Every Quote by the Citizens in This Story Should be Bronzed…

Who makes the majority of FOI requests? People like these:

The Iowa Supreme Court this month will review an open-records case involving Riverdale residentsAllen DiercksMarie Randol and Tammie Picton, who for the past eight years have repeatedly fought their city for access to government records and meetings.

The trio of residents has sued the city three times, while the city has taken the residents to court at least four times — all in the name of open records and whether certain information should be made public.

“Riverdale has been kind of a lightning rod for this,” said Davenport attorney Michael Motto, who represents the City of Riverdale in the Supreme Court case. “They want to do the right thing.”
And again later:
“It was becoming a knock-down, drag-out, so the only option we had was to sue,” Randol said. “Lawsuits in this state are costly and not everybody can do it. It’s up to the private individual to come up with the funds to sue. And that’s downright ridiculous.”
Diercks questioned why residents have to uphold Iowa’s open records and meetings law on their own. He said trying to fight for public records is “horrible” and urged the creation of a new entity that isn’t politically involved to intervene and enforce the law.
“Here’s why I wanted budgets and things: …the city has increased my property taxes 109 percent in one year,” Diercks said. “As a private citizen, you’ve got to keep tabs on these things.”
Amen, brother. Amen.

A Nice Editorial On The Toothless Missouri Sunshine Law…

The Post-Dispatch has been a consistent voice on the need for reform in Missouri:

Missouri’s law, however, is too weak to put fear in the minds of those public officials afraid to do their business in the light of day, whether it be shouting from the rooftops or whispering in quiet city council chambers.

Brentwood hardly is alone. We brought attention on this page last month to the dilemma at Missouri Employers Mutual, a state-created workers compensation company whose board members are appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon and yet won’t give the public the most basic of public information.

The company qualifies for certain federal subsidies specifically by acting like a public board and giving the governor nominal control. But it refuses to follow the very law that gives citizens the kind of oversight that should be the trade-off for its public profit.

Part of the problem lies with Mr. Nixon, who, in 16 years as Missouri attorney general, mostly paid lip service to the importance of the Sunshine Law. Mr. Nixon’s successor as attorney general, Chris Koster, hasn’t been much better. Neither Democrat was, or has been, very willing to take government bodies to court to enforce the law. The same is true of local prosecutors.


Oklahoman Takes A Look At FOI Enforcement

Oklahoma state welcome sign on the west edge o...

Image via Wikipedia

Kicking off its Sunshine Week coverage, the Oklahoman takes a look at whether those who do the crime, do any time…

Oklahoma law requires public officials to do their business in the open, but sometimes a law isn’t enough.

Open government advocates complain enforcement of the law is nonexistent through much of the state, depriving citizens of their right to see how their state and local officials are making decisions and spending taxpayer money.

Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahomas-open-government-laws-are-rarely-enforced-expert-says/article/3548574#ixzz1GaId1WeD



Enhanced by Zemanta