Sunshine Week 2018 (A Methodical Approach)

Writing about a topic is a deliberate, often slow, process. Something happens – perhaps of concern – but one may not address it immediately. A bit of waiting can be a sound response. Along the way, an original perspective may change, and a project grow larger (or smaller). See Steps for Blogging on a Policy or Proposal. […]

Sunshine Week 2018 (City, District, and State)

Local readers may have heard, as I have heard, that area officials know that there are ways around municipal ordinances and school district policies on open government. There’s no surprise in hearing this: there is no human construct that cannot be circumvented; there are few professing a public interest who do not simultaneously feel the […]

Daylight (Part 3 in a Series)

One finds oneself with a question, when there are gaps in a public record, when there are easily-avoidable deficiencies of open government: What will one do about it? A good method in this matter is deliberate, dispassionate, and diligent. A few thoughts: 1. Foundation. One looks at state and local provisions for public records and […]

Midnight (Part 2 in a Series)

Open government is right both in itself and in consequence: a free society confers political power only for limited & enumerated purposes. Those who confer this power have a right of oversight and a sensible obligation to assure that power’s exercise remains limited & enumerated. The right derives both naturally and by positive law. In […]

The Newspaper-Caused Public Records Problem

Not far from Whitewater, Janesville’s local newspaper finds itself in an access-to-information conflict with the Janesville School District.  There’s no surprise in any of this.  (Quick note: I’m using that paper as an example because it’s close-at-hand.  One could find other examples easily enough.) For years that paper has ridiculed citizens’ petition efforts, toadied to business […]

4 Points About Public Records Requests

So a local paper complains that a local school superintendent won’t comply with a public records request, won’t put the paper on a media contact list, and simply ‘must’ improve communications.   A few points — 1.  Compliance with a public records request isn’t a ‘communications’ issue; it’s a legal issue, of rights of residents […]

The Public Records Law Still Stands

After a push to alter Wisconsin’s Public Records Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31-19.39), we’re now secure with the original law intact.   Below one will find a recording of Wisconsin A.G. Brad Schimel’s Open Government Summit, held earlier this week at the Concourse in Madison.   J.B. Hollen, Schimel’s immediate predecessor, started strongly in favor of the […]

Biting the Hand That Fed Him

Janesville City Manager Eric Levitt has decamped to Simi Valley, California. Readers will recall that Mr. Levitt touted the supposed benefits of a Generac-supporting ‘Innovation Express’ bus costing hundreds of thousands in public money. He kindly visited Whitewater last budget season to ask Whitewater taxpayers to kick in for a private company’s needs. (See, Whitewater’s […]

Polling and Public Records

Charles Franklin, a UW-Madison professor and pollster is now visiting at Marquette. He’ll be conducting polls on Wisconsin politics (recall, other topics) while a visiting professor. Embedded below is a brief interview of Franklin, conducted last week. Watch Polling specialist assesses recall movement on PBS. See more from Here and Now. Writing at Fighting Bob, […]