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Friday, July 31, 2009

UPDATED (3) Jefferson County Loses Public Records Case Over Commissioner's Phone Records

UPDATE 3: Whoa. A cartoon about a Public Records Act case? Yes. See it here.

The Port Townsend Leader writes this story on a court ruling against Jefferson County which was attempting to withhold the public-phone system records of a county commissioner.

NOTE: Allied Law Group's Greg Overstreet and David Norman represented the records requestor.

UPDATE 1: The Peninsula Daily News writes this story on the case. And, no, the Public Records Act does not contain a "pizza privacy" exemption from disclosure. See RCW 42.56.001 - .904.

UPDATE 2: Scott Wilson, editor and publisher of the the Port Townsend Leader, writes this brutal editorial pointing out the folly of the County's "pizza defense." Good reading.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Federal Reserve Gets to Keep Bailout Facts Secret

Why should people get to know how their money is being spent?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Signers of Anti-Gay Marriage Referendum Seek to Block Release of Their Names

The (Everett) Herald reports that some of those signing Referendum 71, which would prevent gay marriage in Washington, are going to federal court in an attempt to prevent the disclosure of the signers' names. The pro-gay marriage group who requested the signatures says it will post the signers' names on the Internet. The same thing happened in California with Prop. 8, where a map showed the addresses of all signers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Public Records Show .... Gov't Employee Infiltrated Anti-War Group

The Olympian reports that a Ft. Lewis government employee apparently used an alias to join an Olympia-area anti-war group. How do we know this? A public records request.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Auditor Sonntag Wins Open Gov't Award

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports that State Auditor Brian Sonntag has won the James Andersen award by the Washington Coalition for Open Government.

We have worked with Sonntag and know him to be the real deal when it comes to open government. Congratulations, Governor. (Under the constitutional line of succession when the Governor is absent, Sonntag was the governor for about three days around Christmas and technically is a former Governor so he retains the title of "Governor." He laughs when people call him that.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

UPDATED: Obama Follows (Bad) Bush Policy on Release of White House Visitor Logs

So much for "change" at least on open government.

UPDATE: OK, it looks like the Obama administration is backtracking and will, indeed, release the names of the health care executives who met with the President recently.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Arlington School District Open Meetings Suit

The (Everett) Herald reports that the Arlington School District is being sued for violating the Open Public Meetings Act.

Looks like this story is getting wide coverage: a Portland TV news station has it.

NOTE: Allied Law Group's Greg Overstreet and David Norman represent the public-interest law firm bringing the case, the Center for Justice.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

City Settles Public Records Act Case for $175,000

The City of Prosser, reports the Yakima Herald-Republic, settled a public records case for $175,000.

This is an expensive law to violate ... except when you can pay for it with other people's money (tax payers).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Putting Up Gates to Keep Public Requestors Out

We're not making this up.

Thanks for the tip from a secret informant who we call "and Bernstein."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Televise the U.S. Supreme Court

This editorial from The (Everett) Herald argues for the U.S. Supreme Court to do what the Washington State Supreme Court has done for years: televise oral arguments.

TVW here in our state deserves enormous credit for televising (and archiving) state Supreme Court arguments. People here are better connected to their judicial branch because of it.

Idaho Last in State Campaign-Finance Disclosure Laws

The Spokesman-Review writes this editorial about the recent last-place finish of Idaho in a national survey of states' campaign-finance disclosure laws. Washington was near the top, again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

State Bar Journal Article About Og-Blog

The Washington State Bar Association's Bar News has an article on og-blog (and other law blogs). Here's what it says about us:

Why blog? "Simple," says Greg Overstreet, a principal of Allied Law Group. "It's fun, it's good for business, and it allows me to advocate for a right I care very deeply about." Based in Olympia, Overstreet runs the firm's Open Government Blog (, reviewing news, legislation, and cases that involve the state's Public Records and Open Public Meetings acts. One of his primary reasons for the site is to "maintain the firm's profile among our client groups." The biggest surprise for Overstreet? "Our clients get hooked reading the blog."

Overstreet frequently gets calls from news reporters who need an expert quote for a specific dispute. Weeks later, he will hear from a potential client who read the newspaper story. The blog earns him a quasi-journalist status, with people sending tips and insider information about open-government issues from around the state. (A reporter once asked Overstreet to hold a story, telling him, "I can't get scooped by a blogger.")

Og-blog has been a lot of fun. Thanks for reading it. We know how many of you there are out there, and it's a bigger number than you'd think.