Above the Fold Ale: As long as I've covered government agencies, officials have been trying to find ways to skirt the Open Meetings Act and the Government Access and Records Management Aca (GRAMA).--- Sometimes, the moves were blatantly illegal, such as a city council trying to meet behind closed doors when the matter was clearly public. Other times, the methods were more devious, such as "random" encounters between 3 or 4 city council members at a cafe. Officials also tried to skirt the law with new technology, ranging from e-mail to text messages, and I can only imagine what will happen when elected leaders figure out how to direct message on Twitter.
This weekend, BYU professor Joel Campbell—now writing for The Salt Lake Tribune as an open records guru — detailed a new proposal from the Utah Judicial Council that would allow certain records to reviewed in private before a public body talked about them publicly. Courts administrator Nancy Volmer tells Campbell that the exemption would be used "rarely" but was needed.
Quick tip: When anybody in government says that an exemption will be used "rarely," start a pool for how long it will take for said exemption to be abused magnificently. For the most recent example, look to UDOT, whose exemption from having to get settlements over $500,000 approved allowed them to "quietly" settle with a construction for $13 million. Magnificent.
Now, I'm not saying Volmer doesn't believe in the "rarely" statement, or that the courts will abuse it. But if there's a new exemption, somebody somewhere will abuse it. But here's the really scary part: They will probably get away with it, because more than likely, nobody will watchdogging those government officials.
Political Pocket Rockets: Morgan Philpot, you've already stuck your toe into the birther water. Please don't start espousing even more crazy conspiracy theories. One gubernatorial candidate wants donations to charities, not politicians. If you're bored, Robert Gehrke posted all of the documents the Corroon campaign has been demanding Herbert's camp release about meetings with donors. Or, don't read them and continue to demand they be released. Also, watch the Corroon-Herbert debate at 8 p.m. tonight on KUED.
Utah Beer: UDOT=Kingpin, but not for long. If UDOT were an NFL team and John Njord a kicker, he would be looking for work. I don't want to turn this blog post's comment board into a debate about pit bulls, but let's just say I never, ever want my child around one. So, kudos to Ogden. Utah's air is getting better, which is kinda like saying Domino's new crust is awesome. Better, maybe. But not good.
Leisure Time Lager: Here's a nice little ode to a Laramie bar.
Josh's Java: I would love to be a farmer, and here's yet another inspiring story. My garden failures this year, however, suggest I should stay working as a writer.
Weekly Weizen: Vernon Law and the 1960 Pirates is profiled in a new (and apparently very bad -- we're talking Pirates bad) book. Gilgal Gardens has been public for 10 years. Finally, The Ocho gives highlights for the Alice Cooper/Rob Zombie show.
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