Author Archives: Leslie Graves

Starting 2010 off to a sunshiny start?

No, because Mark Sanford’s attorneys have filed a reverse FOIA to forbid the North Pole from releasing its Naughty List in response to an open records request.

Illinois gets its chief FOIA enforcer

Lisa Madigan, attorney general in Illinois, has chosen someone on her staff to be the state’s Top Sunshine Cop.

California AOC to let some sun in?

The California Administrative Office of the Courts is having a bad year, which recently got worse.

Possibly to avoid becoming the CRU of the judicial world, the AOC is endorsing a new set of rules that would, for the first time, provide access to the powerful organization’s business and administrative records.

Employee salary records in a New Jersey borough

The Concerned and Active Residents of Mount Arlington asked Mt. Arlington three times for documents relating to “all borough employees, their annual salary, title, position, payroll record and length of service.”

A local newspaper asked for the same records in 2008 and was denied by the borough, which maintained it had no such records.

The citizen group has now filed a lawsuit against Mt. Arlington in the New Jersey Superior Court for Morris County.

Oregon AG boosts focus on public access

John KrogerOregon’s attorney general,  has appointed a public records czar.

(Newspapers: Let’s stop calling heads of departments “czars” in 2010.  When you call someone in charge of public access to government records a czar…it’s time to Stop Using That Word.)

Attorney Michael Kron is Kroger’s designee to develop standards for government transparency in Oregon.

Besides designating one person as the go-to for questions and standards about public access, Kroger has made other improvements, such as putting this manual online. It used to cost $25.00.   The AG’s office has also produced a Citizen’s Guide to Oregon’s Sunshine Law.

Supreme Court to hear text message case

New York Times: Justices to hear text-message case.


  • A police sergeant in California sent sexually explicit text messages on his government-issued pager.
  • His police chief and several others in the department read the messages.
  • Sergeant Jeff Quon sued, saying his privacy rights were violated.

The Ninth Circuit upheld Sergeant Quon’s view of things.

Although no FOIA was involved, if the Supremes rule in favor of Quon, that will make it very difficult for records requestors to obtain copies of private e-mails and text messages sent on government equipment.

Progress in Wichita?

Wichita’s vice-mayor, Jim Skelton, has weighed in on the side of my pal Bob Weeks. Weeks has requested documents from the Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau. That agency has denied his requests. At issue is whether the agency should be considered public from the POV of the Kansas Sunshine Laws.

The agency says it is private. Now, Skelton has argued that agencies that receive city money should consider their documents to be public.

Phantom congressional districts

I believe in government websites disclosing information, but according to the story today about phantom congressional districts, just because something is on a government website, doesn’t mean it’s true.

Anyone know about Michigan poll taxes?

We got a request today from someone “researching the history (specifically as it relates to Michigan) of poll taxes, vouchers and other means of limiting access, to either a poll, the court etc.”

In Michigan, to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the litigant must have something called “an affidavit of merit”, and that costs money.

The researcher wants to pursue the line of argument that requiring these affidavits of merit serves as a barrier to the court, and that in turn violates an individual’s constitutional right to redress.

Ohio GOP wants teacher information

And lots of it:

Ohio’s Republican Party recently requested the names, home addresses, phone numbers and e-mails of all licensed educators in the state’s database.

The Ohio Education Association has asked for a restraining order.

The Ohio GOP says it wants the information so it can communicate more readily with Ohio’s teachers:

“We’re only trying to let Ohio teachers know where our candidates stand on education issues, and we’re no longer going to allow the leadership of the OEA to spread lies and attacks without an appropriate response.”