Highlights from the blog and news feed
Sept. 26, 2016
Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of journalists, civic organizations and engaged citizens 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.
Zansberg: Why we shouldn't hide what police body cameras show
Congress and state legislatures that provide public funds to police departments to deploy body-worn cameras should attach strings to that purse and mandate that there be a strong presumption of public access to such recordings, with only narrow, carefully defined exceptions.
Data privacy worries shield thousands of Colorado test scores from public scrutiny
Chalkbeat Colorado: The move to redact more data from the state’s publicly available standardized test results is a dramatic shift for a state known for rich and easily accessible educational statistics. Inspired in part by the State Board of Education’s zeal for student privacy, the change has sparked a new debate pitting data transparency advocates against student privacy supporters.
DIA releases heavily redacted bids for terminal project, with no information about cost
The Denver Post: Negotiations are underway with the preferred bid team for a massive renovation of Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal, but a new release of bid documents leaves key questions unanswered — chief among them, how much the project might cost.
Pueblo police can withhold officer videos when 'contrary to public interest'
The Pueblo Chieftain: Pueblo police officers have worn body cameras for two years and those video recordings have provided graphic proof on occasion that officers had to shoot suspects or did so as a last resort.
Denver council president seeks to curtail colleagues' rambling
The Colorado Independent: Either Denver City Council members blather too much, or someone’s trying to muzzle critics of Mayor Michael Hancock. Those are the takes on a proposed rule seeking to limit the amount of time a member can comment and ask questions at public meetings.
Dispute over legal fees looms large in Sunshine Law suit against Pagosa Springs
The Pagosa Springs Sun: The Town of Pagosa Springs is disputing the reasonableness of local attorney Matt Roane’s fees in a suit that resulted in the finding that the town violated the Colorado Open Meetings (Sunshine) Law a year ago.
Who should have access to body camera footage in Colorado Springs?
Colorado Public Radio: Many police departments, including dozens in Colorado, have adopted body cameras amid heightening tensions between civilians and sworn officers. They’re seen as a way of holding police and the public accountable when there are confrontations.
Colorado Springs police launch body camera program
The Gazette (Colorado Springs): A group of 15 Colorado Springs police officers donned body-worn cameras, effectively ending a two-year process that started after the shootings of unarmed black men across the country.
Town of Salida concerned about cost of having attorney review CORA requests
The Mountain Mail (Salida):The cost of requests made to the city of Salida under the Colorado Open Records Act, related just to the attorney fees necessary to review the requested documentation, has risen to more than $17,000 through Aug. 31.
Fort Collins shooting caught on body camera but police deny request for footage
Fort Collins Coloradoan: The killing of a man who apparently intended to die at the hands of law enforcement last month marked the first time a Fort Collins police officers’ body-mounted camera captured an officer-involved shooting.
Editorial: Greater transparency needed for Colorado's commercial rafting guides
The Denver Post:Whitewater paddling entails inherent risks, so clients on commercial trips should get meaningful information about rafting companies’ safety records and the hazards they may face. Right now, the state and the industry make it difficult for consumers to find that important information, so both Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the industry should learn from actions taken by other states and industries.
Crawford resident who was denied access to documents threatens legal action against town
Delta County Independent: A Crawford resident is threatening legal action against the Town of Crawford after a temporary civil protection order against him was dismissed in Delta County Court. The order was filed against Carl Page by town clerk Cally Gallegos following a June 29 incident at Crawford Town Hall in which Page sought and was denied access to public documents.
Editorial: Congress right to press VA on Aurora hospital report
The Denver Post: Taxpayers in Colorado and across the nation have been kept in the dark far too long about what went so disastrously awry with the mushrooming cost to build the still-under-construction veterans hospital in Aurora.
Why the Colorado Springs City Council might have snubbed the Open Meetings Law
Colorado Springs Independent: A legal action might be warranted, based on the Colorado Springs City Council’s failure to abide by the Open Meetings Law, which requires executive items be announced in some detail.
Steamboat Springs mulls changes to make government more open
Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): In Steamboat Springs, the City Council has just started to inquire about some of the methods other communities are using to make their governments more open, accessible and transparent.
Document reveals James Holmes is in solitary confinement in an unnamed state
CBS4 (Denver): The Department of Corrections won’t say where convicted Aurora theater shooting killer James Holmes is now being imprisoned, but a document turned over by the attorney general’s office to prosecutors reveals Holmes is in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison in another state.
Academy school board votes to spent up to $10,000 to put video of meetings online
The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Parents and community members who can’t make it to twice monthly board meetings of Academy School District 20’s elected leadership soon will be able to watch video recordings of the meetings online.
CMC trustees withdraw censure of fellow trustee who wrote letters to newspapers
Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): The Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees chose not to move forward with a censure of one of its members for letters she wrote to Colorado newspapers about the college’s budget.
Records request aims to pry open Basalt council's executive sessions
The Aspen Times: A critic of Basalt town government has demanded through an open records request that audio tapes of four executive sessions held by the Town Council earlier this year be handed over for public review.
Editorial: Steamboat Springs council needs to change its email policy
Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): Council members are most definitely using their personal email accounts for city business, and while there’s nothing unlawful about that, it does create a problem when the public, or the press, seeks information.
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