OPINION: Why Does The City Of Burien Want To Reduce Its Transparency? 5by Stephen Lamphear

Following in the steps of the likes of Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr, the city of Burien is preparing to reduce its responsiveness to public records requests.

Here’s a screenshot of “Ordinance 517” on pages 121 – 123 of the last week’s council packet (from http://burienwa.gov/archives/30/081709a.pdf):

OPINION: Why Does The City Of Burien Want To Reduce Its Transparency? 6(click here to see full version of Ordinance 517)

The proposed change will eliminate:

  • The requirement to respond within 5 days by providing or denying requests
  • The requirement to state a timeframe for response
  • The requirement to provide partially discloseable documents by redacting exempt portions
  • The requirement to seek clarification if request is unclear
  • The requirement to provide a statement why a request is denied

The city’s proposal addresses internal processes while totally eliminating responsiveness to the public. The proposed ordinance is totally outside the spirit of the public records access law – a law that was enacted by an initiative of the people.

Where is that “transparency” we so often hear from the likes of Rose Clark and Joan McGilton?

We need to loudly oppose the city’s retrenchment into secrecy.

– Stephen

(Stephen Lamphear is a longtime Burien resident and former City Councilmember.)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We welcome all opinions, and publish pertinent ones at our discretion. As always, all Readers are encouraged to either email us their thoughts, or Comment below. What do YOU think of “Ordinance 517”?]