THUMBS DOWN to the city of Sparks for its decision to side with secrecy instead of openness when it comes to public records, a decision that in all likelihood will cost taxpayers money.
A Washoe County District Court judge was not persuaded by the city’s argument that it could keep secret the identities of owners of medical marijuana establishments listed on business licenses issued by the city.
Business licenses are clearly public records available to anyone, and no information—including the names of owners—should be blacked out.
In response to a news media request, however, the city attorney’s office determined that since owners of medical-marijuana dispensaries are granted confidentiality in records maintained by state government, that secrecy should extend to their identities on city business licenses.
Judge Scott Freeman found no legal basis in state law that supports the city’s position.
Unless a specific state law grants confidentiality, a public record is presumed to be open. And in the case of city business licenses, there is no confidentiality protection for owners of medical-marijuana dispensaries.
The judge ordered the release of the information after the news organization sued. The city also was ordered to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees, which will, of course, come at taxpayer expense.
THUMBS DOWN to the Wounded Warrior Project, the veterans charity, for spending lavishly on itself.
News reports detailing the charity’s spending and revealing criticism of its tactics by former employees hit the airwaves and newspaper pages last week. The reports depict a charity that seems to be devoted primarily to the business of raising money, not giving veterans a helping hand.
The charity, for example, flew its roughly 500 employees to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a meeting at a five-star hotel, according to the reports. Former employees recalled buying business-class seats and regularly jetting around the country for minor meetings or staying in $500-a-night hotel rooms, the New York Times reported.
“Donors don’t want you to have a $2,500 bar tab. Donors don’t want you to fly every staff member once a year to some five-star resort and whoop it up and call it team building,” Erick Millette, a veteran and former Wounded Warrior Project employee, told CBS News.
THUMBS UP to the Spanish Springs High School wrestling squad and its coach, Joe Imelli, for capturing the school’s ninth straight league title and 54th straight dual win last week.
THUMBS UP to more competition at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. No, we’re not talking about flights, but getting to and from the airport.
A second ride-sharing service, Lyft, has been authorized to pick up and drop off passengers at the airport. Previously it only had permission for drop-offs.
Uber, another ride-sharing company, already had been cleared for full-service operations at the airport.