Letters to the Editor

Seeking public records is not ‘vicious’ behavior | Letters | Aug. 28

In response to Bob Burkholder’s letter (“Local activists’ requests are a form of harassment.” Aug. 7):

My goodness, I have never before been accused of being “vicious.” I guess if you live long enough “weirdness happens.” Where to start with Mr. Burkholder’s wildly inaccurate and decidedly uncivil personal attack? From the top.

There may be, as he asserts, three local activists who “have filed literally hundreds of public document requests this past year. I am not one of them. If I have filed more than six or eight, I would be surprised.

I am not against the Winslow Way sewer line repair or the upgrade of the sewer plant. This newspaper published my letter to that effect within the last month.

I do not oppose Strawberry Plant Park and, in fact, knew nothing about this situation until the last 30 days. Like most of us, including our new city manager, I am just now learning the details of this project. He says he hasn’t formed a settled opinion yet. Neither have I.

I did file a public records request seeking certain information in the official emails of the four majority-bloc council members. I was provoked to do so by what I witnessed at the July 14 meeting of the council’s Finance Committee meeting. It appeared the two majority-bloc members on the council, Mr. Peters and Mr. Stoknes, were dutifully playing roles in an intricately pre-scripted meeting – one that excluded meaningful participation by other council members as well as the public. I just wondered if the four majority-bloc counselors might have strayed over the line as to what is permissible under the public meetings laws.

My original intent was to do a quiet, little inquiry because merely asking a question can sometimes be interpreted as an accusation. Mr. Burkholder has obviously blown up the discreet approach.

I do agree with the last line of Mr. Burkholder’s letter. “...until we all learn to listen to one another and apply the art of civility, compromise and compassion, the problems will continue. We can do better.”

Amen.

Dennis Vogt

Old Mill Road

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