Have you ever tried to learn a new skill from someone who peppers their instructions with, “Oh, it is so easy!! All you have to do is heat the cast iron pan–did you get one of those?–to 415 and then add the olive oil infused with tarragon–you grew that yourself, right?…This is such an easy recipe! You’ll totally love making this!!!”
Sara aka Maverick the WikiFOIAer had one of her bright ideas yesterday.
It was, “Why don’t we pick some obscure subject about which we know nothing, file an open records request, track the process and write about it here so people can see what steps you really have to go through and how long it takes.”
Maverick may have been thinking that in my enthusiasm for encouraging people to use the open records process, I tend to understate the challenges.
On “Blog Action Day” a few weeks ago, we suggested a few ways that ordinary people can use open records to write about environmental stories. One of the ideas is to figure out if the gubernatorial mansion in your state is owned by the public. If so, try filing an open records request to find out how much energy is used at the mansion.
That’s really a subject I know nothing about, so we settled on it.
Join us on Fridays as we walk through the steps we take to file that FOIA.
Since I live in clean and open Wisconsin, I bet that I could probably just call the Governor’s Mansion, and ask them, and they’d tell me. But it’s not like that everywhere, so we’re going to do this the hard way.