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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fabulous TNT Editorial on Public Records Hutzpah

The Yiddish word "hutzpah" describes the gall of someone who, for example, murders their parents and then begs for mercy from a judge because they are an orphan. Hutzpah is using a self-inflicted problem to try and get out of the consequences of it.

The (Tacoma) News Tribune perfectly describes the public records version of hutzpah in this editorial.

Public officials who really dislike transparency will often complain how much time and money it costs them to provide public records. (Well, first of all, providing public records is part of their job and we pay lots of money for them to do it. But anyway.)

The hutzpah is when the complaining officials themselves are the very reason there are so many requests to begin with. They do various questionable things that legitimately raise questions among the public--then when the officials receive public records requests to find out what they're up to, they complain about getting the requests. They should look at their own actions and see if maybe that has something to do with all the requests.

This TNT editorial describes this phenomenon as it relates to the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam. A magnificent editorial.