Spotlight on government is about the process, not the person

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The rest of the story:

Kudos to the Daily Sentinel for editorially focusing on the issue of local government transparency (“Sunshine grades”) and to Mike Wiggins (“Spotlight on government is about the process, not the person”) for recounting the heroic efforts of Megan Fromm, then Editor-in-Chief of the Mesa State College “Criterion” student newspaper, to force the college’s arrogant Board of Trustees to comply with state Open Meetings law.

Although Megan was not an “expert” on that law, she could read the plain language of the statute – which the Trustees and their attorneys apparently could not.  Fortunately, Kenzo S. Kawanabe, Esq., now a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs in Denver, could also read English and agreed to represent her pro bono.

On July 2, 2004, former Mesa County District Judge Amanda Bailey issued an eighteen page decision rejecting all of the Board’s legal arguments – as well as its cynical effort to impose legal fees on Fromm.  While Judge Bailey’s opinion remains the most definitive judicial analysis of Colorado’s “sunshine laws” ever issued in Mesa County, it somehow disappeared (along with the entire case file) from the archives at the Justice Center.

In 2004, Megan received the Society of Professional Journalist’s “Sunshine Award” – before earning her Ph.D. in journalism and marrying an Air Force officer now stationed in Germany.  Clearly, Megan benefited (albeit in an unexpected way) from her “higher education” at Mesa State.

Fromm’s legal action did not challenge Tim Foster’s selection as President of the college – only the illegally secretive process by which it was accomplished.  As expected, Foster has since built Colorado Mesa University into an invaluable community asset. 

Meanwhile, local disregard for governmental transparency continues.  Apparently acting without competent legal advice, Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner spent some $90,000 in taxpayer monies before settling her losing Colorado Open Records Act lawsuit.



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