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Looking for Openness in Government From Arlington County Police: Forget It

7 Feb

A recent WAMU and Arlington Connection story highlights that Arlington County Police are flaunting the Freedom of Information Act, and refusing to give out copies of police reports.  Instead, they are charging exhobitant fees to requestors for their “summaries” of the documents.

The Arlington Board should direct the police to comply with the law, and provide the information that they are supposed to at nominal cost.

Read More: Public Information Comes At A Price In Arlington | WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio

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Arlington County Flunks Transparency Test

15 Jan

Arlington Taxpayers Association reports that:

In a survey of the Internet websites of Virginia’s 134 counties and independent cites by the Virginia Coalition for Open Government (VCOG), Arlington County ranked #21, earning 44 out of a possible 50 points, and received a score of B+. The city of Fairfax score 50 points, and earned the solitary A+ of all 134 jurisdiction

Not surprising given all of the wasteful spending by Arlington Department of Human Services.

Read More: World-Class Community Flunks Budget Transparency Test

Virginia Freedom of Information Act Under Scrutiny for Being Unconstitutional

31 Dec

Pending before the US Supreme Court is McBurney v. Young, which will be heard on February 20, 2013.   The issue presented is:

Whether, under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV and the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, a state may preclude citizens of other states from enjoying the same right of access to public records that the state affords its own citizens.

Apparently some in Virginia government take the position that they do not have to respond to FOIA requests to those living outside the state.

For more background: Kimberly, William Scott, Unshackling the Freedom of Information: Open Records Laws and the Right of Non-Citizen Records Access (August 26, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2158903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2158903