Highlights from the blog and news feed
Nov. 23, 2015
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.
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After multiple requests are denied, the DOC discloses James Holmes' inmate number
To get a letter to convicted mass killer James Holmes at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City, you’ll need the inmate number assigned to him by the Colorado Department of Corrections. But until Friday, the DOC had withheld that information from the news media and the public for security reasons and to prevent him from trying to profit from his notoriety.
Some counties charge thousands of dollars for public inspection of voted-ballot records
The law says the public can inspect voted ballots in Colorado. But some counties are making it prohibitively expensive for at least one election watchdog to obtain the records he says are needed to independently audit the accuracy of voting systems.
Zansberg: CSU's hard-line position on data thwarts public's ability to monitor operations
Colorado State University has taken a hard-line position and has steadfastly refused to make available to The Coloradoan a database of employee salaries in the same manner in which CSU makes, maintains, and keeps those records.
From The Denver Post: Do citizens really possess the right to review the work of elected county clerks after elections are over? The answer seems to be they do if they’ve got a lot of money, and that’s unacceptable.
Sen. Kefalas to look at expanding access to electronic data in CORA
From the Coloradoan (Fort Collins): The nascent proposal, as Kefalas described it at a coffee-with-constituents meeting, would make explicit that public records available in digital form must be delivered that way. No bill has been formally drafted yet.
Denver city attorney's office makes claims costly to review
From ColoradoWatchdog.org: Denver officials have made it more difficult for the public and the City Council to review key documents that could costs taxpayers millions each year and could help spot problems or trends with city employees or processes.
Evans police body camera footage used to confirm excessive force complaint
From The Greeley Tribune: Last month, Evans police Chief Rick Brandt participated in a panel discussion about body-worn cameras and publicly revealed an incident some chiefs might prefer to sweep under the rug.
Failure to disclose disciplinary actions keeps public in the dark about police misbehavior
From the Colorado Springs Independent: It’s far from clear how much race plays into officer actions in Colorado Springs, and it’s impossible to know if officers use force on black people more often than whites. Why? Because the Colorado Springs Police Department shrouds investigations of its officers in secrecy, refusing to release most internal affairs files, although state law allows for them to be.
CSU denies newspaper's request for digital copy of salary report
Fromthe Coloradoan (Fort Collins): CSU refuses to release the document in a digital format that can be sorted and analyzed for trends such as where salary increases are highest, which departments command the highest overall and average salaries and more information that would show the university’s financial investment in various aspects of its human capital.
From the Coloradoan (Fort Collins): The Coloradoan stated that CSU refuses to release “a digital format that can be sorted and analyzed for trends such as where salary increases are highest, which departments command the highest overall and average salaries and more information that would show the university’s financial investment in various aspects of its human capital.” This is untrue.
Editorial: Room to improve on access to public information
From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): Colorado received an “F” in public access to information by a group that scores state governments on a range of metrics to gauge their overall transparency and accountability. That seems a bit harsh, but the report exposes problem areas in open records/meetings laws that conscientious lawmakers should be willing to address.
Colorado gets dismal ranking in state integrity report
From the Coloradoan (Fort Collins): Colorado was listed as in the bottom-half of all state governments when it comes to public access to information, ethics enforcement and state pension fund management, according to a report released by the Center for Public Integrity.
Study faults Colorado for weak laws on public access to information
From The Denver Post: Colorado’s laws governing public access to information are among the weakest in the nation, according to a new report that sizes up how states handle requests for court documents, police files and other records.
Opinion: State is transparent enough, but needs a better way to appeal denial of records
From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): The F the state received in access to public information isn’t so much about what our laws classify as information open to the public but the remedies citizens can employ to make those disclosures possible when the official in charge of information doesn’t cough it up.
Why Colorado gets a failing grade on access to public information
From Route Fifty: At this point, the battle over access to public records in Colorado has the feel of bureaucratic trench warfare. Each side knows well where the other side stands and what weapons it has at its disposal. Treaty negotiations stop and start in rooms far from from the action, including courtrooms. Casualties mount. There is no end in sight.
Demise of Rocky Mountain News' archives a warning of 'digital dark age'
From Colorado Public Radio: With more of our lives taking place online, there’s growing fear humanity is entering a “digital Dark Age,” where future generations may have little or no record of the 21st century.
Denver police union files lawsuit over body camera program
From The Denver Post:The Denver Police Protective Association said it is not opposed to officers wearing body cameras but feels the policy put in place in September is ill-conceived and should have been a part of the collective bargaining process.
Colorado Springs police answering few questions about response before deadly shooting spree
From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): The Gazette’s attempts to discuss 911 calls before a deadly shooting spree and the ensuing police response with Police Department officials garnered a two-sentence statement in an email.
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