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WCOG News

Candidates Krogh, Pellett agree with Washington Coalition of Open Government (WCOG) priorities
July 28, 2012
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WCOG President Toby Nixon interview on KUOW
The Conversation with Ross Reynolds
July 19, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Gold Bar's Woes: We reported earlier this week that the 101–year–old town of Gold Bar, Washington may be dissolving due to insufficient funds. Mayor Joe Beavers told us the money problems stem from the state Public Records Act, which has cost Gold Bar around $65,000 so far this year — and could end up costing around $90,000, or one–sixth of Gold Bar's general fund. Joining us with another perspective on Gold Bar's woes is Toby Nixon.

To hear the Interview visit The Conversation web page- click here.

2012 FOI Hero Award Winner Announced
NFOIC: April 6, 2012.

Toby Nixon, president of Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) and a city council member in Kirkland, Washington, has been selected for induction into Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame for 2012.

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Kent forum to discuss public records, open meetings laws
Kent Reporter: April 2, 2012.

Learn about the public's right to access government information at a free forum Wednesday, April 18 at the Kent Senior Activity Center.

Why is the state Department of Ecology facing huge fines over violations of the Public Records Act? What is the problem with the Everett School Board? What did the Whatcom County Council do to violate the Open Public Meetings Act?

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Open government forum planned June 20
The Columbian: March 29, 2012.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government will hold a free community forum on open government issues from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 20 at Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St.

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Patience Rogge earns 'open-government' coalition honor
PTLeader.com: September 28, 2011

From Omak to Olympia, from Colville to Camas, from Pullman to Port Angeles, the message of open, accountable, responsive and responsible government values has been spread to state residents and public officers through the efforts of Port Townsend’s Patience Rogge.

A board member of Washington Coalition for Open Government for the past six years and its “outreach” coordinator, Rogge this year earned the organization’s James Andersen Award, conferred at the annual honors event in Seattle on Sept. 23.

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Reed awared top open-government honor
From Our Corner: September 23, 2011

Secretary of State Sam Reed, who has made government transparency and access to public records a signature issue during his three terms, is the 2011 winner of the James Madison Award of the Washington Coalition for Open Government.

Reed, who leaves office after his term ends in early January, 2013, was honored at the non-partisan group’s annual awards event in Seattle on Friday, a day when he was also the acting governor.

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Sen. Honeyford wins open-government honor
The Olympian: September 12, 2011

The Washington Coalition for Open Government said today it is honoring Republican Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside with its “Key” award “in recognition of his efforts to make the working of the Washington Legislature more transparent to citizens.”

Honeyford left a committee hearing this year in protest over lack of notice by majority Democrats as they took up a bill dealing with septic fees in the Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee.

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Droopy drawers
The Daily News: September 10, 2011

Thumbs down: The saggy pants fashion statement has been getting a lot of media exposure recently.

Last week, punk rock singer Billie Armstrong (whose works include a song named after Longview) was kicked off a Southwest Airlines plane because his drawers were drooping too low. In June, college football player Deshon Marman was arrested after being hauled off a US Airways flight when he refused to pull up his sagging pajama bottoms. In Lynnwood, a suburb of Chicago, police have been issuing tickets for pants that hang more than 4 inches below the hips.

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Puyallup councilman gets open government award
The Bellingham Herald: August 18, 2011

A Seattle-based group that advocates for open government gave a Puyallup city councilman an award Tuesday for opting out of small-group sessions with the city manager and fellow council members over concerns about transparency.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government presented Councilman John Knutsen with a Key Award during this week’s City Council meeting. Toby Nixon, coalition president, said the award is given to people who take a stand for open government.

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Council Member John Knutsen receives the Washington Coalition for Open Government Key Award
Puyallup NOW: August 17, 2011

Veteran Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag said Monday he will “take a look at” running for Governor, soon after Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she will not seek a third term.

Sonntag is an independent-minded Democrat, but has on occasion backed Republicans for public office:  He was a prominent endorser of Susan Hutchison against Dow Constantine in the officially nonpartisan 2009 King County Executive Race.

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Ferndale candidates Jensen, Zimmerman respond to open-government questions
The Bellingham Herald: August 11, 2011

The Washington Coalition for Open Government sent questionnaires to candidates throughout the state asking them about various open government topics. They asked everything from whether a candidate would support recording executive sessions to whether they’d like to see the state Sunshine Committee retained.

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Sonntag: I'll look at governor's race
Seattle Post Intelligencer: June 13, 2011

Veteran Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag said Monday he will “take a look at” running for Governor, soon after Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she will not seek a third term.

Sonntag is an independent-minded Democrat, but has on occasion backed Republicans for public office:  He was a prominent endorser of Susan Hutchison against Dow Constantine in the officially nonpartisan 2009 King County Executive Race.

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Washington Coalition for Open Government accepting nominations for Madison and Andersen Awards
Press Release: June 1, 2011

The Washington Coalition for Open Government is accepting nominations for the 2011 James Madison and James Andersen Awards, designed to recognize individuals and organizations that support government transparency.

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School Board divide is entrenched
The Monroe Monitor: May 23, 2011

"All those in favor of the motion, say 'aye.'"

Four voices chimed in with "aye."

"All opposed, say 'nay.'"

"Nay," said Deb Kolrud.

The January vote was over whether Monroe should approve an agreement with Snohomish School District for nursing support, but it is typical of a large number of votes taken by the Monroe School Board since Deb Kolrud was elected to the board in 2007.

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Open government key for us all, speakers say
The Seattle Times: March 15, 2011

Citizens and the news media need to be vigilant about demanding open government, particularly in the face of efforts to limit the disclosure of public records, speakers at a public forum said Tuesday night.

"It's just a real difficult time for democracy," said Mike Fancher, vice president of the nonprofit Washington Coalition for Open Government and former executive editor of The Seattle Times.

The forum, sponsored by the coalition and The Times, coincided with "Sunshine Week," a nationwide initiative to promote open government and freedom of information.

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The state’s public records act is again under siege in Olympia, where a House Committee, in an admittedly “backwards fashion,” has voted to weaken the law’s penalty provision.
Center for Justice: March 8, 2011

Provided it doesn’t get hit by a bus or a lobbyist, the Washington Public Records Act (PRA) will be forty years old next year. But even it does make it to forty, it’s hard to know how many teeth it will have left.

This year, lobbyists representing the state’s municipalities, counties, school boards and agencies, seem to be making an especially vigorous effort to re-tool the law to make it less punitive and less expensive to administer. Leading the way is the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) which has made revamping the PRA one of its legislative priorities for the 2011 session.

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Perspective: Government lobbyists seek to strip open government laws
PTLeader: March 2, 2011

Taxpayer-funded lobbyists for state and local agencies are once again crowding the halls in Olympia, demanding that legislators make it more difficult for the people to know what the government is doing.

They insist that agencies are understaffed, out of money and overwhelmed by requests to inspect public records, and that they can’t afford to pay the penalties for failing to comply with the law.

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Legality of disclosing executive session information not always an easy call
HeraldNet: February 28, 2011

When elected officials meet in closed-to-the-public executive sessions, what can they say about what was discussed?

This was one of the key issues in the censure approved last week by the Everett School Board of fellow board member Jessica Olson.

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Krist Novoselic to moderate open government forum in Longview
TDN: February 21, 2011

Rock musician and community activist Krist Novoselic will moderate a panel about keeping government open and transparent at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Cowlitz Regional Conference Center, 1900 Seventh Avenue, Longview.

The discussion, sponsored by the Washington Coalition for Open Government, will focus on "preserving the public's legal right to access the records and proceedings of the government," the organization said in a statement.

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Everett School Board member Jessica Olson faces censure
HeraldNet: February 20, 2011

Everett School Board member Jessica Olson, who twice before has been publicly criticized by her four fellow board members, now faces a move to censure her.

"It's a reprimand by four colleagues against one who's behaving outside the norms," said Ed Petersen, board president. "It's a clear and more direct message to her and the public that we've got a problem."

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On eve of open government conference, former P-I executive gives his views on secrecy
Seattle Post Globe: January 14, 2011

Passionate about the need for citizens and reporters to freely get information from government agencies, former P-I associate publisher Ken Bunting is back to town to give a keynote speech at the Washington State Open Government Conference on Saturday. There, you can learn your rights to open government and you can get practical tips to exercise your rights at all levels -- federal, state and local governments.

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To view WCOG news from the 2010 archives, click here.

 




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