Highlights from the blog and news feed
Feb. 27, 2017
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.
Activist's lawsuit: Boulder County Commission violated open-records, open-meetings laws
An environmental and wildlife activist sued the Boulder County Commission, alleging a “persistent pattern” of improper closed-door meetings and repeated violations of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).
The Pueblo Chieftain: Many members of the media are upset about President Trump’s repeated comments that the media is the “enemy of the people.” I want to give the president the benefit of the doubt. I think he meant to say, “... enemy of the people WHO ...”
The Pagosa Springs Sun: The constraints of the Open Meetings Law may be frustrating to the members of our local boards, but it is the broader right of the public to know the workings of its government that should always come first.
Sen. Scott says hometown newspaper trying to silence his free speech
The Colorado Statesman: A political quarrel erupted earlier this month, garnering the attention of national media, after a state Republican lawmaker accused his hometown newspaper of publishing “fake news” and was subsequently threatened with a lawsuit.
Silt paid ex-chief $35,000, agreed to keep investigation secret
Post Independent (Glenwood Springs): Former Silt Police Chief Levy Burris was paid nearly $35,000 upon his retirement in January, which came after he was on paid leave for four months, a separation agreement between the town and Burris shows. The town also agreed in the document to do its best to keep secret from the public the results of an investigation conducted while Burris was on leave.
Pohl: We are not the 'enemy of the American people'
Fort Collins Coloradoan: An adversarial relationship with those in power comes with our jobs. Questioning those granted authority over others on behalf of the greater good is what we do, whether it is an ongoing local police investigation or the president perpetuating factual falsehoods. It’s always been that way. It likely always will.
9NEWS (Denver): We are not your enemy. These are tough times when it comes to how journalists cover the news and more importantly, the assumptions you have about how and why we cover the news. It’s important that you understand at least this much: Whatever we are, we are not your enemy.
Commerce City settles with cop who was fired for making an open-records request
CBS4 (Denver): Commerce City has agreed to pay a former police officer, Scott Green, $150,000 to settle a federal lawsuit he filed after he was terminated for filing a Colorado Open Records Act Request.
Colorado newspaper battle could define what's 'fake news' and what's not
KUNC radio (Greeley): A Colorado newspaper is fighting claims that it peddles fake news stories. The publisher of Grand Junction’s Daily Sentinel is accusing a state lawmaker of defamation and threatening a lawsuit. If filed, legal experts said it would be the first of its kind, potentially setting a legal definition for what is considered fake news and what is not.
Bill aimed at accountability for forfeiture seizures dies in legislature
The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Police and prosecutors protested a bill that aimed at increasing transparency when officials seize property under forfeiture laws. Supporters of the bipartisan Senate Bill 136 seemed dismayed that law enforcement would so passionately oppose a bill that only aimed at accountability.
Opinion: Public documents warrant 21st-century approach
The Westminster Window: Public documents that are created and compiled by tax-supported entities such as school districts, municipalities and counties should be easily accessible for the public, newspapers and other interested groups.
'I've had it': Family-owned Colorado paper threatens state legislator with lawsuit
Columbia Journalism Review:When a Republican lawmaker in Colorado recently called his hometown newspaper “fake news,” the family-owned Grand Junction Daily Sentinel didn’t let it go unchallenged. The paper’s publisher, Jay Seaton, wrote a pointed column taking the state senator, Ray Scott, to task over the allegation.
Weld County asks court to rule on release of harassment complaint against commissioner
The Greeley Tribune: Weld County attorneys filed a motion with Weld District Court seeking the court’s opinion on the release of records requested by The Greeley Tribune. The records relate to a harassment complaint against Commissioner Sean Conway, as well as a subsequent investigation and report by Mountain States Employers Council.
Having your FOI request denied may leave no other option than pursuing legal action against the rejecting public agency or official. The National Freedom of Information Coalition offers financial support to litigate open government lawsuits through the Knight FOI Litigation Fund. Backed by a generous grant from the Knight Foundation, the fund helps to defray upfront costs such as filing fees, depositions, court costs and other expenses associated with legal actions. Applications may be submitted through CFOIC or directly to NFOIC.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies on membership dues, grants and gifts. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation or becoming a member. Thank you!