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Thursday, June 30, 2011

UW Settles Public Records Act Case Over Baby Einstein Study

The Seattle Times reports that the UW settled a Public Records Act case seeking access to the UW data used to call into question the effectiveness of the Baby Einstein children's educational products. The Baby Einstein creators, who wondered why the UW study said their product was bad, asked for the UW's study data. How hard could it be to provide the data in a scientific study?

Pretty hard, apparently. After several years and 18 months of vigorous litigation, the UW finally turned over the study data. However, it looks like the UW has multiple versions of the data, which is not exactly the scientific method. Serious questions have been raised about the UW's anti-Baby Einstein study.

NOTE: Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group was co-counsel for the records requestors in this case.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Puyallup and Small-Group Closed Meetings

This editorial from The (Tacoma) News Tribune looks at the issue of small-group closed meetings. That's where less than a quorum of a governing body meets with key staff. And then another group of the governing body does so. And so on. Pretty soon, the whole governing body knows how they want to vote, and they quickly do so in an open meeting. Magic.

Tri-City Herald Editorial on "Executive Privilege" Ruling

This editorial from the Tri-City Herald discusses the recent ruling by a Thurston County Superior Court that the Governor has an "executive privilege" to withhold certain public records.

Richland May Have Violated the Open Public Meetings Act

This story from the Tri-City Herald describes what an OPMA violation looks like.

Friday, June 24, 2011

City Council Meeting (In Small Groups) With City Manager

The age-old issue of sub-quorum groups of a governing body meeting with high-level agency staff. This time it's in Puyallup.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lower Courts Uphold Governor's "Executive Privilege" to Withhold Documents

This will go to the state Supreme Court for sure. But two lower courts have ruled against disclosure.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seattle Files Suit to Allow Disclosure of Disciplined Police Officers' Names

The City of Seattle, not known as a paragon of open government, has filed suit to overturn a labor arbitrator's ruling that the City's union contract prevents the release of names of police officers who have been disciplined.

The arbitrator's ruling will be overturned. People cannot enter into contracts to violate a law and then say, "I would follow the law, but that means I would break my contract. So, sorry. I can't follow the law."

The City of Seattle is doing the right thing. (It felt weird to write that.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Story of Getting Public Records

The (Everett) Herald writes this on their efforts to obtain public records in a criminal case.