Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Board of Education thumbs its nose at OIP, defies open meetings law

In the final round of letters between the Board of Education and the Office of Information Practices, BOE chairperson Karen Knudsen thumbed her nose at the OIP and the law one final time.

This is a family blog, or I would have characterized her response to the OIP in more colorful language.

Why "one final time?" There comes a point where the cost of getting the BOE to obey the law and release the information just isn't worth it. Time has passed. While learning who voted for the ouster of Jim Shon in that secret meeting before the election last year was of interest to the voting public back then, the election is passed and there is little incentive to continue the fight.

Since the BOE defied the OIP decision, my only recourse would be to go to court to pry the information loose. It's just not worth it.

This last round of letters demonstrates why we need to have more teeth in the open records and open meetings laws. What is it that Knudsen does not understand about "Chapter 2-71, Hawaii Administrative Rules, does not allow an agency to charge a requester the cost to reproduce the requested record for the agency's purpose of redacting the record"?

I'll be writing to the BOE to say that I will not pay the $880 and so enable their defiance of the law. Who knows what they will charge the next person?

If (yawn) you might still be interested in this, the last letter from the OIP to the BOE is here, and their defiant response is here.

Will other boards follow BOE's lead and put Tiffany price tags on K-Mart information to keep their back room conversations secret from the public? How much should we pay for information that is ours to begin with, by law?


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