Friday Link Round Up – brought to you by El Pescador.

I just finished the best lunch I’ve had in a while from El Pescador on E. Wash. I looked around the interwebs to see if they have a website, but couldn’t find one. In lieu of that, here is a link to a glowing review in Isthmus. Delish!

There were some interesting blog posts this week about open records. To start off, here is one from Blogging for Michigan: Sheriff – “I am not responding to the blog”. In it, blogger Christine is very pleased with the way a local sheriff reacted to her FOIA request (filed on her behalf by Zarko Research and Consulting.

Next, The Indiana Law Blog brings up an interesting question: Is a public employee’s history of internet usage subject to public records access? I have to agree with their conclusion — unless a user’s surfing history is complied into a document anyway, it’s not a public record.

In Judge Horne: “I am not ruling that every record in a public official’s possession is a public record.” Ric James, the blogger at Hooda Thunk finds this most recent ruling in the Sally Mann case (he’s got the history of the case within the post) much more agreeable than the one another judge had made previously. I’m in agreement with the first ruling myself – it doesn’t matter to me where the records were produced, at home or in the office, if they were made to further public business then they should be treated as public documents.

Finally, here’s a post from a school board memberin Loudon County, VA: FOIA & gadgets. He’s getting a little pissy about the fact that all communications regarding school business are a matter of public record, and is combating it by storing all those messages back and forth on dedicated devices.


1 Response to “Friday Link Round Up – brought to you by El Pescador.”

  1. 1 10 feet tall and Bulletproof February 1, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Msr. Sunbeam,
    The fact is that all public impacting documents were turned over by the State’s appointed custodians. (see the problem?)
    Ric and I are of one mind in that maybe a medium should be employed that removes the decision from the elected official.
    The hinge, it seems, is that one of the e-mails was proven to be non-existant, and a reasonable person could believe that the absence of that document is enough to bring reasonable doubt that the other alleged e-mails, supposedly being withheld, even exist.

    Think about what your argument for all documents entails. If the elected individual recieves secure and private bank information or investment information, under Worcester’s ruling, it is now public documents because Worcester did not lineate exactly what is public…he said “all”.

    Worcester’s ruling was too far reaching. Setting up an intermediate and nuetral party to determine what is public is a safer and fairer argument. And I say this as someone who is requesting another FOIA from yet another local Supervisor who discussed “something” with one of the biggest pro-developer endorsing politicos in the county. That FOIA has also been handed redacted papers , and indicated the total number of e-mails between these two parties, but not releasing them for inspection. If Ms. Mann wins this one, I just got a pass to get my FOIA moved forward under the same notion. And yet, I’m against the “all or nothing” approach because I think it is overstepping boundaries.

    Elected officials do still have private lives and are people, too. We need an intermediate and unbiased point of decision in sorting their documents for release, and that relieves them of the decision as custodians, but still let’s the truth shine thru while guarding against political witch hunts at the same time.

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