Thursday’s news items [the day before Christmas; Why do they hide information from citizens?; mail delays & more] – 12/24/2020

night before christmas

197 years ago | This is the day before Christmas and this Clement Moore classic still rings out.

“I will be so mad at you if you don’t bring him home.” | “Carlisle corporal adopts dog rescued from dumpster”ABC27-TV

pardoned civilian killers | These are war crimes; where is the moral compass? “Shock and dismay after Trump pardons Blackwater guards who killed 14 Iraqi civilians”WITF

transparency activism | One weapon citizens have in their backpacks to get governments to be transparent is Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. SOME governments continue to want to operate in the shadows. SOME governments want to continue to hide things from their citizens because of ignorance, haughtiness, disdain for citizens, clandestine reasoning or whatever. Citizens have to use Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. We just got this email from a Bucks County “transparency activist” who’s established a Youtube channel to help citizens understand the process to get SOME governments to come clean. His email:

“I have set up a new YouTube channel for citizens, media reporters, and attorneys who seek public information of PA’s Government entities under the Right to Know Law. It’s a tips, tactics, tools of the trade, type of YouTube channel … designed to help anyone become better at getting information out of PA government entities, and better at winning appeals battles either at OOR (the Office of Open Records) or the courts.

“”My YouTube channel has nothing to do with the OOR’s official training for Requesters which I consider a waste of time. Instead it is real world tips and tactics from the trenches. Please feel free to check out the introduction and subscribe to the channel:

SOME municipalities | will respond to a citizen’s right to know request by involving their attorneys (PAID BY CITIZENS’ TAXES) to delay, obfuscate and, ultimately deny, RTK requests. That’s what happened when Columbia news, views & reviews submitted a RTK to see the unredacted Police Department’s Use of Force policy. When the request was denied, without the financial resources to continue the denial in court, Columbia news, views & reviews accepted the inevitable.

In a similar action a few years ago, when a group of Concerned Columbia Citizens filed RTK requests to see the terms and conditions of the Borough’s Revolving Loan decision to advance borough money to a single borrower. Once again, the borough paid its solicitor to defend its actions — actions which the borough later reversed. But the group of citizens had to incur significant legal fees to challenge the borough. Many citizens “chipped in” their own dollars to pay for their legal fees while all Columbia taxpayers paid for the borough’s legal fees.

It’s a good thing for democracy | established newspapers with resources continue to challenge government agencies via the RTK Act. Last week, for instance, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held in a decision that the agency that denied the request could be awarded legal fees. All well and good, if there are the financial resources to “take it to court.” Why should agencies and SOME governments want to hide information that concerns the citizens they represent? What purpose is served?

This time next month | “Once out of the White House, Trump’s bogus—or ‘disputed’—claims on Twitter may be removed and could even put his personal account in jeopardy.” – Vanity Fair

all in the crime family | Jared’s daddy, too.The Boston Globe

Put a bozo in there; see what happens | The US Postal Service has been severely damaged with the appointment of a flunky, know-nothing as the Postmaster General. Incompetent leadership is showing up now: “Postal service delays vex Lancaster County business, customers; ‘They’re not reliable'”Lancaster Online

defund the police, no | Make the police better, Yes. “Lancaster not ‘defunding’ police department in 2021 budget; 2nd social worker to be hired” Lancaster Online

package suspect

theft of package | “On 12-23-20 at approx. 3:12PM the pictured female took a package from an address in the 200 blk. of S. 4th St. The female was observed in the area walking with a child. If anyone knows the identity of the female they are asked to submit a tip below or contact the Columbia Borough Police Department at 717-684-7735.” – Columbia Police Department Crime Watch

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