Not only do the people have an absolute right to know what goes on in their government, government itself has a duty to be open, transparent and accessible in providing information and public records to the people. That's why it was disturbing to read in the Jan. 21 editon of The Olympian that Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, "has opposed efforts to bolster records-disclosure laws in the past."
While the affordability of an administrative appeals process for citizens who have public-records issues, which was the subject of the article, is a legitimate matter for legislative debate, opposition to open government and public disclosure should not be.
Public records belong to the public. The public paid to have them created, they were created by public servants and the public is entitled to access to them without hindrance or delay. It is the duty of public officials, including legislators like Rep. Appleton, to not obstruct that effort. After all, whenever the curious-minded are denied access to what rightfully is theirs the automatic question is, “What’s being hidden?”
Would Rep. Appleton care to answer?
In the meantime, legislators should support efforts to make government more open, transparent and accessible and not oppose them like Rep. Appleton reportedly does.