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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Culture of secrecy shrouds Illinois

In the past four years, more than a thousand citizens have filed complaints regarding Illinois public officials who have refused or ignored public records requests, the Chicago Tribune reported. The newspaper's article attributes theses problems in Illinois to "a notoriously weak open records law, an unsympathetic political culture and an attitude of disdain among many public servants who consider documents their own." Even the state's top law-enforcement officer is powerless. Of the more than 100 strongly worded letters she sent last year asking for the release of public records, fewer than 24 were successful. This excellent article provides three examples of how the open government laws have failed Illinois citizens.
Thom Rae wants to know why his town is spending $1 million to keep a second-run theater afloat.

Kevin and Anne Barber want to know what happened to the principal who forced their 8th grader and his classmates to kneel painfully on a gym floor during a lecture on respect.

Patricia and Joel Garza want to know why so many secrets surround the investigation into the crash that killed their grown son.

They all want answers. The answer they all got was "no."
More here.

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