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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 20, 2008 at 3:33 PM

Open government

Open wide for the public

I wish to wholeheartedly commend The Seattle Times for your editorial Sunday, “Change Washington law to open government.”

Last Wednesday the Public Records Accountability Executive Committee voted 7-3 urging the Legislature to pass legislation to open up our state government secrets to public scrutiny.

In 1971, the Open Government Act became law. There were originally only 10 exemptions from this act. Since then, more than 300 have been tacked on, making the act useless.

Three amazing Washington state Supreme Court decisions on the public’s right to know and the initiative process stager the imagination of a circus clown. They have slammed the door shut on the public’s right to know and the initiative process.

In Hangartner v. City of Seattle, the court stupidly said that government agencies can claim attorney-client privilege even when there is no threat of litigation. In declaring Tim Eyman’s Initiative 247 unconstitutional, the court held that voters didn’t know what they were doing when they overwhelmingly supported the initiative.

If you can forget that the court only decides question of law and this was a question of fact, one starts to get dizzy with the anti-democratic direction the court is taking. They are out there with Buck Rogers in the 25th century.

No one knows when the court will land on solid legal ground, but it sure will be one heck of a train wreck when it does.

— Harry Foster, Freeland

Comments | More in Politics, Washington Legislature

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