Open government is good government


The recent Sunshine Week across America, and the words below — courtesy of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office publication, Protecting Ohio’s Families: Ohio Sunshine Laws 2016 — can serve as reminders to all of us …

“The rule in Ohio is that public records are the people’s records, and that the officials in whose custody they happen to be are merely trustees for the people; therefore anyone may inspect such records at any time, subject only to the limitation that such inspection does not endanger the safety of the record, or unreasonably interfere with the discharge of the duties of the officer having custody of the same.” — Ohio Supreme Court Justice Charles Zimmerman re: Patterson v. Ayers, 171 Ohio St. 369 (1960)

“Information is the currency of democracy.” — Thomas Jefferson

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them … To cover with the veil of secrecy the common routine of business, is an abomination in the eyes of every intelligent man.” — Patrick Henry

“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” — James Madison

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” — John Adams

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