LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Public has a right to know


In response to a previous letter regarding Port meeting minutes.

I challenge anyone who examines the work session "minutes" of the Port of Walla Walla to find complete, accurate and informative disclosure for every meeting that the Port Commission has held over the last 15 years.

While the Port has something it calls "minutes" for its work sessions, these usually consist of little more than the date, time and location where the meetings were held. This may meet a minimal legal standard but it does not rise to the spirit of the law and clearly does not meet the expectations of a reasonable person.

The documents the Port puts forth documenting its work sessions give no clear indication of who was in attendance, what was discussed or what actions were taken. What one does find is the name of the restaurant at which the commissioners, staff and who knows who else enjoyed their meal, paid for at taxpayer expense.

Additionally, there do not appear to be any approved minutes on file for regularly held Port Economic Development Advisory Committee meetings that, I would argue, are required by state law and legal opinion.

This body, created and run by Port officials, routinely discusses and then votes to approve the Port's Economic Development Plan for Walla Walla County, but one would be hard pressed to find a list of who voted for or against, or relevant discussion that took place during these meetings and evidence of anyone taking minutes. What taxpayers should also know is that a free lunch is regularly provided at taxpayer expense for the approximately 50 people who attend these meetings five times a year.

Within the introduction of the Open Public Meetings Act it states: "The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them."

Therefore, I stand by my statement that I believe the Port of Walla Walla does not have minutes for all of its meetings. If the Port would simply tape record all their meetings it would be a step toward transparency that is long overdue.

The public has a right to know what those who serve us are doing with our tax dollars. I am running for the Port commission seat because I believe transparency and accountability matter and honesty and integrity matter.

Barlow Corkrum

Walla Walla


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