The very first right of the public to be infringed in floundering administrations is the public’s right to know what their government is doing.
Unlike rational individuals spending their own money, public entities will take up hopeless legal battles in an effort to hide embarrassing information in defense of misguided decisions.
Seattle spent more money trying to hide the disappointing revenue from a tax, than it gained in income from that tax. In this case, Seattle’s gun and ammunition tax drove business out of the city rather than generating the anticipated income. Instead of just saying so, the city decided to try to block public disclosure of the total revenue. It went to court with the predictable result.
Fox News links to the story: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/02/seattle-spent-more-defending-gun-tax-lawsuit-than-it-collected-in-revenue-from-tax-gun-group-claims.html
Back at Timberlane….
During the 2017 organizational meeting after the March election, the Timberlane Regional School Board passed the following resolution:
VOTE: The newly amended motion to allow the Superintendent to seek legal counsel when necessary with firm most appropriate and to use Drummond and Woodsum as the counsel of record and to obtain prior school board approval for matters of litigation passed 5-4-0 (Mr. Bealo, Mr. Ward, Mrs. Sherman and Mr. Guide opposed).
The four votes against the motion were from those elected officials who do not believe the superintendent should have to seek permission from the board to engage in litigation with public funds.
5 responses to “Seattle’s Pointless Legal Battle with Public Money”
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As usual they seem to forget that the purpose of a legal line in a municipal budget is to fund DEFENSE against lawsuits. NOT to wage aggressive litigation AGAINST the very taxpayers who fund it. All hail the Neo Fascisti.
Seattle fought against a Freedom of Information request and subsequent court case. Their position was “defensive” in a perverse way, but the right thing to do was to avoid court altogether and surrender the public information.
There is no reason that ALL public info can not simply be posted on the agency website. Including; budget, checkbook, revenue, donations, salaries, contract payments, even public sector collective bargaining negotiations should be streamed. The public has the right to know.