Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.



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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 17, 2012 9:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Mayor Creepy: Portland State will be better than NYU. The next post in this blog is UC Nike students tiring of shakedowns. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oregon cities lobby for secret government

It's breathtaking, when you think about it: Local government in the Portland area has millions and millions of dollars to hire p.r. flacks and tweeters to spin the facts for the politicians' and bureaucrats' benefit. But when a resident asks to see a public record, City Hall whines that paying someone to go find it is costing them too much money.

"The thing which amazed me is there's only one opponent to government transparency, and it's the government. Lobbyists for government agencies, like Metro, like the City of Portland fought against having a greater level of transparency," [state attorney general John] Kroger says.

There ought to be a law that no press releases can be written by government flacks until government is current in filling public records requests. [Via UO Matters, which has made a few.]

Comments (8)

Ellen Rosemblum, a former appeals court judge, says she's particularly troubled by how many kinds of records still don't see the light of day.

"Maybe we can use modern technology a little more effectively so we can persuade our municipalities that it's not going to break the bank for them to do this. Perhaps we can even share the costs in some ways. It's scary to add yet one more thing to the plate of these broken budgets."


Broken budgets but plenty of dough to fire up the street car for "Hales No!"

Broken budgets but plenty of dough to create another urban renewal property tax black hole.

Broken budgets but plenty of dough to make fancy full-color PR gag-inducing propaganda.

Broken budgets but plenty of dough to take expensive junkets to hither and yon.

Broken budgets but FFFing forget making our records available via modern electronic means.

I hope Rosenblum means it. The fact Frohnmayer endorsed her makes me skeptical. But it would be hard to be as much of a disappointment on this front as John Kroger was!

Sounds like she's going to be too busy making sure our street kids and unemployed creatives can get plenty of legalized doobie to worry about such issues.

There ought to be a law that no press releases can be written by government flacks until government is current in filling public records requests.

AMEN!

The funny thing about all this is that each of these government agencies employ several people to deal with the public.

But they won't hire someone to deal with public records requests.

No, that each citizen must pay for out of their own pockets.

So much for even the slightest hint of transparency in Oregon government, at all levels.

It's truly them vs us.

Whine. Moan. Gnash teeth. Rage impotently at your keyboard about those baddies in municipal government who won't answer public records requests.

So, in each municipality; each county; do an initiative petition that the "X" government may not charge any individual citizen for costs of researching responses to PRA requests, but may charge actual cost per page for copies made. If you want to avood a ludicrous (see, City of Portland) per page cost, limit the costs to those charged per page by the Kinkos in the town.

That way the local entity can't kill a requestor with up front fees for staff time to research the request, and the requestor can review the records at a local govt. entity conference room and decide what, if anything, to order copies of.

It won't get enough signstures to get on the ballot the first, second, or third time it gets tried in "XYZtown", but eventually it will pass.

Sadly, most of the complainers who whine, moan, gnash their teeth, and rage at their keyboards aren't willing to make the effort to do anything effective.

"Sadly, most of the complainers who whine, moan, gnash their teeth, and rage at their keyboards aren't willing to make the effort to do anything effective."

~~~> "We" shouldn't need to do anything. The people that make the laws need to do the right thing.

Why is it that the public has to always be on the offensive when it comes to government.

So somebody write a law that says gov. agencies include a public records package with each project. It just makes sense that all the details the public might need be available online. That is, if it really is an open process. Not hard, not expensive to do concurrent with whatever the project is, I would think.


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