Yes, we can cooperate for the public good

Editorial from the Coeur d’Alene Press

Those of us in the news media often think public officials are clueless or worse when it comes to open meeting and public record laws.

Some of those public officials have a pretty good idea what they’d like us media lunkheads to do with our opinions about their diligence.

Outside of a courtroom or a dark alley, how do the two sides settle their differences so the laws are obeyed, the citizens have government information they’re entitled to, and the media and public official camps can work respectfully with each other?

Betsy Russell and Lawrence Wasden have your answer. And it will all be revealed this Wednesday evening at 6 at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn.

Going back several years, Russell, the Boise-based star reporter for the Spokesman-Review, and Wasden, Idaho’s esteemed attorney general, devised a great way to increase understanding of the state’s public records and open meeting laws, while magically improving mutual respect and even compassion at the same time. How? Through skits, of course.

Through engaging role-playing and other devious methods, journalists and public officials will see how the public records/open meetings world looks from the other side’s perspective. It’s not just enlightening; it’s entertaining.

Invitations went to Kootenai County-area public officials already, but we’re reminding them to please RSVP right away to Camie Wereley if they can attend. Also, though space is limited, there will be some room for members of the general public also to attend. If you’re interested, please RSVP to, or leave a message at 664-8176, ext. 2016.

Thanks go to AG Wasden, a good sport if ever there was one; to Betsy Russell, who also serves as president of Idahoans for Openness in Government; and to Jerry Jaeger, JJ Jaeger and the crew at Coeur d’Alene Inn, who were kind enough to donate the banquet room for the evening.

Editorial from the Coeur d’Alene Press

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