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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Seattle P-I Op-Ed Piece on Fixing Soter in the Legislature

Toby Nixon and Jonathan Bechtle write this op-ed in the Seattle P-I on the damage done by the Soter decision.

"This decision is the latest brick in a wall being built between the public and public documents. In 2004 the wall's foundation was laid with the court's decision in the case of Hangartner v. City of Seattle, in which the traditional attorney-client privilege was applied to the Public Records Act, shielding communications between Seattle and its attorneys despite no anticipated litigation. Since then a trend has developed of government bodies having attorneys prepare documents and sit in on meetings, just to claim attorney-client privilege. Keeping all communication between agencies and their attorneys secret is a recipe for bad and unaccountable decision-making and for potential corruption."

Toby Nixon is from the Washington Coalition for Open Government and Jonathan Bechtle is from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.