Monday, October 05, 2009

Access to Public Information

We chuckled last week when we came on the story of a local blogger in Portsmouth, Oh., getting cussed out royally by the city's mayor for requesting access to public documents. The mayor wrote an e-mail to the blogger:
If there is anything else that I can do for you, which is required by law, don't hesitate to call my office. If it isn't required by law then don't bother asking, because I think that you're a worthless piece of s**t and I wouldn't p**s on you if you were on fire (my opinion). You're a poor, lonely, jealous, old man with aspirations of being a writer. You write your lies and uneducated opinions on people and issues from behind the safety of your slobber stained keyboard with the hope that somebody will read them that doesn't know you and believe that you're more than the pitiful, broke-down, lizard-looking thing that you are, in my opinion. Get a life old man. On second thought, don't bother..............

Apparently, it felt good to get that off his chest, though the mayor also coughed up the requested documents.

The recent local case of stone-walling public access to governmental documents, as recounted in Deborah Greene's letter to the editor in Friday's Watauga Democrat (scroll down to "Open records should not be expensive") is not as colorful in its language but is in some ways more egregious than the Portsmouth case.

It's one thing if a rattled superintendent of schools came up with those road blocks on the fly. It would be far more troubling if he did so on the advice of School Board counsel.

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