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EDITORIAL: The public deserves stronger stand on records from Ontario officials

A curtain of secrecy has been added to the tools of government in Ontario. City officials say the public has no right to ask city councilors for their records about public affairs. That’s a terrible stance for the public, government and city councilors themselves.

In Malheur County and across the state, an essential way for citizens to keep an eye on government is to see government records. From budgets to meeting minutes to expense records, public records are invaluable to inform people and insure against fraud and corruption. The record in Oregon is replete of instances where access to government files, by citizens and by reporters, has unearthed wrong and even illegal conduct.

Oregon law states it pretty directly: “Every person has a right to inspect any public record of any public body in this state.” 

That law has . . .