Keep Washington Safe

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

A brand new website for federal public access

In Sunshine Laws on March 15, 2011 at 2:19 am

By Karen Koehler

 

The Washington State Legislature has not (yet) caved to government pressure to roll back the laws on  public disclosure requests.

The government’s responsiveness under the Freedom of Information Act is widely considered a barometer of how transparent it is.  “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing,” President Obama said when he took office.”

This week, our nation’s Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced the unveiling of a website, foia.gov.  It provides the public with a centralized resource that details how to file requests for government records.

What a novel idea.  Helping citizens understand how to file a FOIA request.  Instead of trying to shut them out.

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Government lobbies for itself

In Governmental Immunity on March 6, 2011 at 6:59 pm

By Karen Koehler

Government entities are in trouble for lobbying the Legislature on our dime and not reporting.    69 complaints were filed last year.  The Olympia-based Evergreen Freedom Foundation is the watchdog that filed these complaints.   The Public Disclosure Commission is looking into about half of them.

According to the Associated Press, Washington state regulators have fined four government entities so far.

 

Gendler chastises McKenna for double speak

In Gendler Injured Cyclist Case, Governmental Immunity, Rob McKenna on March 5, 2011 at 5:43 am

By Karen Koehler

 

If the government messes up, the government should make things right.  In the case of Mickey Gendler, the governmental mess up caused him to be paralyzed from the neck down.  For life.

In an op-ed to The Seattle Times, Mickey Gendler slams Attorney General Rob McKenna:

My case is a great example of how government accountability is an important catalyst to change government behavior and fix dangerous conditions to make all of us safer. I sustained a life-changing spinal cord injury due to a defective road condition. The state knew the road was defective and dangerous because of a similar crash that occurred there but did nothing to correct it. The state Legislature is now considering whether to cap damage-award limits at $1 million to $2 million, calling these caps “very generous.” But the state admitted that my future medical expenses alone will exceed that cap. McKenna even called my settlement “appropriate” because the state “erred.” McKenna added, “If the state messes up, then someone who is harmed ought to be compensated by the state.”

The Attorney General’s job is to protect citizens.  Not to  protect the government at the expense of citizens.