Here at SSOR, we are breaking our rule that the coveted and increasingly prestigious Sunshine Troublemaker of the Week is for ordinary citizens, as opposed to the hardworking members of the fourth estate. We figure that ordinary citizens have an even harder time getting public documents than members of the regular press.
In this case, the Carolina Forest Chronicle is being treated with the same degree of non-respect as an ordinary citizen, and we therefore feel compelled to acknowledge them and welcome them to the storied ranks of the STOTWs.
We heard of the plight of the CFC from another South Carolina newspaper, the Horry Independent, which reports that Horry County has advised the CFC that it will cost $284 to fulfill a CFC request for public records.
Why will it cost that much? Because “extracting the information from the county’s computer storage network is a costly and time-consuming endeavor.”
What the CFC wanted was copies of speeding tickets written along Carolina Forest roads in a six-month period starting November 1, 2007 and ending May 1, 2008.
When the CFC got the $284 estimate, they asked for a waiver of the fees, as is their right under South Carolina’s open records law. South Carolina law allows a fee waiver when the information that would be attained through the records request is in the public interest, as opposed to someone who wants public information for a purely private or for a commercial interest.
However, Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said ix-nay to that:
“These fees have been established for the average consumer and are charged equitably across the board. As previously stated, your request has not been denied and will be fulfilled upon payment.”
CFC: If you read this post, email us for your engraved wall certificate. Carry on with our admiration and gratitude.