Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kansas: Gary wins for the most outrageous and relevant comment of the month!

By Diane Silver

I don't usually feature comments on the front page of this blog, but this is too wonderful to ignore. In response to my post about how the Kansas Governmental Commission cleared former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline by declaring that all citizen information is public record, Gary Bachman suggested:

If you don't like the Kansas Government Ethics Commission's decision allowing a political campaign to download e-mail addresses from a computer in the State Attorney Generals Office, try the following:

Hold your legislators accountable. Drive to Topeka. Bring along your own personal portable usb memory stick. And perhaps a written copy of the commissions determination. Then drop in on your state legislator. (They are all your public officials regardless of where you live and the district they represent.)

Maybe start with the folks from the ethics committee. Politely but firmly announce that you wish to download all of the e-mail addresses recorded in their (state owned / public property) computer e-mail program. Be sure to be on the look out for multiple computers too!

Ask for access to all the computers not just the representatives or their clerks. (what about blackberrys & palms?) Offer to wait.

And do. Consider bringing a thermos and a sack lunch. And smile a lot. If you have to wait long, maybe chat on the cell phone with your friends. Or talk radio. Or the newspaper. (bring your charger) Is the capital set up for wireless internet? BLOG! Share your story as you wait. And oh what the hell, offer to share your lunch too!

And remember in the name of energy conservation - CAR POOL! Bring your friends and spread out through the building. Hit the legislature first. Then the governors office, The Attorney General office, cross the street to the justice building and the Docking complex, hit the department of motor vehicle, the state income tax office, SRS, the KBI, and Corrections.

Hey, have fun with this, knock on random doors and always be polite. When people deny you, nod agreeably, ask their name, confirm the spelling, jot it down in a little black book, say thank you and walk on. If the police ask you to leave, smile politely,write down their name and badge number and comply. (If they want to take you into the police station, politely ask if you can download the information from thir computers. I think they have computers in their cars now, don't forget them.) Stay on message. There is no such thing as privacy anymore.

Well done, Gary!

Now, if anyone tries this, please let me know.

What amazes me is that the mainstream media appear to have either buried this angle or ignored it. Either I've got this wrong -- and yes, I admit that I'm not infallible -- or the infamous MSM are missing the story.

Oh yeah, Phill Kline getting cleared of breaking Kansas' flimsy ethics law is news. More newsworthy, though, is the issue of privacy, which the commission claims Kansans don't have once they have contacted a state agency.

If I'm wrong, I will happily correct this post. Have I goofed, or are reporters missing something a tad significant?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I posted the following question to the office of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission this morning and had a very quick reply.

Good morning! Is it possible to obtain a copy of the ethic commissions recent opinion regarding the collection of e-mail addresses from state computers in the attorney generals office? If yes, what is the process for doing so? Thank you.

by return e-mail I recieved the following clarification:

"The Commission did not issue an advisory opinion concerning the collection of e-mail addresses from a state computer in the AG’s office. The Commission did hold a civil fine hearing on January 17th to determine whether Phill Kline used or authorized the use of computer equipment owned by the State to copy and forward email addresses to expressly advocate the election of Phill Kline for AG. After deliberations, the Commission determined that there was no violation of the law."

While I may differ with the opinion of the commission, the staff who run the office are consistently very responsive, helpful and informative.