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« Pit bulls attacked | Main | Weekly Roundup, Week Ending 12-7-08 »

December 05, 2008

Comments

EmilyS

Is it true that a private group getting public money for a program isn't subject to Open Records laws? What do the lawyers say?

I wonder if you could get their contract with the city (from the city entity that issued it)? Are they required to file their statistics? Is so, maybe you could get them from the agency they report to.

If the city did NOT require them to report statistics... well, that's a different, good governance (or in this case BAD governance) issue.

Selma

Here in Ontario, our friends the Liberals passed the Ontario Animal Welfare Act (2008).

It's hairy.

In a nutshell, it gives >police powers to an unregulated private charity, the OSPCA. They are unaccountable, immune to inquiries by the Ombudsman (the wonderful guy who investigates government malfeasance) and not obligated under Freedom of Information legislation. They have no public oversight body.

Even their bylaws are a closely-guarded secret. They also tried to make it illegal for anyone else to use the words 'humane society' in their name. Gee, I wonder where that came from? They changed that - a bit.

On top of that, the McGuinty (ha!) government has given millions to the OSPCA to help them fulfil their 'mandate', which if the Committee testimony is taken at face value means to enforce an animal rights agenda.

The WSPA, an affiliate of the HSUS, has been lobbying the McGuinty cabal hard over the past few years. A bill that was supposed to address the problem of substandard roadside zoos turned into the full empowerment of the AR whackos.

This s**t is spreading fast. What are we doing to do about it?

Here's a link to all the info, the Hansard is a must-read:

http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/committee-proceedings/committee_business.do?BusinessType=Bill&BillID=1979&locale=en&CommID=7348

Don't miss the guy who is raising a rare breed of horse on Manitoulin Island. They seized his horses, said they'd return two of his stallions neutered and kill the other one because he's too 'high spirited'.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

Brent

Emily,

I did contact the state attorney general's office about it. Apparently, their contract explicitely states that their numbers are not public records to the city. That is bad governance to give public money to a private organization and NOT require accountability. I still think that the city signing the contract is in violation of the state sunshine laws (city contracts cannot supercede state laws) State sunshine laws are usually very broad-reaching in the idea that more open information is usually beneficial to the taxpaying public.

I'm not sure how, or why, Omaha's City Government set up the contract that way.

EmilyS

WOW that is so bad, Brent! What would be the motivation, other than not wanting to be publicly accountable????

OK, so now I have to wonder if someone (ACLU or somesuch) would take on a case that the contract violates the state's sunshine/public records laws??

EmilyS

Or if not the ACLU, maybe the state Press Association? They're often interested in these issues that involve agencies hiding documents that should be public.

Brent

That's a good though Emily. Interestingly, I have a good friend who works at the Nebraska Press Association. On the advertising side, but worth a start.

Sheri

I hope that something is done to change it. I live in Omaha and see many pit bulls now homeless due to the owners being unable to afford the classes and increased licensing fee. It seems like those of us trying to do right by our dogs are increasingly being punished while those that have unstable and unsociable dogs just keep their dogs hidden and are not held accountable until the dog injures somebody and then it they get a slap on the wrist. Bans in Sioux City, IA are not working and they are looking at rewriting the laws. Council Bluffs has the same ban. If there is anything I could do to help let me know.

Sheri

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