McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Editorials

August 21, 2011

Justice rules in records debate

(Continued)

McALESTER —

As reporters, we are often forced to remind public employees of the fact that they work for the public. We’ve had several clerks refuse to hand over records we knew we had a right to see, and we prevailed. We recently covered a city council meeting where votes did not meet the measure of the law, and when we spoke up, the votes were nullified. Then there were the accident and disciplinary reports we were denied after a city ambulance collided with a semi-truck on its way to the hospital. (We got the reports.)

We pursue these courses of action not for some perverse pleasure in upsetting the applecart, or to simply “afflict the comfortable.” We do it because it’s the right thing to do. We do it because it’s our duty to speak up when we see wrongs that should be righted. We do it because we recognize that “government” is not some abstract, giant monstrosity in far-away Washington, D.C., or a group of large, elderly gentlemen in the expensive three-piece suits smoking cigars and holding tumblers of Scotch in a dark conference room, meting out punishment and rewards to the peons. 

“We” are government. Government is the men and women who choose to work for us, from the city councilor who takes phone calls from constituents at all hours of the night, to the firefighter and police officer who go to work each day not knowing what risks the day may bring, to the clerk charged by law with keeping and safeguarding important documents. 

And the school employee.

Yes, each dedicates his or her life to public service. And that is certainly to be commended. We thank you and we wish you well. 

We also pay you. 

That dedication to public service (is there any public employee who should not be “dedicated to public service?”) does not merit blanket protection from inspection and scrutiny. In fact, we believe it does the opposite. Because government workers are public servants, it means they are more subject to public scrutiny, not the other way around. They are, after all, obliged to carry out tasks as assigned by our public representatives.

Thank you, Chief Justice Taylor, for standing up for what’s right.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Donald Sterling needs to go away

    Whether it happens due to a quick settlement or a likely longer trial, Clippers owner Donald Sterling just needs to go away.

    June 19, 2014

  • Kevin Durant Kevin Durant’s grace period will end soon

    After his 7th season ended Saturday with the Thunder’s Game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the grace period for Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant may soon be drawing to a close.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Could the NCAA Tournament work for other sports?

    The NCAA men's basketball tournament is the most profitable postseason in the U.S., so why couldn't other leagues copy its format?

    March 23, 2014

  • Tsarnaev death sentence brings no peace

    If Dzhokhar is found guilty and executed for his alleged role in the April 15 bombing of the Boston Marathon, I’ll sleep no better.

    January 31, 2014

  • Final observations from the Pitt 8

    A few observations leftover from an immensely exciting six days of basketball at the Pitt 8 Tournament.

    January 26, 2014

  • So far, Big 12 holding its own

    The Big 12 Conference hasn't dominated the 2013-14 bowl season, but its teams have definitely held their own.

    January 3, 2014

  • Fins’ Incognito deserves banning

    No matter the job, a line still exists between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, between behavior that creates a productive work environment and a hostile one, and Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito crossed that line in his treatment of Jonathan Martin.

    November 11, 2013

  • Sox prove ‘team’ still matters

    In winning the World Series, the Red Sox proved that the right manager and the right locker room atmosphere can turn a bunch of nobodies into champions.

    October 31, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: Be proactive on cyberbullying; Obamacare stumbles

    Parents everywhere must be rejoicing, because a new poll suggests that cyberbullying among students seems to be decreasing. / Every new program is bound to have a few glitches. But what’s happening right now with the nation’s new health insurance program and online signup efforts is disturbing.

    October 29, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: School lunch lessons; D.C. focuses on box scores

    Instead of refusing a now-nutritious National School Lunch Program, schools, parents and students should embrace the healthier standards / A box-score mentality - with too much emphasis on winners, losers, scores and assists - afflicts Washington with little concern for those who buy the tickets.

    October 25, 2013

Seasonal Content
AP Video
EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.