Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: public records


How one punk tracked down a sheriff’s deputy at home

Joshua Paul Yacovone was only in a little bit of trouble before he decided earlier this month to confront a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy at the deputy’s home. Now he’s in a whole heap of trouble, charged with third-degree assault and intimidating a public servant in a county that doesn’t take kindly to threats against law enforcement.

Yacovone, who had been cited by the deputy earlier in the day for underage drinking, is accused of tracking the deputy down, strutting into his driveway and accusing him of taking money. Not until the deputy pointed a rifle did Yacovone back

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Yet another threat to open elections

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

That didn’t take long.

When a federal judge ruled last month that the First Amendment bars disclosure of the petitions that put Referendum 71 on the ballot, he opened the door to a potential gutting of Washington’s open records laws. The gutting is already being attempted.

Some opponents of the state’s new same-sex domestic-benefits law, which R-71’s passage would preserve, are now pressing to go far beyond keeping petition signatures secret. A lawsuit they filed in federal court Wednesday demands that many – probably most – campaign donations also be kept secret. In fact, it insists that the Bill of Rights mandates such secrecy.

The implications of this claim are shocking. If successful, it would crack the bedrock foundation of campaign disclosure laws in Washington and other states.
Both the petition and the donation-disclosure cases have the potential to hide elections in a black box.

If the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upholds petition secrecy on First Amendment grounds, every petition for every initiative and referendum – throughout the country – will have to be treated like a state secret. There will be no way for citizens to independently assess whether elections officials verified signatures properly and lawfully put measures on the ballot.
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A case of CYA in Jaycee Dugard investigation?

The editorial board at our sister paper, The Sacramento Bee, is justifiably taking after state and federal officials who are refusing to release parole documents relating to Phillip Garrido who is accused of kidnapping and raping Jaycee Dugard in 1991.

How Dugard went undetected for so long is of legitimate interest to a lot of people. But the government agencies are refusing to release records that would shed light on how often parole agents visited the home and whether they knew that a young woman was living there. (Strangely enough, federal authorities did release documents that lauded Garrido for

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