Blog Posts

    Coalition Continues Advocacy for Funds for Public Records Access – This Time for Office of Administrative Hearings

    June 18, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Open Government Coalition has for years been urging the D.C. Council that costs of computers and staff that support the public’s basic “right to know”—open access to records as well as meetings and data—are a modest price to pay for a pillar of democratic government. As James Madison, considered the father of the U.S. […]

    Coalition Advises D.C. Mayor on Transparency and Other Concerns If Contact-Tracing Apps Are Used Here

    June 17, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 8/31/20 Virginia adopted an app earlier this month, the first such statewide move. See a user review here. Alabama adopted a limited pilot version of similar Apple-Google technology, as have 14 nations. Twenty states are reportedly considering it. Under 10 percent of Virginians with phones have downloaded it (experts say the system is truly […]

    D.C. Open Government Coalition Recommends Transparency Improvements As Council Considers Broad Police Reform Bill

    June 8, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Coalition has asked Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) to add to his draft emergency police and justice reform legislation better access to video from police body-worn cameras (faster, less costly releases under FOIA, more by-right access); open records of investigation of serious uses of force by D.C. Office of Police Complaints; open meetings […]

    Metro Secrecy Again – Federal Court Upholds Denial of Customer Survey

    May 26, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    A federal judge Thursday (21) denied a public records request for the questions in the Washington Metro Area Transit Agency quarterly rider survey. The opinion upholds another in the long history of evasive actions by the agency that frustrate press and public seeking details of the beleaguered system. Advocates known as Unsuck DC Metro who […]

    D.C. Charter Schools Evade Questions on Pandemic Bailout Aid

    May 14, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    It’s unknown how many charter schools in Washington, D.C., already funded with almost a billion D.C. and federal tax dollars each year, have also taken federal pandemic bailout money. Only a few schools would answer a reporter’s questions, according to a story yesterday (13) by the Washington Post’s Perry Stein. The silence is deafening in […]

    D.C. Council Budget Hearing Schedule Shows Mixed Picture for Public Access

    May 7, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 5/12/20: Mayor’s budget submission changed to May 18. New Council hearing schedule here. “Open government” takes on a new meaning in the D.C. Council budget season starting soon. The Wilson Building is quiet, hearings will be online only and the Council plans greatly reduced time for public comment, according to the schedule published Friday […]

    D.C. Transparency Watch: Mixed Picture Continues of Openness and Secrecy in Legislature, Agencies and Court

    April 29, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Here’s a roundup of open government news items in recent days as we all await the uncertainties of reopening our life together at work, school, government and recreation.   The Role of the Public Unclear in Upcoming D.C. Council Budget Hearings The biggest public tournament of values each year is the D.C. Council decision on […]

    D.C. Government Keeping Public Informed of Infection Details on Its Staff and Those in Custody; Some Other Places, Not So Much

    April 18, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    If you’re arrested or locked up in youth detention, a mental hospital or jail, you probably have more to worry about than whether the patrol officer or guard wears a mask or has been tested for the novel corona virus.  But the public in general, under pressure to follow a host of burdensome directives in […]

    D.C. Council and Federal Court Access Update

    April 6, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Public access uncertain as federal court hears D.C. prisoners’ concerns UPDATE 4/8/20 . — There were no public dial-in numbers but the court allowed press to listen to two electronic hearings Tuesday (7). The Post’s Spencer Hsu filed 1200 words that evening that gave a good rundown on the two-hour discussion in the jail case […]

    D.C. Mayor and Council Meeting Daily and Excluding the Public

    April 1, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 4/1/20 12:30 p.m. The mayor’s office has backed down and is providing press access to the council-mayor calls. At her press conference today, the mayor said “I don’t have a problem with press listening to anything.” Soon after, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff told reporters they will provide press with the separate listen-in […]