Monday, December 6, 2010

CITY HALL EYEBALL: The Man has us down

Posted on Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 3:13 PM

No news upsets a reporter more than word that fees are changing for copies of public records.

This reporter, Eyeballers, once got a bill for $10,000 stemming from one measly request. (It was hurriedly canceled, of course, before my editor got wind of it.) I know. They're really expensive, especially when your request is poorly written and open-ended.

So, perusing the agenda for this week's Spokane Valley council meeting, the Eyeball widened at this header: First Reading Proposed Ordinance Amending Spokane Valley Municipal Code 2.75 (Public Records) [and] Proposed Resolution Amending Master Fee Schedule for 2011.

I got on the horn immediately and demanded answers. Just what is going on here, Valley Clerk Chris Bainbridge? Must the public suffer more than $0.15 a photocopy, Sheriff of Nottingham?

"Not really," Bainbridge says. Turns out we overreacted. Copies will cost the same, as will reproductions of large maps. There is a new fee — $19 an hour to transfer scanned records to electronic discs — but this can be done quickly, says Bainbridge, and will usually come out to "about a dollar."

Also, the revised ordinance would allow the city to provide requesters with an electronic link to the documents requested, rather than making a bunch of copies.

"We have a lot of our documents in laser fiche," Bainbridge says.

That's the best news we've heard all day. Better than, say, Spokane's City Council adopting the 2011 budget tonight. Or approving the terms of the bargaining agreement with the firefighters union, also tonight.

And it's better news than what the Spokane County commissioners will ponder tomorrow, when they'll decide whether "Quincy," a female Anatolian Shepherd mix, is "potentially dangerous" according to Chapter 5.04 of the county code.

Just what is going on there? Well, a quick Google search turned up a blog post about Quincy, creatively titled, "Our 'Dangerous Dog' Part 1."

The blog described how this family bought Quincy two years ago from a breeder in Quincy, Wash., brought her home and then … they leave us hanging. After a quite adorable picture of this big white dog rolling around, the blog says, "Stay tuned for Part 2: Our 'Dangerous Dog' — AKA: Quincy’s Growing Up Years. Could also be named: 'How to tick off your Neighbor’s', but I thought that might not be as good of title."

I'm guessing Quincy and the neighbor don't get along. But only time will tell. So, yeah, stay tuned.

Happy Guvment-ing! 

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