The outrageous judiciary “opinion” about FOIA

sunshine week right to knowA judge has ruled that he feels that the complaint about the Pittsylvania Agriculture Board being in violation of Virginia FOIA was politically motivated more than an actual complaint.

“It is apparent this case is … more about politics than it is about legality,” Reynolds said. However, he did find the board violated FOIA by not giving proper notice of going into and coming out of closed session during its meeting April 8.
<blockquote>FOIA is being used as a “club” by individuals not happy with the board’s performance, Reynolds said.

What gave this judge that idea seems to be unknown, since the law itself does not anticipate such a ridiculous defense of the illegal actions of the board.

You might remember that citizens were effectively kicked out of a meeting back in April of this year, after the board claimed it was going into executive session. There was a raging thunderstorm at the time, and after waiting some amount of time, the citizens left without knowing what the outcome of the session was.

This is simply more excuse-making behavior of the judiciary and the executive branch to make excuses for the administrators of our public boards and commissions that are required by law to follow FOIA laws.

We have had many examples of this behavior and other behaviors recently, from the Martese Johnson case, to the recent Virginia Supreme Court ruling that effectively removed what was understood as the duty of the government to redact portions of records they deem to be under one of the exemptions provided for by law.

The Governor himself has given lip service all along about transparency, and it is striking how this flies in the face of his own administration surrounding these issues. From criminal investigations to materials in those investigations, even families of victims have been forced to sue their own government to obtain what otherwise should be an easy request.

It’s pretty simple really. Quit inserting your own opinions of the law and people’s actions surrounding it by legal means, or give up your job, because you are certainly not fulfilling your job description and promises you made when becoming a public servant.

After all, you promised us that you would abide by all the laws, not just the ones you like or agree with. That’s the real message here.

 

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Medicaid expansion in Virginia would help mothers, children and mentally ill citizens

Among the approximately 400,000 people that would be helped by the extension of Medicaid connected to the Affordable Care Act are the people who need the most help. Mothers, children and the mentally ill in our communities.

The obstruction of this clearly shows the Republican majority in Virginia’s legislature have little concern for those in need, instead considering the most important thing is their careers and their next election.

Shame on you, Bill Howell, Tommy Norment and the people who enable this nonsense.

Biosolids OK for your farm field and food, but treated as “Haz-Mat” when spilled

In Goochland County, biosolids were spilled in the road right-of-way , but don’t worry.

Tomorrow, they’ll spread it on your food growing fields so it’s back in the food chain. And hazardous material response?

That’s due to the “…which reduces, but doesn’t completely eliminate, disease-causing organisms…” said one unknown haz-mat crew member. Feeling better now?

Oh, one last thing: Soil and Water Conservation Districts are paid every year by the government to clean up rivers and streams contaminated with human coliform bacteria.

Washington State:

People and pets in the area should avoid direct contact with the spill area and Swauk Creek below the spill until potential risks to health have been determined by the health department, according to a news release.

The biosolids have been treated by King County to meet Class B requirements which reduces, but doesn’t completely eliminate, disease-causing organisms.

Transparency is great, said the politicians trying to limit transparency

Recent decisions have shown citizens that transparency is a myth propagated by politicians in order to placate the masses.

The news that the Supreme Court of Virginia made the decision to not provide records relating to the Virginia death penalty is the latest death knell for a law that was intended to make government more accessible, more “open.”

You don’t need to look far to see violations of the idea and the law of the Freedom of Information Act. Every week, sometimes every day, a report or other information is denied for release, often with an explanation that defies the law itself.

If the law in the Commonwealth can’t be followed regarding this, isn’t that the same as the justification for wanting the freedom of the information in the first place? If our government does not follow the very law written for these purposes, shouldn’t we wonder what other laws they have decided not to follow?

These things will never not be funny – Thursday version

  • The traditional media talking about how much the media “…talk about Trump.”
  • Politicians that love you during election time and then forget who you are.
  • The NFL’s utter cluelessness and transparency.
  • Politicians who refuse to audit their own campaign finance reports.
  • A Governor who talks transparency and acts like he’s a secret agent.
  • Roads that magically repair themselves right before the big races.
  • Spineless politicians who give lip service to transparency but act like they’ve never heard of it when a citizen asks for information and/or documents
  • Self-assured fans of politicians who are just certain their candidate can do no wrong, no matter what party.
  • The ability of those previously mentioned fans from excusing obviously bad behavior and management surrounding whatever their “favorite” politician did.
  • People who believe polls at 14 months before the election.
  • Politicians who only want to ask you for your opinion, but then ignore it and are timid in their fights for issues that matter to all of the citizens. (Legislative Priorities)

Virginia media fails to report State Police instruction to BBC reporters to delete footage taken in shooter chase

PRI reporters  Kierran Petersen  and James Edwards are reporting that two BBC journalists were told to either delete footage taken in the chase that found the shooter that killed two WDBJ-TV reporters early Wednesday morning, August 26, 2015, or they would confiscate the camera.

Will the Governor say this is also not available to the public, when this report comes out? And what of the media, covering their own grief, rightfully? Where are the media at in that such obvious violations of the law go unreported?

Strange days, indeed.

BBC reporters Franz Strasser and Tara McKelvey encountered a big obstacle in their coverage of a double slaying of journalists at a Virginia mall.

The two reporters were covering the manhunt of the suspected shooter when they were ordered to delete footage by police. On Wednesday night, Corinne Geller, the statewide public relations manager for the Virginia State Police, tweeted at Strasser.

https://twitter.com/VSPPIO/status/636700160710569987

Friday FOIA: Let’s talk about de facto state employee immunity under FOIA

There are cases in the Commonwealth that allowed state employees to retire on full pension, in favor of not prosecuting crime(s) or releasing information to the public.

Is this the true purpose of Virginia’s FOIA laws? I don’t think so.