Editor’s Column: Fool’s Spring

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These deceptive days of blue skies and warm temperatures are likely — if we’re lucky — to be followed by the usual March and April snowstorms, but a brief respite from snow and cold is welcome this time of year.

I’m going to take up ink and paper this week to extend our humble gratitude to all of our new and renewed subscribers and generous readers who donated funds to help us cover the $385 bill we received for 30 texts and seven emails between our elected public officials and other taxpayer-funded entities — aka public records.

The Colorado Open Records and Open Meetings Laws include a provision that allow entities to charge a “reasonable fee” for gathering records to account for staff time, and it allows those filing a request to ask for a waiver or reduction of those charges if the records are to be used for a “public purpose” such as journalism, nonprofit activities or academic research. This is the first time we’ve been charged when we’ve filed a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request.

It’s worth noting that any citizen can file a CORA request for access to public records. Just like any member of the public (and that includes the press) can attend a work session or an official meeting of a board or government entity.

You have the right to know not just what decisions are being made by your elected and appointed representatives, but how those decisions are reached. The people who play with our tax dollars work for us, not the other way around. Don’t forget that.

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