Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Is it serendipity?

Happy Sunshine Week! Is it serendipity that my birthday always falls during Sunshine Week? I hope so. I filed a RTK for the type of bait and method used to distribute it and was told yesterday that Mt. Lebanon needs to do a 30 day legal review. I wonder which of the thirty exceptions, including records related to personal or public security, DNA/RNA records, autopsy records, Social Security numbers, personal financial information, personal email addresses, marital status, identity of a covert law enforcement officer, home address of judges or law enforcement, confidential source records, and victim information, MTL is going to cite this time. They're just playing with me now.

In the spirit of Sunshine Week, the executive director of the PA Office of Open Records sent the following email to our state representatives.

Good afternoon and happy Sunshine Week!

Pursuant to Section 1310(a)(9) of the Right-to-Know Law, the Office of Open Records has prepared its Annual Report for 2015. The full report is attached; if you have any difficulties opening the attachment, it’s also available online:

Some highlights from this year’s Annual Report include:
·         2,926 appeals filed in 2015, a record total.
·         1,794 appeals involving local agencies vs. 1,132 involving state agencies.
·         For the first time, the Annual Report provides a county-by-county looks at local agency appeals.
·         5 of the top appellate court decisions involving the RTKL.
·         10 examples of records accessed via the RTKL.
·         54 training sessions conducted across the state for about 1,500 people.
·         A look at what the OOR might face in the future.

Today is the first day of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. As part of Sunshine Week, I’ll be analyzing some of the data in the OOR Annual Report, along with some data that didn’t make the final report – and more – on our blog and Twitter feeds:

Thank you for your support of the Office of Open Records, and please let me know if you have any questions at all.


Erik Arneson Executive Director
Office of Open Records
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North St., Plaza Level
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225

My court date is still April 11, 2016. If you haven't done so already, please consider visiting The Fight for the Right to Know. A comment in the following op/ed, To force government to be transparent, go directly to the campaign trail: Terry Mutchler, a supporter writes:

It is pathetic if citizens must get a lawyer and file legal suits to have our "public servants" comply with transparency laws.  These politicians are not serving us.  Instead they are protecting corruption and cronies.  I agree that citizens and activists need to keep the heat on.  There cannot be too much transparency when it deals with the actions of bureaucrats and politicians. 

Happy Sunshine Week!

1 comment:

Barbara S. said...

I couldn't agree more that it is truly pathetic that legal battles must be fought at the expense of citizens (and other communities) just to hold back the power-grasping of our imperious local officials. This is NOT the Mt. Lebanon that we grew up in. It can't even pretend to be...