, there may be some concern that information is going to get out that's potentially embarrassing."
For example, it was discovered last week that the "background checks" the city's housing coordinator, Vanessa Baker-Latimer, had said publicly and to the press were performed on all Section 8 recipients was in fact a staff-run examination of Iowa Courts Online records, which only reflect criminal charges incurred in Iowa. Baker-Latimer said a person moving into the state from outside would have no criminal record in Iowa, regardless of whether they'd been convicted of violent crimes elsewhere.
Baker-Latimer denied her statements about these background checks had been misleading.
Parks said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is concerned only with three types of crimes in Section 8 housing background checks: violent crimes, drug-related crimes and sex offenses.
"It's entirely possible, for example, to have someone charged with embezzling," Parks said. "That wouldn't disqualify them from being in the program."
Now, city officials are beginning to respond to residents' concerns about the program and how it's being handled. At an Ames City Council meeting this week, council member Jim Popken asked Baker-Latimer to prepare a report on whether Ames was meeting HUD guidelines in its administration of the program.
"I'm encouraged that the question was asked, but I'm discouraged that the City Council doesn't already know whether or not we're in compliance," Monahan said.
Monahan said he is going to establish an online presence for Ames residents to discuss their concerns about Section 8 housing. He's currently hosting a group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmesSection8/. Monahan said he has received a number of phone calls since news of his request to the city went public, and they've all been very supportive.
"I would say people are angry about how the program has been run," he said, "and they've all asked me the same question: How can I help?"
Luke Jennett can be reached at (515) 663-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org.