Hey, Olympia: Let Grays Harbor Show You How It’s Done

County Admin Bldg 2While state legislators seem to be looking at putting a hitch in everyone’s getalong regarding We The People’s access to public records, Grays Harbor is leading the way in the other direction. Via KUOW: ‘Abusive’ Info. Requests Lead to Push for Less Government Transparency:

Flooded with requests for public records, local officials want to put limits on how much information public servants have to make available to the public.  

The concepts have long been enshrined in Washington state law:

  • Information held by the government belongs to the people.
  • Public access to that information is essential to a functioning democracy.

But a parade of local officials called for new limits on that access at a hearing in Olympia on Thursday. …

officials said they want limits on how much time they are required to spend handling requests.

The legislation would let local governments set limits on how much time they spend responding to requests and prioritize which requests to handle first. It would also let them charge commercial requesters the full cost of staff time for responding to requests and create a commission, appointed by the governor, to resolve disputes over public records.

Open-government advocates said the move would hurt all requesters, not just the excessive ones.

Not to point out the obvious here or anything, but in a constitutional republic, We The People are The Boss. Government works for us. Not the other way around. So why is our government trying to limit our access to public records – which are ours in the first place?

Here’s an idea: If some yahoo like Tim Clemans wants to abuse the system, deal with him on an individual basis. Don’t limit access for everyone.

Isn’t this fun?

But fret not. There’s a bright spot. Right here in Grays Harbor.

At a time when state officials seemingly want to limit transparency in government, our very own Grays Harbor County Commissioners are headed in the opposite direction. (We call that “sunshine.” In case you forgot.) It looks like this, per the Grays Harbor County Commission web site:

On the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month the Commissioners will hold a workshop to discuss county business and planning. No decisions will be made in the meetings and there will not be a set agenda of topics. These meetings are open to the public.

That’s right, folks. Leave it to Olympia to gum up the works and muddy up government doin’s even more than they already are. But in Grays Harbor, our county leadership is promoting transparency in government. Check out Grays Harbor County Resolution No. 2016-004*. Specifically, the third “Whereas.”

Methinks this should at least rate some milk and cookies. How ’bout you?


*Note: There appears to be a discrepancy in the day these “open to the public” workshops are held. The web site specifies “1st and 3rd Tuesdays.” The resolution says “first and third Wednesdays” or as otherwise designated by the Board. A call to the commissioner’s office clarified that the workshop sessions are on first and third Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. Don’t be late.