Last week FOGWatch took its show on the road to South Florida. We visited some old friends and made new ones. This is the best part of my job.
Every day I am contacted by folks around the Sunshine state asking for help with access to public records and pubic meetings. I am not an attorney, so I can’t give legal advice, however, having made thousands of public records requests and filed (and won) more than 100 open government lawsuits I do have some insight about how the system works.
Due to that experience folks ask for my input on their situations. Since I don’t give legal advice I try to be a sounding board. In addition to providing a sympathetic ear, I share with these folks what I might do were I similarly situated.
These folks have their own unique windmills with which to tilt, but the basic facts are almost always the same. Some public official is trying to frustrate their civil rights.
Their stories are often interesting and infuriating. They have uncovered corruption, abuse and outright theft. Sometimes they are themselves trying to advocate for some decent cause but their efforts are stymied by the ignorance, indifference and lawlessness of the very people who are being paid to help them.
Because I am passionate about open government and civil rights these meetings don’t really feel like work. I love my work and I hope that it shows.
I have no doubt that some of the stories we’ve heard will end up in the press. Hopefully, these stories will bring about real change and result in the strengthening of all of our civil rights.