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Many candidates silent on open government

Post by Kim Bradford on Oct. 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm with 4 Comments »
October 22, 2010 5:47 pm

If government accountability and transparency matter to you (as they should), head over to the Washington Coalition for Open Government’s website to see which candidates have gone on the record about making state and local government more accessible.

WCOG quizzed candidates around the state on 11 key priorities, many of them proposals for changes to state law. Among the 80 or so who responded, I count nine South Sound candidates (in addition to a couple of candidates who were eliminated in the primary election). That leaves a whole lot of questionnaires that have gone unreturned by the people vying to represent you in the Legislature and local elected office.

Many of the completed questionnaires are wholesale endorsements of WCOG’s agenda, but the responses are interesting nonetheless. Bertha Fitzer, who would be chief legal counsel for Pierce County if she won her bid to be Pierce County prosecutor, is in favor of turning back the courts’ recent expansion of government agencies’ attorney-client privilege. Hans Zeiger, who is running for Legislature in Puyallup, doesn’t want to completely give up the “legislative privilege” that allows lawmakers to keep their correspondence private. And Rick Talbert, a former Tacoma City Councilman who is running for Pierce County Council, expresses his support for encouraging public governing bodies to record their closed-door sessions to resolvedisputes about what transpired during the meeting.

Don’t see the candidates on your ballot listed as having returned the WCOG questionnaire? You may want to ask them where they stand on open government.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. I was one that didn’t return it a couple years ago and it had more to do with the way it was structured than anything. Their positions on taping of executive sessions and non-judicial review are close to workable but as drafted I couldn’t support them. Even though they left a small space for comments, it would have been very difficult to explain. So rather than appear opposed to an agenda I generally support, I didn’t return it.

    Nuance is important in policy. People should campaign the same way.

  2. PumainTacoma says:

    Another politician who can not make a decision.

  3. nwcolorist says:

    In the excitment of the current election cycle, government accountability has been pushed to the back burner. It needs a high profile issue or personality to get it in the public eye.

  4. scott0962 says:

    Open government is essential to the people’s ability and right to keep tabs on what government officials do in their name. Exceptions should be rare and only when privacy is absolutely essential to the public good such as attorney-client privilege or a judge’s ability to talk to attorneys in chambers.

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