Highlights from the blog and news feed
Oct. 3, 2014
Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of groups and individuals dedicated to ensuring the transparency of state and local governments in Colorado by promoting freedom of the press, open courts and open access to government records and meetings.
Video: School district transparency panel co-sponsored by CFOIC and Chalkbeat Colorado
To help parents, teachers, students and taxpayers better understand how to use the Colorado Open Records Act and the state’s Open Meetings Law, the CFOIC and Chalkbeat Colorado teamed up to present a lively and informative panel discussion: “Transparency 101: How to exercise your rights to information and open meetings in your school district.”
The Arvada resident who sued his city for using secret ballots to fill a vacant council seat has appealed a judge’s ruling that he lacked legal standing to challenge Arvada for violating Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
Following campaign cash in Colorado – what you need to know
The 2014 campaign season is in full swing and if you’re following #copolitics on Twitter, you’ve got a handle on the never-ending spin. But the data often tells a different story, especially when it comes to campaign contributions and spending.
A committee of state lawmakers finalized the “Blue Book” wording that explains Proposition 104, a statewide ballot initiative that would require school boards in Colorado to let the public observe collective bargaining negotiations. One aspect of the proposal that remains murky, however, is whether it would require school boards to discuss their negotiation strategies in public.
Aurora theater shooting trial can be broadcast, judge rules
FromThe Denver Post: The news media will be able to broadcast a closed-circuit feed of the Aurora movie theater trial but will not be able to film the proceedings with its own cameras, according to a court ruling.
Colorado Springs again refuses to disclose results of Sky Sox stadium survey
From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): The idea of moving the Sky Sox baseball stadium downtown as part of the City for Champions projects is a distant memory. But a piece of information used to make the decision to drop the Sky Sox from the City for Champions lineup is still a secret.
From The Watch (Western San Juan Mountains):With the Montrose Board of County Commissioners’ unanimous approval of a settlement agreement on Sept. 15, the Colorado Open Records Act lawsuit filed against nine Montrose County officials by the operators of the Black Canyon Jet Center will cost now taxpayers more than $265,000.
Editorial: Forest Service plan for photo permits is ludicrous
From The Denver Post: At first you think it’s a gag: The Forest Service requiring costly permits for reporters to shoot video or photos in official wilderness areas. How could Americans — any Americans — be charged a fee to snap photos of this nation’s public lands?
Aurora could release theater shooting report within two weeks
From The Denver Post: The long-awaited review commissioned by the city of Aurora over its emergency response to the theater shooting could be released to the public within two weeks.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Stephen Collins filed an order Wednesday, saying he had made additional “but not all” redactions requested by Aurora on the theater analysis performed by the company TriData.
Collins gave the city until Oct. 7 to appeal his ruling.
In Colorado, police decide if public has access to body-cam footage
From Columbia Journalism Review: Police departments across Colorado, like their counterparts around the country, are rapidly embracing the use of body-mounted cameras worn by officers. While the move is generally applauded as a government-accountability measure, it raises a serious question: When and how will members of the public and the press have access to the footage?
Penrose parks and recreation district can't account for financial documents
From News5 (Colorado Springs): KOAA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, requested financial documents be provided by the Penrose Parks and Recreation District under the Colorado Open Records Act. The former treasurer and current director of communications have not responded to our request for information.
Sheriff Maketa withholds information, possibly violates U.S. Constitution
From KRDO Newschannel 13 (Colorado Springs): In his final 4 months as El Paso County Sheriff, Terry Maketa is withholding timely and possibly important safety information from a large segment of the public. It’s apparently in retaliation for KRDO Newschannel 13′s aggressive reporting into the scandal that surrounds him. One of the country’s top 1st Amendment attorneys says Sheriff Maketa’s latest move also violates the U.S. constitution.
Editorial: Allow TV cameras in courtroom for James Holmes trial
From The Denver Post: In one of the most high-profile criminal trials in Colorado history, the state is seeking the death penalty against suspected Aurora theater shooter James Holmes. That should be reason enough for cameras to be allowed in the courtroom — to record every statement and allow scrutiny of the process that could result in the state putting someone to death.
From the Colorado Springs Independent: Opponents of Proposition 104, titled “School Board Open Meetings,” have their work cut out for them. The proposed change, which voters will consider in November, would open school board meetings at which teachers’ unions and other employee groups collectively bargain with school boards.
Citizens question Denver police oversight of body camera footage
From The Denver Post: When Denver Police Department’s leaders talk about their plans to field 800 body cameras within the force, they repeatedly talk about the credibility and transparency the cameras will bring. Yet, questions loom about how the footage will be used, including whether videos only will be released when it benefits the department while damning videos never see the light of day.
Editorial: Impact of pot taxes unknown in places with less than three shops
From Ouray County Plaindealer: As the City of Ouray moves closer to putting the question of whether or not to approve retail sales of marijuana within city limits in front of voters, one of the main arguments in favor of legalizing the trade is the added tax dollars. However, as we’ve found is the case in Ridgway, when there are fewer than three retail outlets in a governmental subdivision, the state of Colorado won’t segregate the tax revenue by city or county.
Who's afraid of Jon Caldara's school board sunshine?
From The Colorado Independent: Jon Caldara, the controversial president of the Independence Institute free-market think tank in Colorado, has succeeded in doing what many might see as the impossible. With his latest ballot initiative, he has pushed teachers unions and school board administrators into the same camp.
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